Mercedes-Benz truck climbs volcano to break high altitude driving record

Mercedes-Benz has reached new heights.

(Daimler)

A truck built by the automaker has apparently set a new altitude record for wheeled vehicles, after climbing up a Chilean volcano to 21,962 feet above sea level.

(Daimler)

The Unimog was one of two being used by a scientific expedition to install an emergency transmitter on the rocky slopes of Ojos del Salado, which is the tallest active volcano in the world. After finishing the planned work at 20,013 feet, the team took the opportunity to go for the record.

The summit of Ojos del Salado rises to 22615 feet.

The summit of Ojos del Salado rises to 22615 feet. (iStock)

The monster trucks were modified especially for the task with winches, a giant front bash bar with tire attachment and technology to help maintain their centers of gravity during extreme maneuvers. The Unimog 5023 model used is a 4x4 commercial truck with a gross vehicle weight of over 14 tons that’s powered by a 5.1-liter four-cylinder turbodiesel rated at 231 hp and 663 lb-ft of torque.

(Daimler)

The company told Fox News Autos that only minor modifications to the engine mapping and fuel injection systems were required o cope with the lack of oxygen at such high altitudes.

(Twisted Andes)

The Unimog just broke the previous record of 21,942 that was set by a supercharged Suzuki Samurai built by custom truck company Twisted Andes on the same mountain in 2007 and in a way reclaimed the title for Mercedes-Benz parent company Daimler.

(Jeep)

According to Autoblog, the Samurai eclipsed a record set just weeks before by a Jeep Wrangler, which was produced at the time by the now-defunct Daimler-Chrysler corporation.

Guinness World Records has not yet certified the Mercedes-Benz achievement.

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This story has been updated with additional technical information about the trucks