By Frazer Randalls

THE WORLD’S only stretched tracked vehicle - the incredible “tank limo” - has been built by wielding two tanks together.

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Videographer / director: Marcus Cooper

Producer: Frazer Randalls, Ruby Coote  

Editor: Tom Buckman

The incredible vehicle was designed by Nick Mead, the owner of the tank driving experience company Tanks A Lot, based in Spring Farm, Northamptonshire, with the help of welder extraordinaire Nigel Smith.

They designed the vehicle by welding together two former British Army FV432 APC personnel carriers with an original two-man turret of the FV432 used in the Berlin Brigade.

Nick told Barcroft TV: “I got two great big girders, put them on blocks of wood, and then got the two halves of tanks, put them on top of the girders and kept raising the girders until they were off the ground.

“I then knocked it around with the digger bucket until it was lined up.

“After I put a small bend on it just so it’s slightly ‘banana’ - that means it's always slightly pulling towards the middle of the road.”

He added: “We didn't spend an awful lot on it.

“But to do it now would cost you more. If someone said, ‘Can you make me one?’, it would cost 70 thousand.”

Nick became a tank enthusiast about three decades ago.

He remembered how he came up with an unusual tank driving business idea: “I bought these two very nice tanks.

“The idea was to keep one, sell one.

“But before I even took delivery  a company asked if they could hire one.

“I charged them more than half of the value of the tank for one day.

“And they were delighted and immediately re-booked both tanks on the following day.

“I could see it being a business opportunity right from the beginning.”

Tank Limo is about 22ft long, 6 foot wide and weighs around 17 tons, and can reach a maximum speed of 35mph an hour.

Nick said: “On British roads, you're only allowed to do 20 miles an hour with a rubber-padded truck, and five miles an hour with a pure steel track.

“I have been faster on private roads. I've had it up to 35.”

He added: “It’s a really nice vehicle to drive on the road.

“And it makes you feel a little bit more stable, a bit more in control. Whether you really are I don't know, and that's why I keep my speed down.

“When I see a car coming towards me I do slow down.

“I don't want to kill anyone.”

The vehicle is ideal for arriving in style at film premieres, promo’s, stag and hen parties, nights out, weddings and commercial campaigns.

It is also used for driving experiences and sightseeing tours.

Nick said: “Here at Tanks A Lot, we do everything from just about birth to death.

“We started off with kids parties. I've done christenings, we've done stag parties, corporate days, birthdays and hen parties. We've done everything.”

The vehicle can fit up to 10 people who can enjoy the comfortable seats in the plush rear section of the hull and the views from the bulletproof windows.

Todd Chamberlain, a tank commander, said that the tank driving experience is in high demand even though the starting price for a day hire is from £1600.

Inside the vehicle there is a heater, windows are mounted on the sides of the hulls, with the DVD monitors installed and it could even fit a jacuzzi.

However, they admitted that the maintenance of Tank Limo is costly.

Todd told Barcroft TV: “Maintenance on Tank Limo is akin to maintenance on any bit of heavy armour.

“It’s a constant battle, every time we think we’ve sorted that out something else crops up.

“It’s NATO. NATO requires lots of maintenance.”

Asked to describe Tank Limo in three words, Nick said: “It’s big, impressive and noisy,” with Todd adding: “I can describe it in two words - rolling thunder.”