Arnold Schwarzenegger gets the keys to a $250,000 Mercedes Unimog

Just a day ago we were reminiscing about that time former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into the law the most sweeping curbs on greenhouse gases in the country, rules that drive the federal government's march toward a 54.5 mpg average by 2025. About the same time, Schwarzenegger was in California picking up his new ride, a five-ton Mercedes-Benz Unimog pickup customized to a value estimated at $250,000. The earth underneath its tires will be safe, all right.

Schwarzenegger, the 65-year-old actor and bit player in the recent "The Expendables 2," has long been known as a fan of military-grade trucks, and was a chief reason AM General and General Motors eventually built civilian versions of the Hummer military vehicle. During his time as governor, Schwarzenegger changed his stripes, touting fuel-efficient models and even converting one of his trucks to run on hydrogen.

But after leaving office and some changes in his personal life, Schwarzenegger seems to be exploring the world of high-end machinery again; we caught him earlier thisy month checking out the field at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. Thursday's pickup of his diesel Unimog followed a test drive in Germany of the Unimog with its customizer. These trucks aren't sold by Mercedes in the United States, but see duty around the rest of the world as construction, forestry and military haulers, and are renowned for their off-road prowess.

While the $250,000 figure in customizing by German firm Mertec sounds high, it might also involve a fair bit of legal work; newer Unimog U1300s generally aren't legal on American roads; they can barely top 60 mph, and getting one registered for public driving in California may have taken months. Then again, having an ex-governor as a customer couldn't have hurt.