Weird Ride: 1986 UMM Alter II
It's not often that something comes up we've never heard of, but it happened today, in the little town of Plaistow, New Hampshire. One of the zillion car lots up on Route 125 is featuring a 1986 UMM Alter II, a sort of really poor man's G-Wagen. Information on this off-roader is scarce, but we'll sketch it out as best we can:
Auto production in Portugal isn't exactly record-setting. Founded in 1975, União Metalo-Mecânica built four-wheel drive vehicles exclusively. The UMM 4x4 launched in 1977 came from a prototype from the French engineering firm Cournil, called optimistically the Cournil Entrepreneur. União Metalo-Mecânica acquired the rights to build it and refined the design over the years.
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In 1986, UMM launched the Alter II, featuring a new Peugeot 4-speed manual gearbox, a new UMM transfer case and a new suspension in a 100 inch wheelbase, leaf-sprung package. The 75hp engine was carried over from the original Alter model.
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UMM hit its stride in the 1989 Paris-Dakar rally, finishing the grueling race with all of the cars it started out with. UMMs became ubiquitous military vehicles in Spain, Portugal, Cape Verde and the Republic of Congo. UMM sold the Alter II version privately until 1994, and then continued selling to military and utility services until 1996.
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In 1993, when Pope John Paul II visited Portugal, UMM crafted a Popemobile based on a 1992 five-door UMM Alter II, featuring a 40mm armored glass box on the rear with a chair for the Pope. It had air conditioning and outside loudspeakers connected to a microphone in the rear.
Here's a video of one in action:
With just 19,000km showing on the odometer, this example is for sale for $6,995. See the listing here.