Historic military vehicles, ex-military vehicles, tactical trucks, whatever you want to call them – they’ve always had a huge attraction within the survivalist or prepper community.
Somewhat rightfully so. The design requirements for tactical vehicles (and by tactical vehicles, I mean purpose built vehicles for military requirements. Trucks such as the M-1009 Chevy Blazers aren’t considered to be true tactical vehicles. Trucks like the M-151 Ford MUTT are, on the other hand, definitely purpose built tactical trucks) are pretty much a survivalists dream.
- Good on road and off road capabilities
- Heavy duty
- Simple mechanical systems
- Able to carry heavy loads over poor terrain
But you also have to consider the “con” aspects too:
- Designed for a large logistical support train
- Often not fuel efficient
- Often take large amounts of maintenance work
- Not ergonomic in the least, leading to operator fatigue
- Noise levels
- Usually very high profile
- Maintenance costs, and parts availability
Yet another aspect that I don’t often see mentioned are the day to day costs of operating an exotic military vehicle. Insurance can be a very tough thing to deal with. There just aren’t that many places that will underwrite you as you operate that 52 ton main battle tank. OK, maybe that’s an exaggeration, but you get the idea. Even getting insurance on something like a relatively common M35A2 Duece and a Half can be daunting. For residents in the U.S.A., often owners will go to an underwriter by the name of Gulf Coast. I’ve had great service from them in the past, and I can personally recommend them.
Yet another issue is getting the vehicle registered, and sometimes having to get a specialized operators permit for it. In California, to operate a three axle vehicle, you need to get either a Class B Commercial license, or a Class B Non-Commercial (yeah, and don’t listen to the DMV people either, there actually are Class B Non-Commercial license requirements). Note that these are just for the state of California, other states have other requirements, and that this also has nothing to do with the federal side of things.
Something else to think about before you take the dive – military vehicles often aren’t the easiest things to operate. They have their little quirks, the problem here is that these little quirks can sometimes wind up flattening houses or other vehicles, never mind the bystanders. So if you don’t have prior training in operating that 5 ton truck, at the least try to find out where your local historic military vehicle club has there meetings, and try to get someone to show you the ropes.