Work-life balance
with Unimog.

One man, one passion: Bernd Schmeiser lives and works for Unimog.

The fascination of Unimog is already laid in the cradle of some. But that several generations of a family dedicate not only their free time, but also their profession entirely to the traditional all-rounder, you rarely see. As with Bernd Schmeiser, who accompanies the mounting of brand-new Unimog during his work in Wörth – and in his free time screws on his lovingly self-made Unimog motorhome.

From the cradle to the garage.

Unimog stands for uncompromising quality – for decades. And Bernd Schmeiser makes sure that stays that way. The likeable guy from Baden was born in the idyllic Black Forest village Staufenberg near Gernsbach. His father worked as a demonstrator at the nearby Unimog plant in Gaggenau, and on his professional travels he carried the Unimog fascination all over Europe and even on to China and Africa. Later, Bernd's father used his own Unimog U 411 for woodworking, mowing and transport. The interest of Bernd and his brothers was aroused!

There was nothing else for me. I wanted to screw on the Unimog or work on the Unimog.

 

Bernd Schmeiser, Process Supporter and Deputy Master Mercedes-Benz Plant Wörth

In 1986, Bernd begins his apprenticeship as a car mechanic – also in Gaggenau. As soon as a job at Unimog becomes vacant, he switches to the legendary workshop, where the all-rounder comes off the production line. He gains experience in the development workshop as well as in production and rework. He witnesses the move to Wörth as well as numerous Unimog models and the rapid technical development of Mercedes-Benz Special Trucks.

Today, Bernd is a deputy master and process supporter in the final assembly: He ensures that every Unimog that runs off the production line is in the right constitution. And if it gets stuck somewhere, he's there to help and work on the vehicle himself.

At home, it itches in the fingers.

Anyone who is once infected by the enthusiasm for Unimog, does not get rid of it so quickly. So does Bernd, just married, when he and his wife make the plan to buy their own Unimog and use it as a mobile home for the family. As a Unimog U 416 is offered in a trade journal, Bernd immediately knows: "That's the one!"

The former ambulance truck from Rhein-Braun AG has the higher Mulag cab. The 1.90-m man attaches importance to this. In addition, the Unimog has the "fast axle" and a longer wheelbase. He drives over, looks at the Unimog – and buys it.

In winter, the renovation then begins in the local garage. The plans are done quickly. First in the head, then on paper. And then they are implemented bit by bit in the next few years. To this day, it is 20 years that Bernd, together with many friends and energetic support of his family, is working on the Unimog. He does a lot of things himself. For special tasks such as the electrical system and the wooden interior construction, he gets help of befriended craftsmen.

And by the way, the next generation of the Schmeiser family gets infected with the "Virus Unimog". Bernd's son also works for Unimog – and owns his very own Unimog U 1400 with agricultural equipment.

Bernd did not count hours when rebuilding his Unimog U 416 as he knows: One is never quite finished.
In heavy snowfall, Bernd's Unimog, a former rescue vehicle, arrives in the Black Forest home.
The construction with tonneau roof initially does not fit into the domestic double garage. Cut-off grinder and welding machine provide a remedy.
Step by step, the old structure is dismantled.
The chassis has been overhauled – but is still original.
Damage caused by moisture and rust during earlier use in the lignite mining area have been professionally repaired.
Tailored interior design and a good headroom were important to Bernd.
Bernd did not count hours when rebuilding his Unimog U 416 as he knows: One is never quite finished.
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A case construction is already installed on Bernd's Unimog, but not as intended. Besides, the ambulance equipment still needs to get out. At the end, only the skeleton of square tubes is left of the original structure. The tonneau roof gets sawn off, the structure extended and a passage to the cab built. In addition, the tank increased to 200 l capacity. Otherwise, Bernd strives to leave as much as possible in the original: The cab, the engine, the chassis.

Because of its earlier use in the lignite mining area, rust on the red Unimog U 416 is a big topic. On the chassis, in the gearbox and on the case – even today Bernd sometimes finds lignite residues when screwing. To ensure safety and approval, he exchanges two seats, installs three-point belts and seals the engine.

You rest, you rust.

Right from the start, Bernd's goal is to move the Unimog and use it for his second hobby: Traveling. There is currently room for three people in the camper, but a fourth seat and a couch can be installed at any time.

The first tour goes towards Franconia, into the Altmühltal – not so far "in the event that something would happen." But the Unimog, in which Bernd knows every screw, holds on. "You have to like traveling with the Unimog," he says. Because it is a sedate journey and sometimes a bit loud when driving. But for Bernd the benefits clearly outweigh: "You sit higher and you have a real trucker feeling. And when the streets are a little more uncomfortable, it's really fun."

And you get into conversation: On the street and the camping places, Bernd's red Unimog always stands out. Many people are enthusiastic about the vehicle and want to know more. Sometimes Bernd also visits Unimog meetings. He has been a member of the legendary Unimog Club Gaggenau for 25 years. In exchange with other Unimog fans, he gets tips for his own conversion and also shares his experience.

Exciting curves: The old Unimog series reap curious looks everywhere.
By the way, Bernd has also built a new garage for his Unimog.
The original operating instruments in the cab provide a special atmosphere. And they still work perfectly.
All manual work: The developed motorhome construction offers sleeping places for up to four persons.
Exciting curves: The old Unimog series reap curious looks everywhere.
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The longest journey so far has taken Bernd to Sweden. He drove up to Uppsala with his Unimog motorhome last year. That's just under 1,800 km each way. The Schmeiser family only needed five days without any breakdowns. The real highlight was the trip across the Öresund Bridge, which connects Denmark and Sweden.

It will not be the last drive in the Scandinavian area, says Bernd. Norway, he wants to explore in any case. He wants to remain loyal to the Unimog for a long time to come – privately and professionally.

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