(First Posted August 11, 2013) Driving between Washington, DC and Charlottesville, Virginia last year, one could see an unusual vehicle parked on the side of the road: a Ferrett armored car, built in the United Kingdom by Daimler from 1952 to 1971. The Ferrett served in the British Army through the Persian Gulf War of 1990, and some remain in service with other armies to this day. These light (3.7 ton) 4×4 reconnaissance vehicles were capable of a top speed of 58 miles per hour, powered by a 130 horsepower Rolls Royce B60 inlet over exhaust inline six (one of the B40/B60/B80 family of military vehicle engines with four, six or eight inline cylinders ).
Many of the 4,409 produced were sold as surplus by the United Kingdom and Australia, and they have been popular with collectors. Their compact size and light weight make them readily usable on public roads, more so than other ex-military armored vehicles such as the South African “Marauder” tested and reviewed by Top Gear in 2011 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cDoRmT0iRic). This example made its way from the United Kingdom to the United States (the number plate above the driver’s position indicates that it is ex-British Army) and wears Virginia antique license plates, meaning that it is registered and street legal. Capable of highway speeds, highly dent resistant, and difficult to break into and steal, this postwar classic two seater (commander/gunner and driver) is a tempting choice for use in today’s urban and suburban driving environment, with or without the Browning machine gun.