The Ferret Scout Car is an armored and turreted war machine designed in the 1940s. More than 4,000 copies in some 60 variants are said to have been made, and few of them are even still in military service. But only one has a Chevy V8, long-travel shocks and a freaking winch cannon. Oh, and a racing champion at the wheel.
Behold Toyo Tires’ new advertising platform: a 1959 Ferret built by Action Vehicle Engineering out of Chatsworth, California. That’s the same crew that turned an X-Wing into a car and helped bring some of your favorite Hot Wheels cars to life on huge-scale loop-de-loop tracks.
It looks like the army rig has basically been gutted and slapped onto the underpinnings of a desert racing vehicle; those super-long King shocks are pretty much the same stuff you might see on something running the Baja 1000.
The middle wheels, normally just spare tires on a mil-spec Ferret, can be activated by hydraulic motors to help climb really hairy obstacles.
A rear-mounted Chevy LS provides the power. And soundtrack.
But clearly the Ferret’s coolest feature is the grabbling-hook winch cable. It actually fires a hook out of the turret, which latches on to a presumably strong surface and allows the Ferret to pull itself up over something bigger than its massive wheels can handle.
At least, that’s how it’s made to look in the video. Hard to imagine such a system could actually be deployed safely, so for now we might chalk that scene up to Hollywood magic.
You might recognize Toyo-sponsored driver BJ Baldwin from his Recoil videos. He also has a few desert championships to his name and is arguably one of the toughest guys racing off-road right now. He’s one of very few drivers that can finish (and win) an entire Baja 1000 without handing off the helm.
Curiously Toyo is remarkably vague about the Ferret’s specifications, even the tire size, which have to be 40 inches or more. I dropped Action Vehicle Engineering a line to see if we can find out any more specifics, and we’ll revisit if we learn anything else especially cool. Or if they let me drive it.