How to Buy a Military Tankby Andrew Hoffman
Buying a tank is not as difficult as you might think. Whether it is an English collector of military memorabilia, or a Czech with a connection to the Russian Ministry of Defense, someone out there has the tank you want. However, transporting it internationally can be challenging.
Where to Look
The former Soviet Eastern Bloc has many large-scale distributors of military hardware eager to sell you a tank. The difficulty lies in contacting them, as well as bringing your tank home. Collectors of military vehicles also buy and sell in England, Western Europe, and the United States, but have less selection.
There are several Czech military distributors with extensive inventories. The STV Group, with service in English, has four dozen T-72s available, among many other pieces. Excalibur Army, based outside of Prague, has a very extensive selection of military hardware, but their service in anything but Czech is limited. According to "Automobile Magazine," Excalibur Army will prepare the export license and secure the shipping for you as well. This means that you will only be responsible for the import license.
A number of larger English dealers, such as RP Armour, Khaki Corps Imports, and Ex-Military.com, have tanks available, and the connections through which to procure others. Smaller collectors or individuals who buy, sell, repair, and rent military vehicles, include A+S Armsoft of Norwich, and Dinscott Military Services of Bude, Cornwall. In addition to what collectors own themselves, most also store and transport military vehicles, and are willing to help you find the piece you want.
The American trade in military vehicles is smaller than the English or Eastern European one, but for Americans is worth investigating, in order to avoid customs difficulties. Based in Ohio, ArmyJeeps.net is one of the largest brokers of military vehicles in the country, and has listings for a wide variety of vehicles for sale by private collectors. And based in New Jersey, Usmilitaryvehicles.com specializes in jeeps, but is worth an inquiry.
Importing Your Tank
The rules for importing motor vehicles vary widely from country to country, and regulations on military vehicles only more so. For the United States, customs regulations for importing vehicles, as well as the exceptions made for display vehicles, are provided by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (see References for link). Consider the customs regulations of both the importing and exporting countries, as well as any nations through which the vehicle will be traveling. It is a must to consult someone with experience in the private transport of military vehicles.
- tank image by Andrew Breeden from Fotolia.com