Reality, Pitfalls and Hard Facts (Version 7)


Here is what myself and several others have put together about over the last couple of years.


WARNING - All contents are anecdotal and nothing herein is anything other than the oppinions of several people. Use your own discretion and intelligence before evaluating and/or relying on these contents. The responsibility is yours.



First off, have a look at the Owning Armour (Hints for the budding enthusiast) section on this web site . There is some general advice there for starters.

Second, if you are going to operate an armoured vehicle you will need a decent intercom with headphones. This is for safety reasons and is standard practise both in civilian and military use all over the world. As once the vehicle is moving they become too noisy for the driver to hear you shouting. If you are too lousy (cheap) to spend the money needed (somewhere between $500 - $800) then you are too lousy (cheap) to own an AFV. Fiddling around with the intercom units that come as part of the original British valve radio systems is up to you. But you had better have a friend who knows how to fix this sort of gear as they almost always don't work when you get them.

The following information is for "contingency" purposes in case your intercom fails. Here are the old tank corps commander to driver signals, assuming that the type of vehicle you are in allows you to reach the driver in a hurry.

Turn left =  A push of a hand on the left shoulder.

Turn right = A push of a hand on the right shoulder.

Pull over to R or L side and stop. = Sustained push on the appropriate shoulder.

Stop = A push in the back.

Panic stop = A kick in the back of the head; but if you do it too hard it stuns the driver and he probably won't respond at all. I know, it was done to me.

If you are REALLY desperate then here are some novel solutions:
Early on in Australia's involvement in the Vietnam war it became painfully obvious that we needed light tracked armour, so Australia purchased M113A1 APC's direct from the manufacturer in America. Burocrats being what they are, the subject of intercoms was not a priority. Hence our APC's ended up in Vietnam with no means of internal communication. One APC commander resorted to using a radio aerial to tap his driver on the appropriate shoulder or on the head as needed.
Another merely went back to pre-mechanised days and equipped his driver with "reins" by tying a rope to each of the driver's shirt eppaulettes.
Picture the workload of these commanders, not only did they have to keep situational awareness of the enemy, but physically (rather than verbally) control their driver, and wrestle with a manually operated gun ring or turret. There was one critical command that these arrangements did not allow - reverse!

Third, AFV's are expensive. They are based on heavy driveline components, have poor fuel consumption, are slow and lumbering, take skill to operate and are far from being the indestructible miracle machines that people seem to imagine. Just think about the cost of new truck tyres as an example.
As often as not a 4 wheel drive Jeep etc will go more places, cheaper and easier than a tank or armoured car will.


- You can break them.
- You can bog them (sooner you than me)
- You can be arrested for pointing armament (even de-activated or replica) and may even run the risk of having the vehicle confiscated.
- You will need to do more maintenance than on normal vehicles.
- Some people think "Tank" = "Indestructible".

These people usually fall into one or more of the categories below:

A) Don't own the vehicle

B) Have more money than sense and therefore don't care.

C) Former military and it hasn't sunk in that if they carry on the way they did in the military, the difference is that they have to foot the bill, not the military.

D) Don't intend to keep the vehicle and thus it will be someone else's problem (perhaps even yours!).

When they do break, as in the picture below, is how you might find yourself.
Fun place to work eh?
Can you see yourself doing this sort of thing?

Raeme 02 pic

Download the big pics by clicking on the small pics...

I would like to thank Ian Summers: for permission to use this picture from his site, which deals with Aussie diggers. The picture was taken in Vietnam and the mechanic is working on the engine of a Centurion Tank.



Your responsibility!


It will only take one idiot to make the 7 O'Clock news anywhere in the world and we may all face loosing our vehicles.

The following is all second hand information, but as far as I can find out it is correct.

Several years ago there was a demonstration in a town in England, quite peaceful, but the local bobby's (cop's) had a fit, because one of the protesters drove his Abbot SPG (tracked, turreted artillery) in the procession that was part of the demonstration. The bobby's said they were not equipped, nor did they have any desire to fight tanks. This 1 incident has resulted in a total change in the laws in England regarding surplus vehicles. From what I have been told there won't be any more armoured vehicles come onto the market in England, they all carry destruction orders. No more Ferret's! This bloke played right into the politician's hands, just the excuse they had been looking for, he did not break any laws nor did he do anything confrontational, but that was all it took.

Since then the following has happened:
There were several people arrested for trying to export a Scorpion Light Tank engine (which is nothing more than a down rated Jaguar car engine), which is now not allowed. What tipped HM Customs off was that it was that sickly green AFV colour.

'This was an entirely avoidable incident, as getting an export license is a simple formality but without the crackdown on MVs, the arrests might have been avoided entirely.' (Stuart, USA)

Then there is the American Saladin incident, this time I can give you the incident right from 'the horse's mouth':


Interesting that this story/event has stuck around so long, that was 8 or 9 years ago! {1989?} Just as a correction, we were not tracking semi-trailers with the main gun, just the (1) law enforcement vehicle, and it was a good chewing out (not only from the officer, but Dad was just a little ticked off also). As I look back on it now, it was a very foolish thing to do, even in jest. We still take the Saladin out for the occasional ride, but not as much as we used to.

As to other situations, we have run the Saladin, Ferrets, Dingo's, M3A1 scout car (with dummy .50 or .30) and all sorts of other vehicles with inactive/replica weapons, and never had any problems, but caution and common sense are the watchwords. Most of the time now when we are out & about, any removable arms are stowed until we get to the show or event, and then brought out for display.



To my knowledge there was no "fallout" over this incident - luckily!


From Geoff in Canada came the following information. The following appears in today's (13/7/99) XXXXXXXX newspaper. It is particularly applicable to our Canadian listers, but could perhaps be a lesson to all of us.

Basically, knowing the level of paranoia in our government today - and, I wager, in many others - this could have serious repercussions to our hobby. Let's hope not.

Here's NOT what to do with your restored military vehicle:


Armoured car rumbles up Parliament Hill


AN ARMOURED vehicle with a mounted .30-calibre machine-gun drove up to Parliament Hill Sunday night leaving startled RCMP officers fearing a terrorist attack.

Two cruisers intercepted and boxed in the 1959 Daimler Ferret scout car in front of the Centre Block as 100 shocked tourists scrambled for cover.

The nervous officers then ordered the two occupants out of the five-tonne behemoth that had approached with a man in a steel military helmet sticking out from the vintage reconnaissance vehicle's turret located behind the menacing weapon.

"It was a genuine cause for concern," RCMP Cpl. Marc Richer said yesterday. "From a security perspective this is the worst nightmare we could imagine."

Police discovered the gun was not operational, but two Ottawa-area men -- one in his 20s, the other in his 30s -- were questioned before being released.

A search of the vehicle revealed no ammunition or other weapons.

The Ferret's owner told police he was returning from an antique car show when he decided to drop by the Hill around 8:30.

Although the vehicle was registered and plated, investigators are consulting with the Crown to see if charges are warranted.

"Dealing with this type of machine is almost impossible," Richer said. "We can't compete with that kind of machine.

"Even though there was maybe no malicious intent, we can't look at it from a comical perspective. This kind of situation is very precarious."

Hill security has been stepped up after a number of unnerving incidents the past few years.

Last September, a suicidal former soldier armed with a makeshift propane bomb threatened to blow himself up.

About 18 months earlier, a Quebec man drove his Jeep up the Centre Block steps and stormed the main foyer before being captured.


They won't ban propane tanks and they won't ban jeeps, but what do you bet someone somewhere starts talking about banning privately-owned armoured vehicles, or at the very least, deactivated machine guns? Apparently a related ZZZ News report indicated some individuals own '60-ton tanks'. This crap is GUARANTEED to make any vote hungry politician go running for guidance and inspiration... "...gee something NEW we can ban!"

I can't believe anyone would be this dumb. If any of you know these yahoos, cuff them upside the head, would you? We have enough trouble with this stuff without looking for more .

My thanks to Geoff.

Take note of the emotive if not down right deceptive slant of this article. If the reporter concerned (who has obviously never even clapped eyes on a Ferret, but definetly wants to see his name in print) describes a Ferret as a "behemouth", I can only wonder what sort of mental state he would be in if confronted with something so gargantuan as a school bus. For the record a Ferret is the size of your average "compact" car, only slightly bigger than a WW2 Jeep!

Yes, I am coming over a bit strong, but if you consider the laws in many countries forbid the private ownership of armoured vehicles then you will see that this is a PRIVILEGE we should guard by acting conservatively and cautiously.

From a Ferret owner comes the following advice:
As a result of getting older and wiser and living in our nations capital I made a few phone calls today before venturing out on the roads, giving my route details, vehicle details and my own details to the area police, preventative action is so much better than reactive forest fire fighting. The comms officer was very understanding in my concerns for their officers and what they might perceive my vehicle to be and how the members of the public might react to armour rolling down the road past our international airport as well. As a result I was passed by a couple of cruisers who gave me the thumbs up and waved in recognition of who and what I was.

I would stress to all of you that a good working relationship with your area law enforcement departments is such a valuable tool, and dealing with officers when you get stopped in an upbeat and sensible fashion will go a long way in getting yourself and the MV world in general taken seriously by the local gendarmerie. I know that often when I get pulled over these days it is often as a result of a fellow officer having put the word out locally that I am cool about being stopped and quizzed, and 9 times out of 10 the first words out of their mouths is " I had heard about your machine, so i had to stop you to have a look for myself". To that end I must get around to buying a visitors book and keep it in the Ferret and get them to sign it.


If you are not a member of the Military Vehicles Preservation Association then give some thought to joining, do be aware that this is an American based organisation and they don't seem to have much interest in concerns outside of the USA.
In recent times (1999/early 2000) this club has been receiving a lot of criticism over the internet because they are not perceived/seen to be, acting on the problem of the freeze on "Form 6's" (permission to import AFV's etc into America). In the year 2000, they finally altered their ideas from "jeeps are what concerns us" to a broader outlook as befits the name of the their club and became involved in "the Form 6 ban" and became active in the process of getting the ban lifted, it nearly came too late. Ultimately, it appears that the change of presidency in America will solve the problem.
The membership includes subscription to "Supply Line" which is a news come advert magazine and "Army Motors" which is a mix of historical, current projects (restorations), advice and features on dealers, the focus is predominately on American subjects.
Despite being the largest ex-millitary vehicle club in the world, with members from all countries (especially so it would seem, in Italy) they appear to lack the broader world outlook.
The membership fee is well worth the magazines alone.

Alternately you could think of joining IMPS (Invicta Military vehicle Preservation Society) which is the English club who are behind the incredible "Beltring" rally, nothing else world wide can compare to the size and variety of Beltring. They produce a quarterly magazine as part of the membership fee, they DO have a more worldy outlook (especially with regard to Beltring and those who attend). Membership is 30 per year which has the added benefit of multi-day entrance pass to Beltring (curently 25).


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