FOURTEEN years after he began trading, agricultural and equestrian contractor Luke Finney, pictured right, is running his first Mercedes-Benz Unimog – but it’s unlikely to be his last.
“If I’d known Unimogs were this good I would have bought one years ago,” he declared. “Having experienced the vehicle’s amaz-ing range of abilities, I can’t understand why anyone in my line of work would choose anything else. There’s no turning back now.”
Luke is based in Leicestershire, and bought his Unimog from dealer Arthur Ibbett, of St Neots. It is now hard at work undertaking groundworks and building contracts for farms, rural businesses and private individuals, most of them within a 20-mile radius of home.
The U530 model is powered by a 7.7-litre six-cylinder engine which produces 220kW (299hp) and 1,200Nm of torque, and drives through a 16-speed electro-pneumatic transmission. Permanent all-wheel drive, im-pressive ground clearance, and
uprated portal axles that have differential locks and offer extreme levels of articulation, all contribute to the truck’s unrivalled cross-country capabil-ity.
Its impressive specification includes the optional Central Tyre Inflation (CTI) system. This unique technology en-ables the driver quickly and easily, and without leaving the cab, to lower tyre pressures, thereby minimising damage to
particularly soft ground. Vario-Pilot, meanwhile, allows the steering wheel and instrument binnacle to be slid from one side of the cab to the other in minutes: an advantage, for example, when cutting verges.
The vehicle is also equipped with front and rear electrical and hydraulic connectors, a front implement plate, roof-mounted beacons and main beam lights, with others covering the rear working area, and cameras at both ends.
The U530’s ability to tow trailers at a gross train weights of up to 36 tonnes is another key attribute. Luke’s Unimog is often paired with a tri-axle low-loader by Chieftan, which carries plant, including his Takeuchi excavator, or a Broughan dump trailer.
“The Unimog is a fantastically versatile piece of kit,” he enthused. “It can tow any equipment I need to move around, while its own load bed with dropsides is ideal for carrying tools and other gear.
“The Unimog is comfortable, too, with a great field of vision from the driver’s seat, and very easy to operate.
“Crucially, as well as being highly capable on any off-road terrain I need to cross, my truck is equally happy on the tarmac at speeds of up to 56mph, where it’s far more fuel-efficient than an agricultural tractor.”
Luke Finney employs four full-time operatives and provides work for a number of local sub-contractors too. Since he established his business in 2006 Luke has focused on providing a top-quality service for high-end customers – and his choice of tools for the job reflects this.
“All my equipment is the best available, and the Unimog is definitely a case in point,” he added.