In the U.S., anyway, you don’t drive a Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen to keep a low profile. If you own one of those U.S.-spec, chrome-clad metallic-painted boxes, it’s likely in the pursuit of looking either like a warlord or a rock star. Usually, though, you just come off as nouveau riche, and not really all that tough, considering the throngs of G-Wagens that clog the carpool lane at your local private school. Granted, the Rambo-meter raises a bit when you rumble around in one of those ultra-lifted 4×4 Squareds, and it hits the halfway point on the gauge if you were one of the precious few to get your hands on a Mercedes-AMG G63 6×6. Still, we think you aspiring moguls could do better. Meet the Mercedes-Benz Funmog.
With the Mercedes-Benz Funmog, the company in 1994 apparently recognized exactly what we just described—so it developed the mighty Funmog concept. Shown first at the International Off-Road Show in Cologne, Germany, the enigmatic Funmog is what happens when you add all the requisite niceties and interior trimmings to the extraordinarily agricultural Mercedes-Benz Unimog to create something that could be used as a posh-yet-ginormous daily runabout.
Up until that point, every Unimog that left the Wörth am Rhein factory was aimed squarely at either the commercial or military sector; refinement, road manners, and interior appointments were at the very bottom of a wish list filled with pedestrian concerns like articulation, portal axles, intake snorkel, and PTO options. As the manufacturer puts it, it created the Mercedes-Benz Funmog for “going to the disco by Unimog.” Yes, really.
According to a rather ambiguous blurb from Mercedes, the idea came from Japan, as it was “discovered by youngsters as a disco-mobile and rose in popularity,” prompting the automaker to respond in turn. Aside from this weird origin story and some truly fabulous press photos, very little is known about the mythical Mercedes-Benz Funmog.
We do know the company built at least two examples; one each on the short U90 and U1400 truck-style chassis that in turn were based on the 408 and 427 generation Unimogs, respectively. To keep weight and complexity relatively low with this borderline monster truck, the usual heavy hydraulic systems were left on the shelf. Power came from a torquey 6.0-liter diesel engine of unspecified cylinder count, putting down 115 hp and 390-lb-ft of torque.
According to some reports, up to 12 Mercedes-Benz Funmog examples were special ordered by customers, each with a price tag of 140,000 DM—just more than $100,000 in 2020 bucks. If you want one, be prepared to hunt for quite a long time; you’d best start getting in touch with marque specialists to get the rundown. Until then, we guess you’ll have to put up with the quilted leather interior of your AMG G63 while thinking wistfully of the Mercedes-Benz Funmog of your dreams.