When you think of U.S. Special Forces vehicles, the Toyota Land Cruiser and Ford Ranger aren’t typically the first two to come to mind. But right now, America’s Special Operations are buying up these cars like hot-cakes, and there is an interesting reason why.
According to Brandon Turkus at Auto Blog, “The overall idea is to build a truck with inconspicuous looks to protect and allow communications between troops while blending into traffic in potentially hostile countries. To be frank, it’s a pretty clever way of helping SpecOps troops move about without drawing attention.”
USSOCOM has made a deal with the Battelle Memorial Institute to take off-the-shelf Toyota Land Cruisers, Hilux pickups, and Ford Ranger pickups and fit them with armor, heavy-duty suspension components, upgraded brakes, run-flat tires, new wheels, and sophisticated communications and observation equipment. The deal is set to pay out $170 million over five years.
The Toyota Land Cruiser is a series of four-wheel drive vehicles produced by the Japanese car maker Toyota. It is Toyota’s longest running series.
Production of the first generation Land Cruiser began in 1951 as Toyota’s version of a Jeep-like vehicle.The Land Cruiser has been produced in convertible, hardtop, station wagon, and pickup truck versions. The Land Cruiser’s reliability and longevity has led to huge popularity, especially in Australia where it is the best-selling body-on-frame, four-wheel drive vehicle.
Unfortunately, even the toned down versions of many of these vehicles (including the Hilux and the Ranger) are not available for U.S. consumer use. For now, the only way to drive one stateside is to enlist and pass the special operations training course.
You can read the full original report on Auto Blog’s website linked below.