Cold War, Military, Modern Day, WW2

Military Vehicles. A Genuine Choice for Civilians?

Recently there has been a rising trend within the automobile industry where average civilians find themselves drawn toward purchasing new and used military grade vehicles. In response to growing consumer demand, several automobile manufacturers have even started to develop all-purpose street versions of these military vehicles.

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You may have seen online auctions featuring surplus army vehicles and trucks. These vehicles often end up online once the government has officially deemed them past their expiry.

Due to the sheer volume of vehicles that have been retired from active military service, it can actually be quite cheap to own a military vehicle. High-Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWVs), or Humvees, for instance, have starting auction prices below $1,000.

Hold your horses, though. Shipping and collection costs can add up quickly!

Humvees can start from as little as $1,000. But buyer beware!

The legality of owning an ex- military vehicle varies widely depending on the vehicle model and your state’s registration laws. California, for instance, does not allow the registration of vehicles not initially manufactured for public highways, including military cars, trucks, or utility vehicles.

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Still, many refuse to go down without a fight. Celebrities like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jamie Foxx, and Chris Brown are all proud owners of their own luxury tanks!

Is Buying a Military Vehicle the Best Option for You?

This, of course, then begs the question: is buying a military vehicle the right option for you? When considering buying a military vehicle, examine what added value you would get from owning a military car or truck that you wouldn’t otherwise gain from a standard commercial vehicle.

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For some civilians, the appeal of an ex-army vehicle lies in its sturdiness, particularly in its off-roading capabilities. Military vehicles are, of course, made to withstand extreme high-pressure environments and are built to last. That in itself is a major plus for many, considering the depreciating value of commercially available cars.

Keeping this growing niche interest in mind, several manufacturers have started to develop all-purpose street versions of these military-grade vehicles. Today, military trucks are used as camper vehicles to haul farm produce and take the family out for Sunday lunch! 

Medium tactical vehicle
Medium tactical vehicles are another popular choice for military vehicle owners.

Military-grade vehicles are by their very nature tough and built to last, so many civilians feel that investing in an ex-forces vehicle is a smart, reliable purchase.

Nonetheless, owning army vehicles comes with its own set of problems. Depending on how old or niche your vehicle is, very few stores are likely to carry spare parts (and for those that do, replacing those parts is likely an expensive process).

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Military vehicles are also typically much larger than your average commercial vehicle, making parking and storage an issue. And lastly, despite being “street legal,” most military vehicles were not designed for paved surfaces and may cause damage to streets and roads in the long run.

Vehicles on the Market

When it comes to actually selecting your military vehicle, research is of the essence. There are hundreds of vehicles for sale, with some going all the way back to the 1940s! While conducting your research, consider your budget, local laws and regulations, needs and lifestyle, and maintenance costs.

The US government and military usually sell Humvees, 5-Tons, Internally Transportable Light Strike Vehicles (ITVs), and Light Medium Tactical Vehicles (LMTVs) at government auctions. Humvee, in particular, is an attractive SUV alternative for the average citizen. These vehicles are known as the “workhorses of the Army.”

You could also use a Humvee as a work truck or service vehicle.

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Here are a few other military vehicles civilians may like to own:

·         Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG 6×6

Once the largest and second most expensive street-legal vehicle in Mercedes’ lineup, the Benz G63 combines military engineering with civilian luxury. Partly based on the Mercedes-Benz G-Wagon, the G63 features an automatic transmission and can be adjusted for either on or off-road conditions. 

·         Polaris MV 850

This military ATV might look like a fun off-roading toy, but make no mistake. It is a military vehicle through and through. The MV 850’s non-pneumatic tires are state of the art, and its 850cc engine can haul up to 600 lbs!

The MV 850 looks like a quad bike. Its way more complex than that however!

The Polaris MV 850 is open to civilians via direct factory sales.

·         M38A1 Jeep

Affectionately known as the Willys M38, this four-wheel drive, light utility truck was the frontline go-to jeep for decades. This two-door vehicle was produced for two decades, from 1952 to 1971. Get your own anywhere between $3,000 to $20,000 depending on the make and model.