Tank that nearly stole the show

Words & Photos by Nigel Matthews

The Steamworks Concours d’Elegance, which stretched from Gassy Jack Square to the west end of Water Street in Vancouver on Sept 4th, was protected by a tank! It was all part of a very well planned display of vintage military vehicles supplied by the Canadian Military Education Centre in Chilliwack.

As you might imagine, the organizers had to answer some serious questions from City Hall before the 36,000 kg (39.7 ton) tank was permitted to place one link of its rubber tracks onto the city street.

The T-55s lineage dates back to the T-34 and World War Two. More T-55s have been produced than any other tank; production figures vary ranging from 42,000 to as many as 57,000 used by 50 countries on both sides of the Iron Curtain. It is estimated that 39,000 are still used in military service today.

If mechanical specs interest you here are a few. Torsion bar suspension, five rubber-tire road wheels are mounted per side. Unlike other tracked vehicles there are no return wheels for the tracks; the track runs across the top of the road wheels on its return.

The V-12 diesel engine is mounted transversely and drives the rear sprockets, just like the Lamborghini Muira! The dimensions are as follows, length 6.4 m (21ft), width 3.3 m (10.8 ft) and height 2.4 m (7.8 ft)

The modified VW Bus with a Cadillac V-8 engine on display half a block from the tank (pictured above), produces 20 horsepower more than the T55s 580-hp. The tank’s top speed is 50 km/pH (30 mph) with a range of 600 km (372 miles). The amour plating is 203 mm thick so door dents are not a problem, but the very small shopping mall spaces of today would be.

As I made my way down Water Street, I met two police officers patrolling their beat and asked them which vehicle on the street they would like to take home? They both replied in unison “the tank”.

Where does one find a second-hand tank? Try tanksforsale.co.uk! You might find a ‘one owner, driven only on Sundays by a little old lady’ example for sale.

Nigel Matthews is the sales and marketing executive for Hagerty Canada

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