Question Of The Day: Carros Blindados

Derek Kreindler
by Derek Kreindler

A few days ago, Jalopnik posted a link to a classified site in Colombia that listed a bunch of armored cars for sale. These aren’t the MRAPs patroling the streets of Ferguson either. Hell, they’re even more discreet than the typical black Suburbans you see roaming around D.C.

In many parts of the world, those who are fortunate enough to afford a new (or relatively new) car are also the kind of people who are targeted for robbery, violent crimes or even kidnappings. An armored car is often a necessary requirement for daily life. The extra protection afford by the bulletproof glass and body panels can stop (but not completely hold off) an attack, and let you make a safe getaway. Other, more heavily armored vehicles have James Bond-esque features like smoke screens, sirens and gun ports.

These are often the Land Cruisers, Suburbans, Nissan Patrols and other SUVs that can withstand an AK-47. The body-on-frame construction is better able to withstand the added weight of the heavy armored body panels and glass. Smaller passenger cars are typically built to withstand attacks from a 9mm round (or a more powerful handgun round should it be required). A Renault Sandero appears to be a common type of lightly armored car in Colombia, although if you’re a badge snob, nearly twice that money will get you an Audi A1.

As much as I’d like a bulletproof Land Cruiser, this old Honda Legend is my ultimate choice. It looks old, and is therefore nondescript, a good quality to have in a dangerous environment. It appears to be nicely maintained, and it should be as reliable as any Honda product. And it represents the pinnacle of Honda’s mainstream passenger cars.

Check out the listings here and tell me what you’d pick.

Derek Kreindler
Derek Kreindler

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7 of 32 comments
  • Neb Neb on Aug 26, 2014

    So, does anybody know what the "shield" armor levels correspond to? I'm guessing it's the American INJ standard, which measures the armor in 'defeat levels'. Defeat levels are simply what kind of ordinance the car's armor can defeat: Lv 1: small handguns Lv 2: large handguns Lv 3: Rifles (including assault rifles) Lv 4: Sniper Rifles and the like with armor-piercing ammo Someone who knows more about guns than me please comment on this, but the bullets used in the defeat level are the ones you'd actually use to shoot at a armored target, IE full metal jacket rounds.

  • NeilM NeilM on Aug 26, 2014

    It's not enough to have armored protection; you still have to get away. I'd go for a hefty 4WD SUV with plenty of ground clearance on the basis that once people start firing at you it might be necessary to drive over any obstacle presented, including the attackers themselves. To me that says heavy SUV with a strong engine and bull-bars.

    • See 1 previous
    • 95_SC 95_SC on Aug 26, 2014

      All of ours have huge front and rear bumpers (you may need to get pushed through the kill zone) and they are all well scuffed up.

  • 55_wrench 55_wrench on Aug 26, 2014

    Interesting topic. I stumbled across an armored LS430 about a month ago on Craigslist. It was originally for sale in Oakland, asking price was 18K. They passed it to another dealer in Silicon Valley who raised the price to 22,6xx. Pristine condition, 57K, all dealer service records. it was originally sold in Southern California. I emailed the dealer who indicated the armor added about 1400 lbs, at which point I decided the extra weight would exact a harsh price on the tires, brakes, suspension and powertrain. Does anyone have first hand experience with one of these? It'd be interesting to hear what it's like living with one of these.

    • 95_SC 95_SC on Aug 26, 2014

      I roll in said unarmored Land Cruisers and other assorted vehicles here in Afghanistan. The one that seems to drive the most normal is the Excursion we have ironically. You wouldn't know it was any different than a normal diesel Excursion. The Land Cruisers feel pretty underpowered and definitely underbraked but then again my 80 series with no armor wasn't exactly a rocket and even with all the weight it is faster than any 3FE powered cruiser I have driven. Another unit has a 70 series Uparmored Land Cruiser Troop Carrier with a stick and it is a pretty solid all around conversion though. The stick helps make up for the extra heft I think, especially slowing it down. The whole treatment does take some interior space, though maybe the trucks get more armor than the cars. Quality varies pretty wildly based on who performed the conversion...they are not all created equally by any stretch. I think the better conversions pay as much attention to the drivetrain and suspension as the armor. My last trip I rode in a Suburban that felt like they had just slapped the armor on a stock truck and it would make you seasick. None of them will take a blast underneath worth a darned though but should you find yourself parked in the middle of the North Hollywood Shoot Out you'll get away fine.

  • Andrewa Andrewa on Aug 27, 2014

    Interesting you should mention underblasts...........How about a Rhodesian VW Kombi (known as a leopard) mine protected, ak47 proof and rpg7 proof with the optional expanded metal overarmour. Available from your local VW dealer in Salisbury WITH factory warranty!