The Ten Best Civilian-to-Military Conversions

Sometimes, the military has to work with what's available at that very moment. Here are ten fantastic civilian vehicles that were turned into war machines.


10.) RMS Queen Elisabeth/Queen Mary

The Ten Best Civilian-to-Military Conversions

The famous pair of Cunard Line ocean liners were transporting troops back and forth with their decks filled to the brim when the going got tough during the Second World War. Here's what pauljones has to say about that:

I've always found the conversion of ocean liners into troop ships to be nothing short of amazing, particularly Cunard's two queens, the Queen Mary and the Queen Elizabeth. These ships were built as massive, incredibly luxurious ways to cross the ocean at high speed for two thousand or so passengers at a time.

In mere months, they are converted into ships designed to carry ten thousands troops around the world at high speed. After it was all said and done, they were converted right back into luxury liners and served a long life.

Suggested By: pauljones, Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons


9.) M880 Commercial Utility Cargo Vehicles

The Ten Best Civilian-to-Military Conversions

Otherwise known as the Dodge W-200. The Scrambler says it can be done:

The most ubiquitous of them all, at least in the U.S. has to be the military's line of Commercial Utility Cargo Vehicles (CUCV), which started with the M880, otherwise known as a Dodge W-200, which were sold to the military by Chrysler in the 1970s.

The M880 series was replaced in the early 80's by the M1000 Series, supplied this time by Chevrolet and basically a 3/4 ton long bed 4x4 with a 6.2 Diesel. Both versions were offered in various configurations; pickup, ambulance, communications vehicle, with the addition of a Blazer version from Chevrolet.

Suggested By: The Scrambler says it can be done:, Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons


8.) Toyota Hilux

The Ten Best Civilian-to-Military Conversions

Speaking of pickups, when it comes to guerrilla warfare or rebels, it's Toyota or nothing. And rockets of course.

Suggested By: JohnnyWasASchoolboy, Photo Credit: AP


7.) Cessna Skymaster

The Ten Best Civilian-to-Military Conversions

When the US Army needed to replace the aging Cessna 0-1 Bird Dog, they stayed loyal and switched to Skymaster O-2As. With rockets as an option.

Suggested By: JayHawkJake, Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons


6.) Rolls-Royce Armored Car

The Ten Best Civilian-to-Military Conversions

First World War or the Second, it doesn't matter. 4age20vsilvertop:

A Rolls-Royce 40/50hp with 12mm steel armor and a .303 Vickers machine gun mounted on top.

Used from 1914 until 1944.

Suggested By: 4age20vsilvertop, Photo Credit: Simon Q


5.) Boeing P-8 Poseidon

The Ten Best Civilian-to-Military Conversions

The last time I flew with a 737, it couldn't blow up a submarine. Poor choice of airline I guess.

Suggested By: macanamera, Photo Credit:Kurt Torster


4.) Citroën G.H.A.N.1

The Ten Best Civilian-to-Military Conversions

You know the French. Also, we have a tip for Chris Harris in case he has to deal with Algerians.

Suggested By:_Mécanicien, Photo Credit: chemin-de-memoire-parachutistes.org


3.) Kawasaki KLR650

The Ten Best Civilian-to-Military Conversions

The Navy and the Marines got a Kawasaki bike with a diesel engine developed by Hayes Diversified Technologies instead of the DOHC gasoline unit the Japanese had in mind. What vibrations?

Suggested By: TheRaceTrackIsMyChurch, Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons


2.) Douglas DC-3

The Ten Best Civilian-to-Military Conversions

The DC-3 was the essential prewar airliner that became the essential wartime transport only to continue being a very important member of the civilian fleet after the war. Iconic in every way.

Suggested By: Patrick Frawley, Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons


1.) The War Camaro

The Ten Best Civilian-to-Military Conversions

I see a Jason Statham movie coming up. Mark Linde:

The Chevrolet Camaro known as the "War Camaro" owned and used by the Dane Helge Meyer is certainly up there.

350cui, 220hp with NOS. Infrared-lights and infrared-absorbing paint, completely blacked-out rear- and side windows (he had to open them electrically to see out) and the tires are filled with sealant to move on at least a while when shot. It also has an armor-plate behind the front window.

Why did he need the car you ask? To bring medicine and other much needed supplies directly to the people in need during the Balkan War in the 90s. He was shot at by every side during his "missions". The guy is truly brave and the car is stunning.

If you speak German, here's more. Google translate works well too.

Suggested By: Mark Linde

Welcome back to Answers of the Day - our daily Jalopnik feature where we take the best ten responses from the previous day's Question of the Day and shine it up to show off. It's by you and for you, the Jalopnik readers. Enjoy!

Top Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons