The 10 Most Badass Military Vehicles Ever Made, As Chosen By You

While it's a shame that we live in a world that needs weapons of war, military vehicles are nevertheless intriguing beasts that draw the attention of more petrolheads than you might think. Here are the coolest land-based (non-tank) military machines as chosen by you!

Remind me later

1. Fennek

Suggested by Rico van Wijk
Suggested by Rico van Wijk

Named after the fennec fox, this curiously low and wide looking armoured reconnaissance vehicle is in service for both the German and Dutch armies. It can be fitted with a variety of weapons, from a 12.7mm machine gun to Rafael Spike anti-tank missiles.

2. Volkswagen Schwimmwagen

Suggested by officer_drift220
Suggested by officer_drift220

It’s maybe not the most badass machine here, but how can you not love something with a name that literally translates to swimming car? Over 14,000 of these things were built between 1942-1944, with the Type 166 version being crowned the most produced amphibious car ever made.

It was widely used by German forces during World War II, where its operators could rely on a propellor which - when lowered - was coupled to the rear-mounted 1.1-litre engine.

3. Marauder

Suggested by broken piston
Suggested by broken piston

Thanks no doubt to its appearance on Top Gear a few years ago, the South African-built Marauder was a popular choice on the original community thread. Weighing up to 13,000kg and powered by a six-cylinder diesel engine, it’s a rather good place when the going gets explosive.

It has double-skinned armour to reduce the kinetic energy that can be passed into the cabin when something outside goes bang. It can take an explosion up to the equivalent of 8kg of TNT under the hull, and 14kg under the wheels, which was something that Richard Hammond rather successfully demonstrated, by trying to blow one up.

4. Caspian Sea Monster

Suggested by Test User

We wanted to stick mostly to land vehicles for this list, but since this Soviet ‘ekranoplan’ has vast reserves of badassery, we’re giving it a place here. It’s not a plane, nor a boat; more of an odd mix of the two. It’s a ground effect vehicle, using a wing that generates a cushion of air for the craft to ride on, enabling it to skim over the water.

It was able to carry far more cargo than a conventional aircraft - unburdened by any need to properly take off and gain altitude - and significantly faster than a ship, capable of hitting 300mph thanks to no less than ten jet engines. However, it was too large and unwieldy for its own good, and never progressed from its lengthy experimental period.

It eventually crashed, unrecoverable from the ocean depths thanks to its sheer weight. However, a smaller version did eventually see service in the Soviet military.

5. HDT Storm SRTV

Suggested by Matt Williams
Suggested by Matt Williams

Sort of like a real-life Halo Warthog, the SRTV (Search and Rescue Tactical Vehicle) is designed to be air-dropped just outside enemy anti-aircraft range, from where it goes behind enemy lines to retrieve crew from shot-down aircraft. Sounds like a jolly stressful job, but the SRTV has a few things to help make US Pararescue teams’ jobs easier. Notably, a 430hp engine to propel a relatively modest 1700kg vehicle, plus long travel suspension and chunky tyres.

As suggester Matt Williams points out, it’s pretty much a “weaponised military trophy truck”. It can fit aboard a variety of aircraft, including the Lockheed C-130 ‘Hercules’, Boeing C-17 Globemaster III, and the CH-47 Chinook.

6. Cougar 6x6

Suggested by hardy17
Suggested by hardy17

One of the biggest enemies faced by the coalition troops in Iraq and Afghanistan is a hidden one: improvised explosive devices, or IEDs. The answer to this threat comes in the form of the Cougar, which looks especially monstrous in 6x6 form. There are variations of it serving in the British Army, including the Wolfhound.

 The 10 Most Badass Military Vehicles Ever Made, As Chosen By You - Car Throttle

Part of what makes the Cougar/Wolfhound so successful against IEDs is its V-shaped hull, which deflects the force of the explosion away from the vehicle. And successful it is: see the image above of the stricken US Army Cougar? All occupants survived after a 130-200kg IED went off underneath it, and in fact the soldiers in question were back out serving the next day. Very few soldiers have been killed by IEDs while riding in these things, so that sounds like a job well done.

7. Volvo TP21

Suggested by William Westin
Suggested by William Westin

If you’re going to convert a civilian vehicle for military use, a Volvo is a pretty good starting point, isn’t it? Using the PV800 Series taxi as a base, Volvo created the TP21, an off-roading military communications vehicle for the Swedish Armed Forces built from 1953-1958.

8. BvS 10 ‘Viking’

Suggested by me
Suggested by me

There’s something inexplicably cool about twin-chassis armoured vehicles, and the BvS 10 (or ‘Viking’, as it’s known to UK forces) is a rather fine example. Built by BAE Systems’ Swedish subsidiary Hägglunds, the Viking consists of a 2.2-metre, five-tonne front car, and 2.1-metre, 3.5-tonne rear car. It’ll go through pretty much any terrain you stick in front of it, and is fully amphibious.

9. Humvee

Suggested by Iancu
Suggested by Iancu

It may be due to retire soon, and has already been replaced in some capacities with MRAP (Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected) vehicles like the Cougar, but its 31 years of service have made it one of the most iconic military vehicles ever built. Well, Arnie helped that a little bit.

Over 280,000 have been built, the vast majority of which were scrapped after coming out of service. However, law changes not so long ago mean you can now buy your very own ex-military Humvee. Tempting, no?

10. Willys Jeep

Suggested by ShadowMerc250
Suggested by ShadowMerc250

What’s more iconic than a Humvee? A Willys MB ‘Jeep’, that’s what. As with the Schwimmwagen, the old Willys perhaps isn’t the most badass looking military vehicle, but the vital role it played in the Second World War - and the influence it had on civilian cars post-war - means it more than deserves a place here.

The Willys company produced almost 360,000, with Ford producing a further 277,000 under license. Ironically, the now iconic vertical slat grille design still used by Jeep today was actually developed by Ford for its ‘GPW’ version of the MB. It used fewer materials and was cheaper to manufacture that the welded flat-iron item used on the original MBs, prompting Willys to adopt the design.

Thanks to all those to contributed to the original community question!