Umm, 3 Wipers and 3 Shifters? – 1975 UMM Alter

When Jeeps, AROs, and Mercedes G-wagens are too boring, you have to do a deep search of online classifieds to find something truly unusual, at least on this continent: the UMM Alter. Conceived in France by a former manufacturer of military Jeep parts and upgrades, the rights were sold to the Portuguese União Metalo-Mecânica, who built the cars using Jeep running gear, a Peugeot diesel engine (among others), and some truly weird front end styling ahead of what could generously be called a big box on wheels. As with Land Rovers, many Alters went to utilities, municipalities, and other organizations needing utility vehicles, though they were not quite as successful in the private sector. They did enjoy a good reputation for durability, which is probably how at least one made it to the US – check out this 1975 UMM Alter for sale for $3600 in Hampstead, NH.

1975 UMM Alter left front

How many other vehicles have 3 wipers on the windshield? There’s not much charitable to say about the styling here, and while the truck doesn’t appear to have too much in the way of rust, the clearcoat has failed in a very 1980s way. And on that note, while this car is listed as a 1975 model – ostensibly to avoid some sort of import or emissions restrictions – these were not built until 1977 by Cournil, and this square headlight front end seems to date to the 1980s. Searching around online turns up quite a few instances of this car being for sale over the past few years at varying prices, so tread carefully.

1975 UMM Alter right front

The seller describes it as a Portuguese military truck, but doesn’t give any description of its condition or legal status. Fortunately, he’s posted some fairly detailed pictures, which include underbody, interior, and engine compartment shots showing what seems to be fairly limited corrosion and some extra parts in the rear that could be front fender flares. The rear window is covered by a tarp, so is probably leaking, but does look to be intact.

1975 UMM Alter interior

This might be where the Jeep running gear statement falls apart, as most Jeeps seem to only have shifters for the transfer case and transmission. Nonetheless, can you find a better way to impress your automatic-car driving friends with your hand-eye coordination? The rest of the interior looks to be in excellent shape – combined with the limited corrosion underneath, this almost looks like a vehicle that was parked with low miles many years ago. UMM certainly wasn’t particular about branding, sourcing their steering wheels from Peugeot without even scrubbing the lion.

1975 UMM Alter engine

And here’s the other major Peugeot part, a 2.5-liter diesel apparently good for around 76hp. Hopefully diesel torque will make up for the lack of acceleration and top speed. If this truly is mostly Jeep underneath, there surely can’t be a better way to cause a stir at the next Jeep Jamboree.


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One Response to “Umm, 3 Wipers and 3 Shifters? – 1975 UMM Alter”

  1. bluetoes591 Says:

    Nearly got run over by one of these in France a couple years ago. I was too busy trying to figure out what the heck it was to get entirely off the narrow roadway.

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