Driving a tank is every destructive little child's personal goal. But with age comes maturity, and with maturity comes the realization that getting a hold of one of these puppies is going to be a little difficult. For all those tankophiles who just aren't ready to make a personal commitment to the U.S. military, we offer the following tips for getting yourself behind the wheel:
Check Your Neighbors' Mail
It may seem a bit hopeless, but the key is to not be fooled by misleading labels. After all, what are the chances that the Johnsons are really getting a 3,500-ton package of Belgian chocolates? This lesson would have come in mighty handy to the German army in 1915, when the first British tanks were shipped over to join the World War I combat in France. Developed by the British Navy and originally christened "land ships," the new weapons were sent by train to the front lines. Fearing those trains might fall into enemy hands, the British labeled the crates "TANKS," disguising them as large cisterns being sent to the apparently parched Russian army. Very sneaky. In fact, the British turned out to be too sneaky for their own good. Because of the secrecy surrounding the tank's development, only key Navy officials had any real working knowledge of the new weapon. Meanwhile, the men leading the Army infantry divisions that were actually supposed to work with the tanks didn't know what to do with them or how to use them in battle. The result: foot soldiers and their tank units often ended up separated, allowing the German army to pick them off individually.
Say you wanted to combine the thrill of tank driving with the social experience of a really good kegger, then what? In 2002, a California design firm came up with the perfect solution: the JL421 Badonkadonk—an 1100-pound armored vehicle with roomy plush interior, killer hot rod lighting, and a state-of-the-art sound system. Although normally focused on graphics and furniture design, NAO Design put together the prototype Badonkadonk as a publicity gimmick, formally launching it at the August 2002 Burning Man Festival after several trial runs around the Stanford University party scene. More productive uses have since been discovered; the "Donk" is used by the Stanford Band drum section to transport heavy equipment (and intimidate rival teams) on game days and in 2005, the designers added a pyrotechnic system—including flamethrowers (which we assume to be very useful). Sadly, though it can pull 40 m.p.h., the vehicle isn't street legal. But, NAO Design has yet to sell one of these bad boys, so there's still a chance to be the first kid in your block (nay, hemisphere) to own one. One Badonkadonk will set you back $20,000 on Amazon.com, shipping and handling not included.