1988. The start of a dream.
By the end of 1988 we made up our mind to leave Belgium to tour the world in a motorhome. The departure was scheduled for end of 1993.
In 1989 we dedicated ourselves to finding the right chassis. We visited Renault, Iveco, Scania, MAN, Man Meccanica, Bedford and Mercedes Unimog. Eventually we opted for the Unimog 2450 L38 chassis with a 240 hp Intercooler engine.
The next step was to find a company specialized in building superstructures. Between 90 and 91 my wife and myself visited several workshops: in Germany, Italy, France, Austria and in Belgium. We opted for UNICAT. UNICAT was not the cheapest company of the market but according to us it was certainly the most professional team we ever met.
It took UNICAT a year to build our cell. We followed the evolution step by step. During the realization we asked for some changes. UNICAT accepted and also made several creative suggestions in order to improve the truck.
By the end of 1992, our truck was ready. The result was even better than expected. It was a perfect work and we were happy for having opted for UNICAT.
We received a maintenance training and were invited on a test weekend in France. There we learned how to drive the truck in 4x4 conditions, how to lift the cabin, to change a wheel and to mount snow-chains. In other words we discovered the possibilities and the limits of our truck.
In 1993 we made several trips in Europe, 16,000 km in total. We drove in the mountains, on tracks, in small rivers, in mud and on the beach. The comfort and the technological performances of our truck were fully satisfying.
Day by day we appreciate:
› the professionalism of the UNICAT team (their experience, their advices, and creative concepts)
› their meticulous work
› their concern for clients satisfaction
› the friendly atmosphere in our relationship
› their permanent backup and support.
Today we are leaving Europe. We are confident in the success of our trip. We leave with strong and reliable equipment. Moreover, we know that the UNICAT team would always be ready to help us in case of problem. We already met several of their clients who are as happy as we are.
As a conclusion we only want to say that we are happy to leave with a UNICAT realization.
Richard and Catherine Desomme
2004. Sixtien years and 250,000 km later.
The dream goes on.
We crossed Morocco, Occidental Sahara, Mauritania, Senegal, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Namibia, South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Malawi, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethyopia, Erythrea, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Israel, Syria, Turkey, Greece, Italy, Germany, USA, Canada, Baja California, Mexico.
2004. This year is kind of special for us as we celebrate our 10 years of travel aboard our UNICAT/Unimog.
What can we say about these ten years of experience?
› If we would have to build a new "body unit" it would be 95 % the same.
This means that the decisions taken years ago were appropriates.
› The Unimog chassis proves to be reliable and still looks new.
› The UNICAT living space is still like new. Some people sincerely don't believe it's 12 years old.
› We still receive a top after sale service.
As proof: a team came from Germany to the US in order to upgrade our energy system with the latest Solar/batteries/converter technology. This upgrade definitely changed our lives as every evening the truck is lighted like a Christmas tree, and by noon the next day the batteries are fully loaded again.
We receive the spare parts we need in no time, even the ones for the Unimog.
We even receive advices when we have a tech problem with the Unimog.
On our long way around the planet, (more than 35 countries ) sometime we meet some other big 4x4. Some complain about the poor quality of their equipement, some complain about the difficulty to get spare parts. We understand that they bought cheap. The result is a boomerang effect: they live into a permanent stress … Pity, because life is short!
On this side we paid the price for the best, and—day after day—we enjoy our lives in a way we like.
"it pays in the end to buy the best in the beginning"
Richard and Catherine Desomme