You know, I often joke that WhistlinDiesel is so popular because he does whatever your mom told you not to. But no mother in the history of mankind ever said “don’t fly to Britain to buy a $6.9 million tank.” Even so, this is probably the craziest thing any top-tier YouTuber has ever bought.
As Cody says in the intro for his latest video, driving a tank is everybody’s childhood dream. You turn three and it’s suddenly: truck driver, tank commander, jet pilot, or… T-rex rider. At least that was me back in the 1980s.
Because they’re so cool, many people have tried to clickbait by supposedly driving a tank. But it’s usually just an armored personnel carrier, which looks the part if you don’t know anything about tanks. As an example, Cleetus McFarland recently claimed he drove over WD in a “tank”, which was his Ripsaw, and Rick Rebuilds took a “tank” to McDonald’s, even though he only had Kanye’s Sherp. The closest thing to real tank action is probably FPSRussia, and a lot of his stuff has been deemed illegal, with his large gun collection being confiscated.
But what WhistlinDiesel has here is a real tank. Specifically, he flew to the UK to check out and buy a Chieftain, the British big boy. And I know it looks like an American M1, but there are a few big differences. It’s got a big 120mm cannon and very thick armor, both designed to battle the Soviet Union in Europe at long range.
As a result, it’s very heavy with a total weight that can reach about 60 tons, about as much as 26 new Ford F-150 trucks. Usually, half of what WhistlinDiesel says is a joke. But the people he’s buying it from are seriously talking about what they have to do to the main gun for it to be legally sold and exported.
In 1995, San Diego had the famous tank rampage incident, where police were powerless against a disgruntled veteran who stole a tank and terrorized the streets. WhistlinDiesel’s tank will have a plug welded into the barrel and it won’t be able to fire anything.
While the Chieftain looks like an Abrams, it certainly doesn’t sound like one. That’s because it uses the Leyland L60 multi-fuel engine, a 6-cylinder with 19 liters of displacement that makes 750 horsepower as standard. People make fun of the M1’s gas turbine powerplant, but the one in the UK tank is ironically the unreliable one. On the upside, Cody’s example looks like a later model with mechanical improvements, and he at least will be able to fuel it up.
The Chieftain tank looks like it’s ready for the desert. Models like this have seen action in the Iran-Iraq and the Persian Gulf, which may explain the sandy paint.
What buying a tank actually costs
As for the price, the YouTuber says the Chieftain is “the best way to ever spend $6.9 million.” Now, this does sound like an exaggeration because according to Wikipedia, one of these cost the equivalent of £90,000-£100,000 back in 1967.
Various websites suggest this piece of armor is worth closer to £50,000 or about the same in dollars. This reminds me, the British coin is at one of the lowest levels ever against the dollar, which means Americans are getting a great deal. Tavarish, for example, just bought a nice E36 M3.
But seriously, this may just be a case of the delivery charge being higher than your package. Can you imagine shipping the equivalent of 40 cars across the ocean? You certainly can’t put it on a regular airplane, and what kind of ship can even support this much weight in one place?
So what does Cody do with his tank?
The kind Brits take the time to walk Mr. Diesel around his new tank, which apparently makes 1000 horsepower and has a built-in supercharger. There are multiple systems that got his attention, like the automatic fire extinguishers, the smoke grenades, and infrared lights. But you just know he’s going to shoot guns at the armor just to see if anything happens.
Driving to McDonald’s has already been done a bunch of times. But just like you’d expect, Cody gets into all kinds of trouble while driving the Chieftain for the first time. While in the nearby forest, the behemoth gets stuck. Fortunately, this establishment has the kind of heavy-duty equipment needed to facilitate a tank recovery mission.