In 2001, the long-standing San Francisco art and music collective, Space Cowboys, transformed their unique vision of a futuristic All-Terrain Audio/Visual Assault Vehicle into a reality. They purchased an imported Unimog, and quickly began the lengthy process of modification. Fabrication took place in the open on 17th Street in San Francisco’s Mission District, and as work progressed, word of the ambitious project spread quickly throughout San Francisco’s underground dance, music and art communities. Working right up to the wire, the Space Cowboys completed their project just in time for the intended grand unveiling at the 2001 Burning Man Festival. Pumping 10,000 watts of sound, a complex array of video and light projectors and a fully enclosed DJ dome, the Space Cowboy rolled through Black Rock City on it’s maiden voyage, immediately attracting crowds numbering in the thousands.
Built for the West German army in 1973 by Daimler-Benz, UNIMOG 404S under a NATO contract, it was originally developed for rough country operation as a radio truck or troop transport, and is the model most familiar to U.S. enthusiasts today. Large diameter wheels and portal axles are used to keep a high ground clearance, but despite this, the drive-train is mounted low to ensure a lower center of gravity allowing the Unimog to handle 42-degree side slopes—it does not roll easily.
The Unimog is 4-wheel drive, with a fully locking differentials and a six-speed transmission. Since its maiden voyage at the Burning Man festival, the Space Cowboys’ UNIMOG continues to draw crowds, inspiring dancers and stupefying the gawkers. It’s made numerous appearances at festivals, parades, ski slopes, benefits, concerts and private events and has proven to be an eye-catching and heart thumping spectacle, attracting the attention of sound geeks, video gurus, motor heads, dogs, cats, small children and just about any one else in its proximity. The vehicle has become world renown, with repeated major press coverage domestically and abroad.
In 2006, building on 5 years of research and development, and occurring in its own dedicated warehouse facility, the UNIMOG received a complete overhaul with a new custom-built JBL sound system and completely new visuals system which can be independently powered by dual on-board generators. The new systems are hard-wired, weather-proof and permanently mounted to the truck frame; either folding out or lifted into place by our custom pneumatic lift.
The new systems are matched by a new sound insulated interior, new exterior paint, windows and orange bomber-style dome. The truck and its on-board AV systems can perform in a multitude of environments: on flat ground or steep hill, stationary or moving, whether in a blizzard, desert storm, or convention center, the Space Cowboys’ Unimog is a sight and sound to behold.
The UNIMOG ATAVAV 2.5
In mid-2011 the Space Cowboys completed a year-long upgrade of the UNIMOG’s on-board electrical and lighting systems. In addition to it’s scalable sound system, the newly scalable electrical system can now utilize multiple sources of power, blending supplemental house power or additional generators to create a centralized source for all systems.
New on-board LED lighting and effects were added for increased effect. Meanwhile the 4 JBL 18″ sub-woofers were replaced with 8 custom-built 21″ Neo-Drive sub-woofers, more than tripling the system’s bass.