1 March 1996

Pink &pretty but quite a workhorse

By Andrew Faulkner

PART tractor, part pickup, the German-built Multicar is back in the UK following a four-year absence.

This versatile little truck first appeared in the UK in 1982, when it sold into the road sweeping, refuse collection and construction sectors. It also sold, albeit in low numbers, into agriculture.

Main attraction for all markets was a £10,000 price tag, which included a range of bodies and attachments. However, when Germany reunified in the early 1990s, prices rocketed and that was the end of the Multicar. Or so we thought.

The former east German firm has now introduced an updated range complete with bigger engines, larger payloads and better cabs. And the firm is actively looking for dealers in the UK.

"Main interest is still likely to be in the construction and municipal sectors. But there is definitely a place for this machine on farms," insists John Dunn, Multicars UK sales development manager.

"Its capable of most jobs currently performed by a Land Rover, can carry more on its rear load platform, and can also be fitted with a range of hydraulically-powered attachments – front and rear."

Badged Champ, the new Multicar line-up comprises a range of VW and Iveco-powered models with different payloads and cabs. Of most interest to farmers will probably be the 2.5-litre, 84hp Iveco turbodiesel-powered trucks. These drive through a five-speed ZF gearbox on two-wheel drive models and a 10F/2R box on four-wheel drives. Rear diff lock is standard throughout the range.

To power front and rear attachments, the truck can be supplied with both a 70 litre/min (15gal/min) hydraulic pump and mechanical pto. Rear platform payload is about 2.5t, and it will pull a 2t unbraked trailer.

When equipped with road tyres, the truck is capable of speeds up to almost 50mph. Fit cleated farm-spec tyres, however, and top speed is restricted to 30mph.

"The concept is based on multi-use – its designed to be an attachment carrier, not just a load transporter," Mr Dunn says.

"We supply the base chassis unit and are looking to dealers and implement manufacturers to modify it for their particular markets."

Multicar base unit prices start at £20,000 and rise to £27,000.

"Pretty in pink" clothing belies this Multicar crew cabs genuine workhorse potential – four-wheel drive, optional attachment points front and rear, 2.5t payload and a top speed capability of 50mph. Two-seater cabin is also available. Right: Car-like interior is far cry from original Multicar tin box. Prices rise from

£20,000 to £27,000.