Quigley’s 4x4 Van
If you are already living in a van down by the river, then listen up-this is your time! Owning a van may be a hard pill to swallow, but before you completely rule it out, allow us to give you the rundown on the Quigley Motor Company. For over three decades Quigley has converted Ford and Chevy fullsize vans into 4x4s capable of some very impressive feats. We’ve seen these breadbox-wheelers scale nearly vertical hot tubs in Moab and power through trails that would scare off your average wheeler.
Though there are many renditions of the Quigley vans, the Ford E-series fitted with the 7.3L diesel are high on our Armageddon pick list. The 7.3L diesels weren’t without faults, but the massive V-8 has proven itself to be one of the most reliable diesels ever paired with the Blue Oval namesake. The vans can haul up to 10,000 pounds, are fitted with huge fuel tanks, and have even been used by the U.S. government Special Forces for years. With plenty of cargo room for supplies, gear, and sleeping quarters, the work-van conversions have the perfect foundation of a doomsday wheeler.
An optional pop-up-style roof will give you roomier digs, but could prove to be an easier point of entry for more spirited zombies. The aftermarket support is bigger than you may think and many of the F-series truck parts cross over to the van line. Dana 60 and Dana 70 axles are common under the vans and fitting larger tires and lockers is a pretty easy upgrade. For you die-hard Bowtie fans, Quigley does offer 4x4 Chevy vans outfitted with the 6.6L Duramax diesel.
Pros: Nimble and powerful platform, great enclosed cabin, can easily be converted to run on alternative fuels, good aftermarket support, lots of crossover truck parts
Cons: Higher initial cost, can get top-heavy the higher you lift it (true for all makes), sheetmetal may need reinforcing to withstand zombie pounding, your neighbors may hide their children when they see you, shorter front will make for a more up-close zombie-smashing experience
Following World War II Germany looked to create a vehicle to better serve the needs of its farmers. The idea was to build a vehicle that could work in the fields during the week and haul goods to market on the weekend. What resulted from this multipurpose tractor idea was the Mercedes-Benz Unimog. Unimog is short for Universalmotorgerat, which means universally applicable motorized implement.
In the U.S. the Unimog was never available new from Mercedes-Benz. This leaves only used imported models as options to purchase. While the challenge of finding a well kept Unimog may seem like more trouble than it’s worth, we say it’s worth a look. The most common type of imported and pre-owned Unimog is the 404 model. While the 404s have strong points, the scarcity of diesel versions makes them less desirable than the later 406 and 416 models.
Our money would be spent on a diesel-powered 416. The 416 has a longer wheelbase, larger tires, and a plenty of gearing options. The naturally-aspirated diesel engines are not powerhouses, but are very simple and reliable. Since the Unimog is more tractor than passenger car, many are fitted with extremely low gearing which limits the top speed. You may reach 70 mph, but it’s not likely. Factory selectable lockers placed inside of the ultra-high-clearance portal axles offer the ’mog more ground clearance than any other rig on our list.
The frames are just as stout as the drivetrain components and like the M35A2 there are dozens of different service models that can easily be converted into campers. Servicing the Unimog may seem like a nightmare, but overall the trucks are very simple to work on. After all, they are farm trucks designed to be serviced in a field. Admittedly, the most challenging part could be finding spare parts.
Pros: Great visibility, lots of gear-range options, heavy-duty platform great for building your own camping digs or securing a drop-in camper, portal axles are extremely robust and offer tremendous ground clearance, factory lockers, due to high ground clearance you can more easily run-over a higher number of zombies
Cons: Top-heavy, higher initial price, harder to find, potentially more expensive and difficult to service, U.S. parts availability may be limited, slow, air-assisted brakes and lockers could be problematic