With all of the extra time many of us are finding during these difficult days comes a desire to find new things to do. So, if you’ve ever wanted to be like Arnold Schwarzenegger you might just want to go shopping for a tank and here’s how to go about it.
The U.S. Army made a deal with automakers back home to leave most of the vehicles in Europe to avoid flooding the domestic market, so it’s far easier to find an authentic model where it actually saw combat.
Today, the truly big stuff—tanks, bulldozers, tow trucks, and troop carriers—are largely restricted to those blessed with very deep pockets. “A good Sherman tank is $350,000 now,” Robinson says. Those collectors aren’t the initial saviors of these massive vehicles, however. “Welders or those who worked with heavy equipment were the first to get into it in the early ’80s when the government started shedding all this stuff,” Robinson explains. “They weren’t afraid of it. They were the first ones to rescue these machines from the scrapper.”
Armored vehicles require many headache’s worth of paperwork in the states, but for those who are truly enthralled by them, it’s worth it. For those who are in the market, Robinson lists a few of his favorite sites in the video (eBay, he says, has a decent selection but naturally limits you to stateside vehicles). One armored vehicle that’s proving popular among collectors is the British Daimler Ferret, built between 1952 and ’71. Powered by a Rolls-Royce inline-six, the Ferret sports not just one, but two driveshafts. It’s not only mechanically fascinating; with its low turret and side-slung spare tire, it looks seriously cool. “It’s the Jaguar E-Type of the military world,” Robinson says, “but [driving one] makes a Lamborghini feel like a fishbowl.” [Ed’s note: at least you won’t have any trouble finding a parking spot!]
Robinson also discusses another post-WWII Atomic Age battlefield truck called the Alvis Stalwart. This gigantic British troop- and general-stuff-hauler has a water-cooled Rolls-Royce eight-cylinder engine and six wheels that are each driven independently. Oh, and it’s amphibious. “It has this submarine-meets-Star Trek: Enterprise setup for its propellers,” Robinson says. If you’re curious, put the Lane Motor Museum in Nashville, Tennessee, on your post-pandemic road trip list; it has a Stalwart jammed into its parking structure. “It’s the only place they could fit it!” Phillips says with a laugh.
It’s all well and good to discuss multi-million-dollar Ferraris, as Robinson and Phillips agree. Military vehicles quite literally saved the world in WWII; they’re in a category of their own when it comes to vehicles truly worth saving and passing on to the next generation.
Source: Hagerty Magazine