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ADF selling off military vehicles to the public

The Australian Defence Force is overhauling its fleet and selling its old stock, including iconic Unimogs, unique Land Rovers and classic Mack rigs.

Anyone can buy the ex-military machines, which still wear camouflage paint, at a series of auctions. Batches of military vehicles will be available for the next few years as the ADF changes over its stock, and the next round of auctions will be held in several states this month.

The vehicles are handled by Australian Frontline Machinery, which offers them for sale through Grays Online. The vehicles can be inspected at various sites including the AFM warehouse at Minto, south of Sydney.

Some of the machines have seen active duty in war theatres around the world, while others have done their duty on Australian soil. One of the most sought-after ex-army vehicles is the Unimog, a truck made by Mercedes-Benz that can go almost anywhere.

These 4x4 trucks are capable of climbing extreme gradients, with super high ground clearance thanks to special gear design that allows for axles to sit higher than the wheel centres. Unimogs were first developed after World War II as a replacement for tractors, so an emphasis was placed on traction in slippery conditions.

They are the most widely used military vehicle on the planet, with Turkey, Paksitan, Mexico, South Africa, Brazil, Great Britain and Indonesia all using Unimogs for defence. The ADF has decided to phase out the Unimogs and will not directly replace them, although MAN has won the contract to supply new heavy trucks to the force.

These Unimogs were produced between 1985 and 1989 and the interior has a retro look, but some of the mechanicals are much the same as today’s model. They run 6.7-litre in-line turbo diesels, which power all four wheels.

Civilian Unimogs are still very, very rare in Australia, so the release of ADF models is an exciting prospect for aspiring owners. The prices of the Unimogs depends on who else is bidding on the trucks, but most have sold for a bit more than $40,000. Some of the first models released to the public were sold for $70,000.

The Unimogs aren’t the only trucks available, with Mack bonneted prime movers also available. Mack is also represented with rigid rucks produced from the early 1980s through to 2005. These 6x6 models are designed to carry 8 tonnes of payload off-road. Some have a flat tray, while others are set-up for water carrying.

The Japanese are also represented with Mitsubishi Fuso and Hino 4x4 models also on the list. The Canter 4x4s, which are popular bases for go-anywhere motorhome projects, are fitted with either an ambulance body or a cargo body. Hino GT models are also for sale, with 4x4 and a flat tray.

The ADF is currently replacing its Land Rover models with Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen models, so there are plenty of the old British off-road machines for sale. Land Rovers for sale include those built between 1987 and 1997. While they are not the most luxurious models out there, the Land Rovers are tough, simple and easy to repair, while parts are cheap and plentiful.

Most are 4x4, but there are some stretched 6x6 models with increased carrying capacity. They all run super-reliable Isuzu 3.9-litre diesel engines. The Land Rovers, available with soft and hard tops, usually end up costing somewhere between $12,000 and $15,000 representing a bargain for those prepared to live with the unique paint job.

Inspections are being held at each location the vehicles are being held, including June 21-24 in Perth, June 21 and 22 in Brisbane, June 22-25 in Minto and June 24 in Townsville. For more information, look for Australian Frontline Machinery in your search engine.