Ben branches out with first Mercedes-Benz Unimog 08 August 2011

Forestry contractor and tree surgeon Ben Nicholson, who has now been running his Unimog for three months, says the new truck started off well and is still growing on him.

Key to the all-wheel drive off-roader's appeal for Surrey-based Ben Nicholson Tree Services is its versatility – from the go-anywhere capability of a tractor to the on-road speed and comfort of a truck.

The Unimog U400 was supplied by North Yorkshire dealer AC Price and came fitted with a wood chipper, which channels chippings via a spout into a high-sided box body, both of which are demountable. Nicholson explains that this means he can also use the truck as a dropsider and to tow trailers.

He also points to the panoramic cab, which can seat three in comfort, the power of the truck's 286hp engine and its automatic transmission. "Previously, whenever I took a tractor to a site I'd have to send a van along as well, to transport a second member of the team and carry my saws and other tools," he explains. "Now, everything goes on my Unimog."

AC Price built the sub-frame, chipbox and three-point linkage at its factory in Ingleton, adding additional hydraulics and a mechanical rear PTO, so that the chipper can be operated from the back of the vehicle. Then when fitted at the front it runs off the standard engine PTO, giving useful flexibility.

AC Price designed, manufactured and fitted the fully hydraulic pick-up hitch, which also has an integrated camera.

"My new Unimog is a fantastic all-rounder. It's a self-contained unit that combines excellent manoeuvrability with unbeatable all-terrain capability," states Nicholson.
"It's already playing a key role within the business and I'm confident it will prove to have been a very wise investment."

Brian Tinham

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