Tanks a lot
What really appeals when we talk tank?
Tanks were built for one purpose – to help win wars.
Being designed to do so, however, has inadvertantly left them with an attraction they never intended – the thrill of driving one. Even seeing one is a spectacle, although luckily a lot of us have never had one driven at us by bad guys, in which case the spectacle would presumably be much different.
So what is it about driving a tank that means so many people go on experience days to have a go? And why do so many promotional events use them? We had a quick phone call with Nick Mead at Tanks-ALot for a bit more insider info on the world of tanks. The phone line sounded a bit rubbish, but then the reason became clear…
Influx: Hi Nick, are you free to chat?
Nick Mead: “Yeah I’ve got a few minutes, I’m in stuck in a tank and someone’s getting a digger…”
Influx: Oh, ok! Sounds like fun! Firstly, are all tanks the same to drive?
NM: “They’re all fairly easy, but there are a lot of differences – some have steering wheels but most have levers. Some manual, some automatic, but they aren’t really hard to drive.”
Influx: Have you driven on public roads?
NM: “Haha I’ve done more miles in London than anyone else! We’re always down there, doing cool promotions and gimmicks, it’s great. Recently we took a Tank Limo to Mayfair to take an Arab Prince and his mates around London. We’ve also done a lot of corporate stuff.”
Influx: So are the tanks congestion charge exempt, or is that just a rumour?
NM: “I wish I knew! I drove for years through London with no problems, but I decided to put new number plates on a tank as it had old black and white ones, but when I did so I got fined! I just paid the fine as wasn’t worth appealing but I don’t think anyone really knows whether they’re exempt or not.”
Influx: Who tends to enjoy driving tanks?
NM: “Everyone. We still get more men than women come along, but there’s always been a fair amount of women, and they tend to do better and win the car crushing!”
Influx: If someone owned their own tank, would it be hard to maintain?
NM: “They aren’t hard to maintain – they just need a lot of maintenance, but it’s not difficult. If you’re working a vehicle hard then stuff will inevitably need repairing and replacing. Over time stuff just wears out, but generally you don’t need special tools to repair them. Some of the Russian tanks actually work better with a bit of rust, whereas the more precisely-engineered British tanks tend to stiffen up if they rust. Anyway, the digger’s here now so I’ve got to go, call me back if you need anything else.”
And on that note, we left Nick to get out of his post-storm-Eleanor sticky situation.
To see some of the unique ways the Tanks-ALot team use their tanks, check out the unusual events on their website. If you fancy buying your own decommisioned ex-military vehicle, then you can get special insurance policies through Adrian Flux insurance which are designed to help you break new ground, not break the bank.
Whether or not you get charged a congestion charge for cruising through London, though, is for you to figure out!
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