I’ve dealt with various surplus items for a couple of decades now, and chief among them are tactical military vehicles. I’ve done everything from importation, to going over to Europe to select the right ones, to buying them from Government Liquidation here in the U.S.A, to just finding them on Craigslist and restoring them, and then reselling.
Cab and engine modifications, bobbing, different beds, electrical mods, and on and on.
The thing to remember before you take a dive into the MilVeh world is that most of these items are pretty old – there’s often a good reason they’ve been surplussed. They’ve been used, abused, and put away wet. Then they’re often given great maintenance and brought back up to par, for the next 18 year old soldier to hammer.
Some tips on buying these vehicles for the prepper:
1. Do your research! – my general timeline on buying a new, unknown to me vehicle is three years. I’ve found that in three years, I’ll be able to do the research, find out what I need to know about the vehicle, make the contacts, find the decent ones, and wind up with one in my driveway. Take your time, and don’t be in a rush.
2. Inspect, inspect inspect. Always inspect – if you don’t know how, take a friend along who does, or consider hiring someone that is very experienced with that particular vehicle. Yep, it’ll cost some, but in the end it could save thousands.
3. What do you want the vehicle for? First step, as with any tool, is what jobs do you envision it being used for? That’ll give you a target as to what class of vehicle, and then you can go from there.
4. Domestic v. Foreign. I’ve gone both ways. Both have pluses and minuses. Unimogs for instance, are the most capable off road/on road trucks out there (yeah, this is opinion talking. Pinzgauers (Pinzies) are terrific too, but for sheer load carrying capacity in an off road/on road truck/tractor, Unimogs take the prize) but finding parts for them is nowhere near as easy as hopping on down to your local auto shop. Well, OK, it can be, but for things other than light bulbs, belts, and fluid, you’ll be ordering via one of the specialist companies out there, and that can take time and money. Then again, domestic vehicles like the Duece and a half (M35A2, and variants), CUCV, etc still have their peculiarities as far as parts go, but in general you’ll be able to find maintenance items a bit more easily than for the foreign makes. Always keep this in mind.
There are a couple of other basic categories for land vehicles – wheeled v. tracked, and armored v. soft skin.
If you have no experience, or little experience, and don’t have a big budget, it’s simple. You’re looking for a wheeled, soft skin. Next step up would be wheeled armor, then tracked soft skins, then tracked armor. If anyone’s interested in the differences, I’d be happy to elaborate, but again….here’s your research homework!
If you’re at the point of starting your research, there are two basic resources you can start with, at least for domestic vehicles:
Both have an amazing amount of information….utilize it.