Little heard of in the UK but well known in France and other parts of Europe. The SUMB name is derived from the companies who coluded in the design and build of the vehicle; Simca, Unic, Marmon and Boquet, hence; SUMB.
The truck was the transport mainstay of the French military, with great off road capability due to it’s portal axles, power came from a reliable but thirsty V8 engine, it had many applications that it tended to well.
Due to the large amounts of trucks in service, the massive fuel bills of all those engines were to be the trucks downfall eventually as defence cuts loomed and needed to be met.
Many of the units were scrapped as little interest came from the civilian markets due to the expensive running costs.
However, several hundred were sent to Renault in 1999 for major rebuilds and a change of power plant. By transplanting a 4cylinder 3.8litre Renault turbo diesel (already tried and tested in the Renault TRM 2000 series) and a 5 speed two range transmission with diff locks, the Sumbs were given a new lease of life. With enhanced electrics and upgraded brakes, these rugged trucks instantly became a far more serious rival to the Mercedes Unimog.
These second generation diesel SUMBS have now been “de-mobbed” and are floating around out there. You can pick them up from around £5,000 and are every bit as good as the earlier petrol units but better, with the factor of cheap running costs, reliability and the basic ruggedness of the military vehicle, you can adapt one of these for pretty much any task, be it a work horse or a camper conversion.
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