By on August 26, 2014


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.

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32 Comments on “Question Of The Day: Carros Blindados...”

  • avatar

    I would choose a car that could get me to the airport.

  • avatar

    And quickly ! .

    I like the blue Nissan Patrol .


  • avatar

    That Acura looks 10x better than any Acura made today, and in all details, from fit/finish, to mechanical reliability to durability, presence and austere elegance, is one of the Acuras that was truly worthy of a once Legendary marque.


    • 0 avatar

      You said it. I actually had one of these with a 5-speed manual for about 6 or 8 years and it was a fantastic car. Really fun to drive, easy to see out of, plenty of luxury (leather, sunroof, power everything, etc.) and so on, and rarely had any real problems with it. Sold it to a friend whose son drove it another 5-6 years with nary a problem until he hit a deer and messed it up beyond where it was worth paying to get it fixed. Why Acura doesn’t make a decent flagship sedan and call it “Legend” is beyond me.

      • 0 avatar

        Legend and Integra are both still synonymous with Acura, despite having been absent from their US line-up since ’96 and ’01, respectively.

        Both were great names, and I personally think they’d be wise to bring them back to great fanfare.

    • 0 avatar

      To me, it’s the lovely RWD proportions of it’s longitudinally mounted engine. The dash-to-axle ratio still strikes a pleasing silhouette almost 20 years later.

    • 0 avatar

      Totally agree. The Acura Legend was one of the finest V6 sedan/coupe I’ve ever driven. My mother had one and brings back great memories when I borrowed it as a teen. Everything about it was perfect. It’s too bad we don’t see cars like that anymore. Badly missed…

  • avatar

    Apparenty no matter where you go, a used car dealer will somehow have a listing for a Borrego…

    There are more of those on the market now than when they were new.

    • 0 avatar

      You could be right, who ever bought such a thing? It’s entirely possible no one ever did buy one new. They probably pushed the entire inventory into various fleet services for a while then dumped them at auction. The used car factory chugs along.

      • 0 avatar

        The unfortunate thing is that the Borrego actually a very competent vehicle. Kia introduced the BOF, RWD-based Mk.1 Sorento in MY2003. We had a 2003 Sorento EX with leather, heated seats, 4WD, etc…and it was a great car. Back in 2003, there was a huge craze for mid-sized BOF SUVs, least of all because of the tax deductions you could get on them. The Borrego would have made a really nice step up from the original truck-based Sorento. But when it debuted in 2009 (also featuring Kia’s first V8 as an option), it was too little, too late.

        • 0 avatar

          The Borrego is actually a right-sized BOF sport utility, imo.

          We always buy them when we can ’cause they’re good wholesale cars. At one point we actually had three in inventory – two on the lot and one in transit from Tallahassee Auto Auction. I tried my damndest to get all three present and accounted for at the same time so I could take a picture, but we sent the two ‘ready’ ones to Ocoee for the Manheim sale.

          That’s why a car nerd shouldn’t run a profit-centric dealership…

      • 0 avatar

        I think they sold decently in SK. Saw them often.

      • 0 avatar

        This is the perfect car for the [email protected] then…only sold CPO with 30k miles. Now for the brown paint and diesel swap.

  • avatar

    An armored pick up truck? I would had never thought of that one…

    • 0 avatar

      Why not ? gotta get those cocoa leaves to the processing shed somehow =8-) .

      Besides , this one is *really* low mileage ! .

      Maybe the Nor Cal. pot growers could use it .


      • 0 avatar

        “Maybe the Nor Cal. pot growers could use it .”

        Most of them buy American now. Largely because of the T100 — that truck destroyed decades of goodwill in, what, six model years?

        Nowdays in the hills it’s maybe 50/40/10 Ford/Chevy/Dodge. The Yotas you see are mostly old school pickups from the 80s and 90s, and not many of them — most of them are toys for people who live in town. I do know a guy with an 80s Datsun 4×4 that’s still a working hill truck.

        It’s a shame, because the modern fullsize trucks from the big three won’t take anything close to the abuse you could throw at an ’84 Toyota. I routinely see trucks less than ten years old just trashed.

        • 0 avatar

          ” I routinely see trucks less than ten years old just trashed.”

          Funny you should mention that ~

          I work in L.A. and often head across the river to Boyle Heights (East Los) for lunch and just to – day I once again saw a 5 year old BIG Dodge ram longbed V-8 pickup truck for $1,500 (!) .

          My truck is 42 years old and apart from the rust , is going strong.

          Yesterday as I was lunching down on Caesar Chavez Blvd. , an old guy (like me) rattled past in a stock 1936 Chevy pickup…

          My Son was unable to kill a first gen Toyota T100 .


        • 0 avatar

          I have heard a couple people mention T100s as being somehow bad? What is the deal with that?

          I have had two friends who have had them and absolutely loved them. In both cases they eventually had both generations, the bigger and the smaller. One of them used them in his blueberry business and treated them like mules. Otherwise I know nothing about them other than they predate the Tundra.

          • 0 avatar

            I think a lot of the flack received about the T100 was that it had the same engines as the Tacomas and 4Runners and that didn’t go over well. I know that the V6 was a 3.0 and think it was the same engine and tune as my 4Runner. That engine had a lot of bugs mostly having to do with coolant and head gaskets. I do not have enough miles that I have put on my Toyota to swear by it but it turned 200k yesterday. Those were not my miles so cannot say how it has done but it seems darned near new on the inside.

            Frankly I haven’t been able to understand it. I’m happy with my truck and if a T100 king cab had been available I would have gone there first.

    • 0 avatar

      Plenty of up armored Ford Super duty Crew Cabs running around in this neck of the woods. Hell ISIS probably has a whole fleet by now. I know every Iraqi Checkpoint I drove through in 2010 seemed to have one parked next to it with several Iraqi Police sleeping in the bed and a Russian Machine gun wrapped in a plastic bag mounted on the roof.

  • avatar

    The list of cars is inter3sting. Who wouldn’t want a bullet-resistant 2005 Mazda 3? Would be reasonable for my trips through Detroit.

  • avatar
    Car Ramrod

    I’d pick the ZJ Grand Cherokee. It would be rocking side to side over bumps too much for anyone to get a clean shot at me.

    I love that Legend. If I had a time machine, that’s the car I’d go back for. All the used ones down here are clapped out.

  • avatar

    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.

  • avatar

    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.

  • avatar

    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.

    • 0 avatar

      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.

  • avatar

    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!

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