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What the ********* has Frank bought now??

Posted 05/02/2016 at 10:00:00 by Frank

Was it dark when you bought those Frank? - and many more highly amusing comments greeted the arrival of my latest collection of treasured and cherished memorabilia.
We could no doubt fill a website with the stories that this load could tell but that is for another day.
The truck driver was thrilled to have the challenge as he finds his normal work doesn't fully stretch him.
Our mechanics simply can't wait to get at them with their spanners -or are they taking the wheels off my car to keep me at home?

Progress in Bentham -15 years on in the 'New Building'!

Posted 22/01/2016 at 15:00:00 by Frank

Just going through some old printed pictures from the turn of the century I spotted these two on the left. So I nipped out and took two from the same place. A bit dull today but I'm not known for my photography!

Bottom left is the first clearing of topsoil and a layer of hardcore prior to foundations etc.
Top left the skeleton of the buiding in place.

Today's picture captures us loading a container for America (more details to follow from Emma on that)


Posted 08/01/2016 at 10:00:00 by Frank

Our most ambitious cab refurbishment to date is this double cab bound for the USA. From 5 metres it looked reasonable but had been bodged over the years and after sandblasting needed a great deal of TLC (and welding wire!)
Luckily our ever resourceful staff came up with a rotating support system - nick named in a Wallace & Gromit theme The Cab-o-Matic. This enables us to work without standing on our heads ensuring a better quality of welding and much less physiotherapy.
Watch this space for some more exciting double cab news


Posted 08/01/2016 at 09:00:00 by Frank

We would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very happy and prosperous New Year for 2016 and many more of them!
Long gone are the days when we could deliver a Seasons greeting to all our customers individually but we still appreciate you all and look forward to hearing from you.
2015 has been a very exciting year for us here with a lot of very positive personal development in our team and some new additions both in the office and the workshop.
Equally we have made a lot of investment in the premises and workshop to improve the quality of our work and our working environment.
This year we look forward to a big upgrade program including a new website and some exciting new products.
The snow picture is a bit fanciful as it would be more realistic here to show one in deep wading mode - but hell - this is North West England!

Operation Spring Clean

Posted 12/02/2015 at 15:20:00 by Frank

Here we are in December with an early spring clean going on.
We have just loaded 3 containers of Unimogs and parts for one of our oldest and best customers.
That has given us a bit of elbow room - so we have the remaining mogs on Death Row stacked in the stillages and we are giving the whole yard a bit of a once over - lovely to see that concrete again after all these years!
Handy to have an ex German Council road sweeper ( reference U1233 on the stocklist) which could sweep on its own in super crawler while we got on with sweeping!

Let there be light!

Posted 23/10/2015 at 11:20:00 by Frank

We are all pleased with the new translucent panels in the roof and completely upgraded lighting.
As part of our ongoing investment program we decided to bring ourselves up to date with the latest LED strip lights which give much more light for the power used. They are also light sensitive so turn themselves down and off when the ambient light is sufficient.
The new panels in the roof create a really good light on a bright day. The workshop is a much more pleasant place to work in which is in line with our objective to be focussed on top quality workmanship.

Happy travels

Posted 05/10/2015 at 11:40:00 by Emma

Happy travels ahead for this new customer of ours!
He has just bought a U1300L which we have carried out some repairs on and put it through an MOT. Morocco and Iceland are the cards I believe! Can't wait to see the pics!

Another 2 mogs done!

Posted 05/10/2015 at 11:35:00 by Emma

Another 2 mogs ready for the off!
Here we have a U1100 which a customer brought to us for us to carry out a service and repairs. We also sourced a new canvas cover for the mog and some seats for the back.
The U1300L camper came here to have a fuel tank conversion and some work on the rear calipers to get them up to MOT standard.
They are both loaded up and will be delivered by our trusty haulier to Basingstoke and Oxford

Memory Lane

Posted 01/10/2015 at 10:20:00 by Frank

Sometimes when you are frustrated at a lack of progress in some part of your business it is worth digging out some old pictures.
Back in 1990 we began negotiating to buy the old former silk mill and yard in Bentham.

In the above top left rather ‘evocative’ picture, the sheep would be almost exactly in my office today!
There was not much roof on the mill and the yard was full of decades worth of junk.
Bottom right is the old corner shop and the other two show the millworkers’ cottages.
Underneath the yard is still the old millrace – with a torch you can walk down it to the river.
Top right we have levelled the yard and started our display of stock Unimogs.
Bottom right two old Peugeots and a Mercedes 1617 chassis cab destined for Africa.

Ten years later we bought the field opposite (not including the sheep) and put up our lovely new building - what a treat!

If I had my time again surely I’d have done it all differently – but hey – we had some fun!

Senior Management 97 not out

Posted 04/09/2015 at 11:30:00 by Frank

My Mum had her 97th Birthday at the beginning of the month. You can see she still enjoys a joke even though she is blind and fairly deaf!
Middle in the picture is my oldest daughter Bonnie, one of Mum's five grandchildren.
I see Mum every day after work in her Care Home and we still have a lot in common including as you can see the hairstyle!
For those statisticians amongst you I have calculated that Mum baked over 30,000 scones for charity in her retirement. Approx diameter per scone 60mm so if you lined them all up they would stretch from our yard to her oldest grand daughter's house.

Remote African Safari

Posted 03/09/2015 at 14:00:00 by Frank

Here is our lovely U1100 on its way to Zambia.
We have supported Remote Africa Safaris' old Unimogs for many years with spares and advice. Now John has bitten the bullet and added this beauty to his fleet. We wish him every success with it and look forward to seeing some pictures of it surrounded by wild animals!
It is going out of Immingham to Walvis bay and then overland to Mfuwe.
Bon Voyage!

Farewell Unimog friends!

Posted 31/07/2015 at 17:00:00 by Mandi

I'm sorry to say that this will be very last message to you and my last day with AV and all things Unimog. I would love to stay but I'm afraid to say the good news of my husband's promotion has brought with it a relocation. I have no idea where it will take me but I will certainly miss talking to you all whether it was on the phone, email or in person. It has been a real pleasure being a part of a friendly and professional business that has the expertise and passion to help their customers and fans near and far. The almighty Unimog has left a mark in my heart and will forever remain there. Who knows I might just be spotting them now and sending in my snaps! Ciao everybody and remember - its a #UnimogLife!

Mandi Lewis

NOSTALGIA - Frank's Blog

Posted 31/07/2015 at 16:30:00 by Mandi

By Bus from Birmingham to Beyond Delhi…

We are back in 1968 this time on an overland trip to India in a Bedford bus.
For the massive investment of £100 each a group of us bought a coach and went to India and back during the summer vacation after year one Engineering at Birmingham University.

Hard to believe now but our food budget was one shilling per person per day (£0.05 in today’s money!). The abiding memory is the overwhelming hospitality we received in every country, especially Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. However poor they were, people immediately invited us to eat and stay with them in the true spirit of Asian tradition.

Relatively soon after the independence of the British colonies there seemed to be a delightful air of optimism in the world (and probably a lot fewer AK47s). It is hard to believe those beautiful deserts and mountains we camped in are now littered with broken guns. I guess I was lucky to travel then!

Go to work with a 'grand' parent

Posted 31/07/2015 at 16:08:00 by Mandi

Frank's granddaughter, Evie joined us for a day in the world of Unimogs both in the office and workshop. She studies at Queen Elizabeth School in Kirkby Lonsdale where she enjoys studying history and drama. Here Evie learnt about administrative processes, updating the customer database and an insight into social media marketing. Evie tells us her most enjoyable part of the day was taking a tour around the AV empire and getting to ride in a Unimog!

On the Verge of Mowing

Posted 31/07/2015 at 16:00:00 by Mandi

In 2012 we sold a U1200AG to Bob Cragg, owner of Altak Ltd who provide highway maintenance work such as grass-cutting, weed-spraying and hedge-cutting for their local authority in Cheshire.

There was a need for greater flexibility and ever higher health and safety requirements so Altak Ltd decided to bring the job "in-house". They'd seen other contractors using a conventional tractor and side-arm mower, but having given the job some thought decided a Unimog would be preferable for road safety, driver comfort and road speed. He said, "I did not relish the thought of hours sat on a tractor with no suspension doing 25mph with a trail of traffic behind me".

Bob came to us for some advice for a suitable Unimog after having bought a cheap din plate mounted verge mower elsewhere. Due to cuts and a tight budget, they bought a used 30 year old U1200 which went through the AV workshop for a full service and repairs. The Unimog is now in it's third season and Bob says there are three of them who share the driving responsibility and despite it's age, all really enjoy driving it.

The original verge mower had it's limitations, and after hunting around for a suitable side-arm mower, early last autumn they spotted a used Feidler on our website which we then fitted to the U1200AG in our workshop. Bob told us how pleased he is now with the end result, "as far as I am concerned it is the ultimate verge mowing machine!". They have also kitted it with a small flail topper on the rear and describe it now to be 'neat, versatile, easy and enjoyable to use'. Bob tells the side-shift ability of the mower will cut the narrowest of roads, and despite their size the Unimogs are narrower than a lot of tractors so can cut the narrow hill roads on the edge of the peak district at the far end of their area.

Now sold on Unimogs they bought another last autumn elsewhere and had our engineers assess it's mechanical health and put it through the .workshop for a Turbo and upgraded fuel pump and injectors to 200hp. They are so pleased with Unimogs and have now ordered another Feidler mower to kit out the U1400 and in their words, "they are better than a tractor and give a more professional image to the customer and general public".

Unimog to Support 1,000mph World Land Speed Record!

Posted 07/07/2015 at 16:26:00 by Mandi

On the tail end of last year we sold a U1550L to Skip Margett of Farm Film Productions in Cape Town, South Africa. After having been through our workshop for some repairs and modifications, it finally arrived safely to it's destination and is currently being converted into an overland camper. Skip wanted the camper specifically for the 1,000mph world land speed record (The Bloodhound Project) where he'll be on the track for 3 months of this year and again next year and didn't really fancy all that time in a tent! Skip also intends to do some exploring in his shiny new Unimog Camper to Botswana and Namibia (very near neighbours to the track) so it's not all work and no play!
Before it left for it's great adventure the Unimog underwent a full service, rear body extension to allow for a composite body, fitment of a new AV electric tow hitch and aluminium battery box, new wheels & tyres, new clutch and a full repaint in silver including the rims. Skip told us how he really enjoyed the process of buying through us guys, "it was like purchasing a really expensive car from Mercedes or Audi - you guys run a slick operation".
We wish Skip all the very best with attempting the world land speed record and look forward to some pictures of the Unimog Camper next to a super-fast car!

Excellent MB Trac Record

Posted 03/07/2015 at 15:04:00 by Mandi

Last month we spoke to James Farquharson of Farquharson Farms in Aberdeenshire who own a fleet of MB Tracs. James’s father bought his first MB Trac in 1982 (before James was even born!). It was a 900 turbo followed shortly after with a 1983 1000. James’ love for the MB Trac started at a young age, growing up around them and the first tractors he drove.
James told us they currently have a fleet of four MB Tracs on the farm; a 1985 MB1500 (the only original to the farm); a 1986 MB1000; a 1989 MB1600 Turbo; and a 1990 MB1100. They also have new U400 "S-trac" forward control sprayer (based on a Unimog chassis).
We asked James the role the MB Tracs play on the farm and he explained the MB1000 with 2000 litre demount sprayer is used to supplement the farm spraying in tricky seasons and for spraying grassland. The MB1100 sits on flotation wheels all year round and pulls a set of 12m cambridge rolls as well as raking silage. The MB1500 is used mainly for haulage; it pulls a 10,000 litre bowser of liquid fertilizer to the fields when sowing. And the MB1600 they have only acquired recently so are yet to decide on its job description.
We asked if the MB Trac were up to the job at hand and proving beneficial. James claims the small tracs are very good for demount sprayers as they are light, very well balanced and don't burn a lot of fuel, and the larger trac models are well suited to haulage because of the extra power, suspended front axle and the higher road speed.
James believes the key features and benefits of a MB Trac are excellent fuel economy, reliability and ease of replacing parts, even an original 30yr old rusty bolt will come out and re-use without stripping the threads!
His advice to any potential buyers is as long as there is oil in the engine (and it is black) and a good gearbox (as they can be expensive to repair) then you can't go far wrong. He says it’s not down to the hours it’s done, but if it’s been loved or tortured and the way it feels when you drive. The parts are easily replaceable so no point in holding out for one with a good mudguard, tin work or no rusty bulge in the front of the bonnet panels as they all rot in these places."I believe there is and never will be a tractor made to better the MB Trac's inspiration in design, technology of its day, user comfort, universal use and shear rugged reliability. It really was years ahead of its time, and it was such a shame that Mercedes ceased production of them".


Posted 07/02/2015 at 10:56:00 by Mandi

Fairly new customer Ki Stoddard of Montana, USA was in touch again recently just for some seals, bushings and hand throttle stops for his U900. He was so impressed with the extra mile our Chez went to that he went the extra mile to say thanks!

Mitas Tyres - Fit for Your job!

Posted 04/06/2015 at 10:55:01 by Mandi

This new Case 185 tractor came to us for a whole new set of Mighty Mitas tyres to do the job that the factory fitted Michelin tyres could not. Despite being almost twice the price of the Mitas tyres the Michelin Multibibs did not have sufficient load rating for the heavy mower which was fitted so we replaced them with some Mitas RD03 tyres all round which were fit for the job!

Changing the large tyres was a doddle with our tyre changing machine and experienced fitters.
Need new tyres? Fear not Atkinson Vos not only are dealers in brand NEW Mitas and Continental tyres (which are as good on the pocket as they are on the road), we have a large selection of part worn tyres. Check out our latest stock in Wheels/Tyres under the SPARES tab.

NOSTALGIA - Frank's Blog

Posted 01/06/2015 at 09:09:00 by Frank

The 'Sopwith' - the first of my four wheel campers...
We've jumped forward to early 1973 and scaled up to a four wheeled camping machine. We planned our trip all evening and set off for Morocco the next day with the very latest in well-worn tents and hygienic sleeping bags.
The fuel tank was full, as was the fairy liquid bottle with which we squirted the windscreen (never at more than 100mph). Morocco was lovely with such kind and hospitable people.For an off-road adventure we charged off up the Gorges des Dades into the Atlas mountains. Had we known about the minor blizzards and night time curfew we might have stayed at home.
But the intrepid Renault ploughed its way up some impossible steep hairpins and we eventually got out alive (and considerably wiser). One of the things we learnt (take note Unimog camping people) was that lightweight is good - especially when stuck up to your knees in whatever!

Our Longest Serving Trucker Celebrates 50 Golden Years of Marital Bliss

Posted 28/05/2015 at 13:10:00 by Mandi

Doug Taylor of Bentham is our longest standing haulier. He actually collected our very first Unimog from Hull - back in the eighties!

He is still bringing them to us from pastures new and old! We are truly lucky to have Doug as a supplier and he’s just on our doorstep.
Always a gentleman, with enormous patience and resourcefulness Doug has never let us down. As a David Brown tractor enthusiast he is good with the spanners and has even changed a starter motor on an old Unimog stuck deep in a forest to get it onto his lorry for us.
Someone else who truly appreciates Doug Taylor is Kath, his wife and the brains behind the success. They have been together now for 50 years.

We congratulate them on this auspicious occasion and wish them many more years of joy, love and happiness! Here, Here to a top man and his lady!

15 Unimogs to Africa!

Posted 30/03/2015 at 16:30:00 by Mandi

One of our biggest projects to date! It came from an exploration company whom we have dealt with for more than 20 years. They are one the largest international seismic contractors in the world who provide a range of on and offshore geophysical and geological services to their wide client base.

This particular project consisted of a total 15 Unimogs; 10 U1350Ls, 3 U1300Ls and 2 U1750L38s
Four of the U1350Ls were supplied with standard drop side bodies for general duties. We fitted 4 as personnel carriers with 16 individual seats & belts. One was fitted with a 2500 litre diesel tank and another with a water tank of the same capacity. Two U1300Ls were supplied as standard drop side trucks with DV15 electric winch and the final U1300L as a basic personnel carrier with 4 rows of bench seats. The two U1750L38s were required with 5000 litre fuel tanks.
The base vehicles were sourced from Germany, Belgium and Australia! The project started with the demilitarisation of the Unimogs (removal of military breathers, air dryers and turrets. We then equipped them all with heavy duty radiators, audible warnings for engine overheating, and a set of chocks and brackets. Finally we fitted new rims and tyres, a cab roll frame and soundproofing kit before sending them on to the bodyshop for a complete repaint in the required corporate colours of blue and white.

We set ourselves a deadline of 3 months to do the bulk of the work which kept us busy in the last quarter running up to Christmas. During January we made any final touches and a completed a Pre Delivery Inspection on each vehicle. Now the project is complete we are pleased to say 'Mission Accomplished!' - We have just waved goodbye to the final 6 and now all the Unimogs have been shipped to both Kenya and Ethiopia.

Will you be my Valetine? Forever, I will…

Posted 17/03/2015 at 12:00:00 by Mandi

AV celebrated their first wedding with Mandi finally saying, 'I Do'. She tied the knot with her partner of 2 years, Jared from sunny Australia (where they met!) in Lancaster on Valentine's Day.
The Ceremony was held at Ashton Memorial in Williamson Park, also known as the 'Taj Mahal' of the North, followed by a reception at The Borough in Dalton Square.
The bride arrived in a beautiful white carriage with handsome black horses wearing white plumes.
The bride wore a fusion dress with a combination of the traditional Eastern and Western colours of red and white with exquisite handcrafted embroidery and bead-work. The groom was in a tailored three piece suit in navy blue with a rose and paisley tie to match his bride.
After the ceremony drinks and canapes were enjoyed. Later followed by a reception with 3 course meal, cocktails, merriment and dancing! The AV Team certainly shook the dance floor busting their grooves to a variety of music!
It was a fusion affair where East met West and with family and friends from the world over it brought plenty of colour and culture. The whole day was magical and nothing short of a fairy-tale. Mandi described the day as, "one of the best days of our lives!". And so they lived happily ever after…

NOSTALGIA - Frank's Blog

Posted 17/03/2015 at 10:00:00 by Frank

1979-80 Ski and Sun Holiday…
On one of our trips to Central Africa we stayed the night with friends in South Germany.
Next morning at minus 26 we gave up trying to get the trucks going with frozen brakes, waxy diesel and general coldness.
My friends then invited us to go skiing near by. Prepared as ever with the latest in ski fashion - old duffel coats & woolly hats - we set off.
I soon realised that on anything without a steering wheel I wasn't much cop (as you can see!) - so fairly quickly retreated indoors. Luckily I didn't have to rely on my skiing abilities to earn a crust?!
We finally got the trucks going and joined the queue for Border Control up the Brenner Pass in the bad old days before the EEC.
By contrast later on in the trip we experienced some very hot days in the Sahara.
The photos show our favourite camp site (middle of nowhere!) and us resurrecting a ‘Piste Marker’.
These were put up in colonial times to guide travellers and not too many remain so we were doing our bit. There are pictures of our early research into overlanders’ showers – but not really suitable for publication!

New Kid in the CAD!

Posted 17/03/2015 at 09:30:00 by Mandi

Autumn of last year we had a very bright and eager Sam fresh out of college approach us for any sort of work while he decided what career path he would like to venture.
The new kid on the block Sam has settled into working on CAD designs with us for all products existing and new. Sam has an A level in Product Design and tells us he really enjoys creating drawings in the CAD software.
Sam has made great progress here at Atkinson Vos and shown profound skills in design. With our support and gaining first hand experience, Sam has now decided to take up a career in design and has secured a placement on the BA (Hons) Product Design course at De Montford University. Good Luck Sam!

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