UMM, the rugged Portuguese machine that never disappoints!!
I wrote an article on UMM a long time ago, but it was my first article and it consisted of one wikipedia search so...
First off I'd like to give a shout out to the people in the "UMM - União Metalo-Mecânica" Facebook group for sending me info about the manufacturer and sending photos of their cars!!
The rise of the Cournil
In the late 50s, in Aurillac, France, Bernard Cournil, a mechanic, spent his life modifying Jeep Willys for use in agriculture. As the French wanted to use it in agriculture Cournil decided to make an indestructible chassis with a powerful but reliable engine. And so goes the story of the birth of the Jeep Willys Cournil... But wait... That's not what you're here for... You wanna know about UMM...
Photo from official UMM Facebook page
The birth of a legend
Due to various factors, like the oil crisis and the rise in competition, Bernard stopped making the Cournil. In 1976 he formed a partnership with Gevarm and UMM-União-Metalo-Mecânica.
In 1977 this partnership failed and UMM got the commercialization rights to the Cournil for the rest of the world, leaving Gevarm only allowed to sell it in France.
And on the 4th of July 1977 UMM was born!
Helder Trigo's birthday cake!! AND I DIDN'T EVEN GET A CAKE ON MY BIRTHDAY!!!!!
The tale of UMM in the Dakar!!
So, UMM was producing the Cournil, a vehicle that could come with machine gun mounts if you wanted it to, and in the 80s a passion grew for 4x4s in Portugal, so the obvious thing to do was to compete in the Dakar rally!! They went on to compete in the Dakar from 1982 to 1984 and created the UMM Trophy in 1987.
In case you don't know, a lot of the cars entered in the Dakar don't finish the race... well... all the UMMs did, which proved their ruggedness!
UMM - The legacy will live on forever!!!
UMM went on to create the Alter and Alter II, and even custom made a Popemobile for when the Pope came to Portugal!!
UMM stopped making vehicles when the state stopped placing orders in favor of the Nissan Patrol, UMM's direct rival!
Their cars are still used in Portugal and some African countries in military and other emergency services. In fact, my local fire department still has one in use!
Their fans are incredibly loyal and love UMM more than anything! You can still join lots of UMM clubs and meets/events!
Whether they're used on a farm as tractors or on the trails as offroad monsters, UMM's legacy will live on forever as one of the best offroad vehicles out there!!
I hope you enjoyed this article, and once again a big thank you to the people in the "UMM-União-Metalo-Mecânica" Facebook group!