Collecting Military Vehicles
Having invented the motorcar, mankind quickly realized that it could be adapted for military purposes.
The development of military vehicles changed radically with the onset of the Great War.
They also changed the face of war forever.
But it really wasn’t until the years following the Second World War, when vast numbers of purpose made vehicles were released into private hands that the potential for an unusual hobby emerged.
Already an automobile icon, the ubiquitous Jeep offered a rugged, versatile vehicle for farmers, builders and many other trades, plus of course for the more adventurous motorist.
By the early 1950’s small fragmented groups of enthusiasts were exploiting the Jeep and other ex military vehicle’s ability off road and trialling and rally events started to appear.
During the 1960’s the All Wheel Drive Group was growing in size – swelled of course by the advent of the Landrover. Magazines like the late Prince Marshall’s “Old Motor” and “Three on The Floor” (published by the late showman John Carter – who was legendary for his Shottesbroke rallies in the late 1960s and early 1970’s) enthused about the joys of owning and running ex military vehicles and names like Bart Vanderveen, Brian Bashall and Peter Gray began to be prominent. Bart was already an accredited author on military vehicles and continued to publish books and his famous magazine “Wheels and Tracks” until his death in 2001. Peter Gray formed the Military Vehicle Conservation Group, which was later to become the MVT. Interest in historic vehicles developed so that people with ex military vehicles became more and more involved in car shows and steam fairs.
Slowly the hobby grew, with tours in our historic vehicles to European battlefields, rallies and public events. Despite the fact that many wartime vehicles were still in service, in those early days spares were hard to come by and parts dealers such as Metamet , JG Autos and Wilkinsons became legends.
The hobby grew and grew and by the 1980’s the IMPS was formed and would play an important part in developing the hobby.
Important anniversaries such as the 40th anniversary of D-Day brought all the European military vehicle clubs together and a lot of positive publicity was achieved and friendships made.
Now with many shows to attend, and a resurgence in 1940’s nostalgia, military vehicle ownership reached we estimate around 10,000 in the UK alone. The IMPS annual show, War and Peace had over 3,250 vehicles on display in 2001. This event has also played a significant part in expanding the hobby and has done much to raise the public interest.
As a hobby, we are keen to support the veterans whose endeavours allow us the freedoms we enjoy today.
Through our members restoration efforts, many thousands of historic military vehicles have been saved from certain destruction by scrap men with an indifference to history.
With many large scale dealers now in operation, military vehicles of all ages and types are bought and operated by collectors and enthusiasts. An abundance of spare parts have continued to surface over the years – the ever popular Jeep has spawned a complete industry in reproduction spares and accessories.
If you don’t already own a vehicle there are plenty available either fully restored, “as is” (e.g. untouched since they were surplused out of service) or basket cases for restoration. In the UK the hobby now supports two bookstore magazines, two major clubs and several hundred traders.
Generally military vehicles aren’t as expensive as other historic vehicles – though they tend to be a lot more thirsty on fuel.
By joining the IMPS, which we hope you will do, you can meet like minded enthusiasts and share in the vast amount of knowledge and expertise that the members have acquired in our 30 plus years.