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How to Source and Import and Ex-military Vehicle

Posted on November 16, 2015

How to Source and Import and Ex-military Vehicle

Last year The Christchurch Press ran this story about Jonathan Lahy-Neary and his tank collection – and it got us thinking at McCullough about the strange types of military vehicle you might like to import into New Zealand.

Jonathan hit the headlines because he was selling up his Tanks for Everything business – including a Centurion Mark 5/1 which started out lilfe in the Aussie army and a Cold War era T-55AM2 tank from the Czech Republic.

So first off, we wondered whether getting hold of a military vehicle means getting ownership of all the military hardware which usually comes with it. And the answer is no. Certainly you can drive them around (Jonathan used his to give people a thrill by crushing cars!) and they’re pretty much the ultimate bug boy’s toy if you’ve got the land to spare for a cool off-road track – but all guns have to be deactivated.

So where do you find these type of military vehicles?

Surprisingly, Jonathan told the newspaper that he visited vehicle disposal yards in the UK and they had “just rows and rows of these tanks lined up to be sold”.

And, certainly, just from heading into the internet, it seems anything from simple UK Army Landrovers and US Humvees through to amphibious landing craft and military bulldozers are on offer. This BBC article has some great examples:

  • The DUKW amphibious truck (better known as “The Duck”) weighs nearly seven tonnes and dates back to World War II but would be a great sightseeing/tourist business and would certainly cause a stir if you parked it at the bach alongside everyone else’s Sealegs! The BBC quote a restored example which sold for $US78,775 in July 2014.
  • France’s Renault Sherpa can be obtained as a fully armoured vehicle from out of Russia, Africa and the Middle East (where one version is quoted as costing a whopping $US272,000).
  • Russia’s answer to the Humvee is the GAZ Tigr which comes complete with 5.9-litre diesel engine, the option of non-military extras such as air-con, leather upholstery and a sound system… and a price tag of around $US110,000.
  • There’s not many vehicles which boast a 6x6 configuration, but the Austrian Army’s Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG has more than three decades worth of proven quality and hardiness. This colossal vehicle (5.5-litre V8 engine and nearly half a metre of ground clearance) comes with an equally colossal price tag: $US523,000.
  • South Africa’s 10-tonne Paramount Marauder looks every inch the classic army vehicle. Fully armoured, big, bulky and intimidating – possibly the perfect runaround for the school run! If, that is, you can find $US485,000.
  • This is our favourite, without a doubt. The Go-Ped Knightrider is used by special ops forces in the US and Israel and is like a scooter on steroids. There might only be two wheels but they’re big and fixed to a strong suspension and powered by a lithium-ion polymer battery to reach a top speed of more than 30kph and give a range of 40km. You should be able, according to the BBC, hunt one down for around $US4700.
  • If you’ve got heaps of room, then a military grade ATV like the Polaris MV850 is both fast and pretty much indestructible, thanks to its non-pneumatic tyres which can withstand bullets or any kind of spike. Yours for $US15,000.
  • And if you have the off-road racing bug, then the UK’s Supacat LRV 400 looks like the sort of rally vehicle which eats up the Paris-Dakar rally regardless of what the terrain throws at it. A 3.2-litre five-cylinder diesel engine gets you 236hp and a top speed of 170kph or a petrol V8 will find 640hp and… well, a seriously fast off-roader! Comes with appropriately serious price tag of $US250,000.

If all of that seems a little out of your price range, then you can look a little closer to home. Australia is in the process of replacing 85% of its military hardware over 15 years – something they started to do around three years ago.

But since they’ve got around 12,000 vehicles, including 3300 Land Rovers, 3530 trucks, 110 semi-trailers, 80 low-loaders, tankers, Unimogs, motorcycles and trailers, to get through, there’s sure to be enough to go round.

They have strict rules about who they sell to, of course, but as long as you can show you’re not going to hand them over to countries and regimes on their banned list, you ought to be able to walk away with a slice of history.

If you are interested in importing an ex-military vehicle then you’re going to have to ensure that the vehicle passes all New Zealand compliance regulations, as well as meeting MAF and Customs clearance.

Because McCullough has been importing all manner of vehicles and commercial machinery for more than 20 years, we understand all the potential pitfalls and regulatory hurdles you need to get your dream vehicle into the country.

We can advise what paperwork is required and help arrange for all compliance, shipping and importation services to be completed before your vehicle reaches New Zealand.

If you’re interested in importing a unique ex-military vehicle into New Zealand from Europe, the United States or Australia, contact us on +64 9 303 0075 or info@mmnz.biz


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