Since building the Doomsday Daily Driver, I’ve had a lot of fun talking to people about what they feel might be a good vehicle for the apocalypse. So, I thought I’d try to cover those ideas in this article… because it’s fun.
Of course, a lot depends on what kind of apocalypse we’re talking about and how far into the apocalypse we are. Are we going to be building and driving a Mad Max vehicle? Or are we going to be learning how to care for a burro?
I see the Mad Max vehicle as an early apocalypse set of wheels. A means of transport dependent on the availability of fuel, of course, but also something needing parts and some skill to keep running. It seems like most of these vehicles have some kind of blade on the front, a cow catcher to get through roadblocks or knock zombies out of the way. No one needs a zombie in their radiator.
The great thing about Mad Max is that you can start with anything. Got a classic motorcycle with a sidecar? You’re in. Do you have a ’95 Impala? Slap some twenty-inch rims on that puppy with some snow and mud tires and jack it up with a lift kit and you’re stylin’. How ’bout getting out the welder and splicing the front end of a Toyota Corolla to the rear end of a model T pick-up? Hey… there are no rules when you know how to weld.
These are fun ideas, and in the right kind of apocalypse where there is plenty of available food and gas so you aren’t fighting over scraps, you might have time to build something wild.
But let’s get real…
Most apocalypse… and most of us… are more inclined to require something already available.
So, let’s go shopping…
In an apocalypse that decimates human population without affecting infrastructure, we take our old ride down to the dealership for a swap. Your preferred dealership may vary.
Do we end up with a brand new vehicle? Because that’s something to consider. Most brand new vehicles have a bug or two.
What I’m looking for is a lightly used repossession. Give me something that some guy spent too much on and lost it to high payments, but he had it long enough to work out the bugs. Five thousand miles or so. Something that a guy with too much testosterone and a light wallet changed to fit his image of a monster truck. Not too much monster truck, but just enough.
I’m looking for a truck with a big fuel tank because fill-ups may be scarce. A small lift would be fine, but not a big lift. A lot of big lifts create steering and suspension problems, and who in their right mind wants to carry a ladder to get into their vehicle every time they mount up? A winch with a heavier custom front bumper would be nice. A towing package would be a good addition.
Give me a truck with narrow tires instead of those big gas eaters. Narrow tires are better in snow and light mud, and I’m not inclined to try going through heavy mud anyway if there are no tow trucks to call. The techy stuff isn’t going to be much advantage, so a light option package sounds good.
If I can’t find the truck I want on the used lot, many dealerships keep lightly optioned construction vehicles in the back. Tough trucks with basic radios and rubber floor mats. Four-wheel drive, A/C, and an automatic would be fine.
Next, I go find a place to add some equipment. I put an auxiliary fuel tank in the bed. A shell on the back, and a portable generator to power gas pumps that have lost power. Camping gear and weapons… and a large tank for potable water. Also, some backup systems for purifying water.
One decision to make is whether I go with the full-sized behemoth truck or something that gets better fuel mileage. If I’m inclined to put down a lot of miles, crossing the country to join family or something, this could be a critical decision.
Which brings up an interesting thought. If I’m going to be crossing the country, why look for gas stations? Maybe run down to the local fuel depot where gas is stored and find a fuel truck? One of the smaller variety with a tank on the back of a cab sharing a single frame and running gear? Carry your fuel with you.
But let’s consider another scenario.
We like where we are and don’t expect to travel a lot. Maybe a Subaru Forester would work well. Good mileage, four-wheel drive, some capacity for hauling, and reliability. Hunkering down in place can be the best option. Once the grid goes down, we’ll still need a portable generator to pump gas.
So, the early candidates for my garage are a big truck, a Subaru Forester, and a big fuel truck with a large, full tank.
Hey, I still have room…
A moped, a big Harley, and a side-by-side ATV are all part of the menu. Besides, all three will fit in a single parking space.
Last… a fantasy ride (or two?). In the apocalypse there are no rules. No one to say you can’t have what you want. So, a Lamborghini Aventador is certainly in my future. And probably a Ferrari, and a Cobra, and…
Drive ’em like you stole ’em…