As well as classic cars, military vehicles are hugely appealing to car enthusiasts everywhere – many spend a great deal of time and energy making them road legal. At Carole Nash we specialise in policies for military vehicles and provide cover for a variety of models.
One of the most popular examples is the Daimler Ferret Armoured Car, and we will be taking a look at the development history and advancement of this British armoured fighting vehicle.
Produced by Daimler between 1952-1971, the Ferret armoured car was built for reconnaissance purposes, and was more commonly referred to as the Ferret scout car. Regiments in the British Army, RAF and Commonwealth all made use of the vehicle.
It all started during 1947. The British Army published a requirement for a new light recce and armoured reconnaissance vehicle. Due to their past success with the Dingo scout car, which was widely used throughout WWII, Daimler were awarded the development contract.
In June 1950 the first prototype of the Ferret, the Mark 1, was completed. It shared similarities to the Dingo, but had many scaled-up improvements. It was larger and heavier, able to house a fully enclosed fighting compartment and central driver position. It was even sturdy enough to carry weighty loads, like AT missiles.
After many trials and some corrections, the vehicle was accepted into military service by 1952, as the FV701C.
Advancement to Mark II And Beyond
The Mark II was specifically designed to mount a .30in Browning light machine gun, in a traversable turret that required only one crew member to operate – something the lightly armed Mark 1 model couldn’t accommodate.
The re-design offered more effective crew protection and provided better cover for the otherwise exposed gunner. However, it couldn’t house as many crew members inside and due to the turret, the height of the vehicle was raised, making the vehicle more conspicuous.
More than 4400 Ferrets, including 16 Marks, sub-models and numerous variants, were manufactured between 1952-1962. They were sturdy and agile enough to tackle rough, rugged off-road terrain, as well as being compact and quick enough for use in urban environments.
Whilst the Ferret has been retired from service in the British Army, it still proves popular with many private collectors due to its affordable price, small size and the large supply of spare parts available.