44-year-old Shaun Mitchell, from West Lynn, Norfolk is a newspaper delivery man with an unusual passion for military vehicles. He likes them so much he put together a regular fleet of tanks, anti aircraft guns, jeeps and other vehicles, right in his backyard.
Shaun became obsessed with military vehicles when he was 18 years old, and he remembers the first one he saved money for was a World War 2 Austin Champ army jeep. Since then, this self-taught mechanic has bought and restored an impressive collection of vehicles that includes tanks, tankettes and anti-aircraft guns. He stores most of them in his back garden and when the weather allows it, he drives them through his local village.
”I get a thrill from working on something that’s totally different and the adrenalin pumps when you drive them out onto the road. It’s the smell and the whole atmosphere, people look at you and wave, everyone is interested in the vehicle.” Shaun says about his passion, but while his friends and family approve of his unusual hobby, because they get to ride around in his military vehicles, he admits it has affected his love life in a negative way. Because of his obsession with military vehicles, he had to end a 12 year relationship and is now looking for a girl who actually likes tanks as much as he does.
Shaun’s impressive collection of military vehicles includes an 8.1 tonne street-legal Sabre tank that reaches 50 mph, a WWII 1945 GMS Bolster Truck, a Polsten 20 mm anti-aircraft gun, a 1929 Carden-loyd machine-gun carrier, a Self-Propelled Abbot fighting vehicle and two Ferret Scout cars. Asked about how much they’re all worth, the collector said the Sabre alone is worth around $32,000.
”I don’t drink or smoke, I have no bad habits apart from the compulsion to buy military vehicles.” claims Shaun, who works as a newspaper delivery man, but spends two days a week restoring other military vehicles for a local tractor dealership.