Remember that over-the-top tank-chase sequence in Fast & Furious 6? As it turns out, the film crew needed some actual tanks for the set piece. Along with some rubber-and-wood mock-ups was a real army-surplus fighting vehicle. It was an FV4201 Chieftain, a 56-ton British main battle tank with a 750hp Leyland 19-liter six-cylinder engine and a 120mm rifled main gun. Naturally, all of the business hardware is removed when military vehicles are sold to civilians, so only the hull, the turret and the power unit remain.
But since the crew needed to show vehicles moving and blowing each other up real good at nearly 100km/h, the stock engine wouldn’t do as the Chieftain’s original top speed was just 40km/h. So, the production staff souped up the drivetrain and fortified the hull with galvanized steel so it could smash through an estimated 250 cars during filming. And if you’re planning to visit the UK anytime soon, you can get to drive the same FF6 tank by heading over to Tanks-Alot Tank Driving Experiences down by Spring Farm in Helmdon, Northamptonshire. We have no idea where exactly that is, but that’s why there’s Google Maps.
In fact, not only can you drive the Chieftain, but you can also bimble around in a Soviet 2S1 Gvozdika self-propelled gun and a British FV432 armored personnel carrier, and shoot the ever-living shite out of some nasty clay pigeons with a double-barreled shotgun. Speaking of guns, Tanks-Alot has some truly magnificent firearms in its armory, including 17th-century flintlocks. “Bollocks!,” you say?
Apparently, the company is doing good business these days as plenty of blokes just feel the need to let off some pandemic-fueled steam by driving around in the mud and crushing some cars for good measure. The Fast & Furious 6 tank came into the hands of the company after a protracted hunt as various collectors had snapped it up first when the production company sold off the props. According to its owner, the tank is sitting pretty in its “killing field” and destroys around five to six cars a day.
A look at the voucher shop suggests you’d have a ball of a time rolling in the mud with the “Full Monty Driving Experience” for just £349 (P23,000). You get to operate four fighting vehicles, shoot clay pigeons, and check out the guns—lots of guns. At £849 (P57,000), the “Deluxe Tank Driving Experience” lets you drive three tanks, tour the armory, strip a Bren gun against the clock, crush a car that is as pedestrian as a BMW or as posh as a Rolls-Royce, and be finished just in time for tea. Blimey!
Aside from the day tours, the company also offers tank limo and tank hearse services, and they’ll even do hen parties, stag parties and “Asian weddings.”
We have yet to try out Tanks-Alot’s services, but the company seems to be getting good reviews on Tripadvisor and Facebook. We’re saving our pennies for the day we can finally come over and have a go at it ourselves.