Many people all over the world are fascinated by military vehicles. Since World War II a lot of that interest has been focused on the US Army Jeep. Thanks to CNN during the Gulf War, the HMMWV (pronounced humvee) has joined the jeep in the public eye as a symbol of military forces in the modern era. Because of the special status that these vehicles have, and their legendary toughness and durability, there is an impression that they are not available to civilians unless you are Arnold Schwartzenegger. Olive-Drab.com will show you that such an impression is not true and you can indeed have one of your own.
Overview of Military Vehicle Restoration and Collecting
In 1912, four commercial trucks were purchased by the U.S. Army. That was the beginning of what became the world's largest fleet of motorized vehicles, replacing tens of thousands of horses and revolutionizing ground warfare. The huge quantities and varieties of military vehicles have captured the imagination of a small but very intense community of collectors, restorers, reenactors and historians all over the world who put a lot of time, effort, and even love into finding, preserving and enjoying military vehicles from all eras, wars, and locations.
While military vehicles are not around in abundance, they are certainly available and at prices which ordinary people can afford (well, maybe a tank or HMMWV is a bit pricey). In fact, if you are willing to put in the time and effort, a military vehicle can be considerably cheaper than an ordinary family car which isn't 1/10 the fun. By the time you finish with this section of Olive-Drab.com, all of the issues will be in perspective and you will be able to make the right moves to buy, restore, maintain, and sell military vehicles, even at a profit.
Much of the discussion of military vehicles is focused on the equipment of US forces. During WW II the Allied nations were supplied with many American vehicles from the huge US production and so US vehicles are the probably best known around the world. However, there were large numbers of Canadian and British vehicles produced and they are highly prized by collectors. The famous German vehicles of WW II, from the Kübelwagen to Tiger tanks, are very valuable today but exist in much smaller numbers. Recently some vehicles from the former Soviet Union are appearing at MV shows to open up whole new areas for reenactors, collectors, and preservationists. Whatever your interests, Olive-Drab.com will bring you the best information available to help you find and enjoy the vehicles.
To get you going right away, do all of the things suggested in the Quick Start section. That is the way to get familiar with the basics of the vehicles, begin a good flow of information from the magazines, and get in touch with people who can sell you vehicles and help you with any problems.
If your interest is drawn to armored vehicles, be sure to visit Doug Greville's Heavy Metal site in Australia. His "Hints for Enthusiasts" is a priceless introduction to what it takes to own armor whether as a gate guard (static) display or to run on the streets. There are a lot of things to consider about tanks that you don't have to worry about with a jeep; Doug is the voice of experience.
Lt. Gen. Holland M. Smith USMC (right) takes jeep tour of Saipan airfield, July 1944.
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