Live Auctions

A Literal Tank In The Barn!

When talking about some of America’s heftier cars, we often say things like, “what a tank” or “it’s built like a tank”. Well, in the case of David C’s recent barn sighting, it’s built like a tank because it is a tank! This past weekend, he stopped by the open house for the Americans in Wartime Museum. They have a large barn where they store equipment that is waiting to be restored. It’s not your typical find, but what a cool piece of history!

From David – The picture was taken at the storage and restoration facility of a new museum they are trying to get going. They had their yearly open house this weekend. It’s an awesome place just 40 miles or so South of Washington, DC. Our thanks to David for sharing his sighting with us. If you come across any cool or unusual vehicles stashed in a barn, garage or shed, be sure to snap a photo or two and send them our way!


  1. JW

    Is that a American tank, I ask because the “X” looks kind of odd to me.

    • Phil

      I believe it’s an M4 Sherman tank. Not certain which series but it definitely looks like a US M4 tank.

      • Dan

        It’s a late model Sherman used by Israel. Probably a m50 or m51

      • Phil

        Thanks Dan and johnincm for refining the model. So I looked that up on Google and came up with a auctionsamerica website which auctioned off The Littlefield collection and they had almost the exact same tank there which they sold for $239,000. At least we know what a good running version goes for. I’d love a tank but maybe an old Russian T34-85 is probably more in my price range. You can still get those under $50K but then all the gauges are in Russian so I’d be lost. Well and it probably wouldn’t fit in my garage either and then the neighborhood association would …….. I can only dream that I would one day get my own tank and have to worry about what the neighbors thought. :-)

      • CliffG Member

        Phil: I think that it would fit in your garage if you get a running start…

      • Andy

        As for the neighborhood association… Just get inside, fire that bad boy up, turn the turret in their general direction, and say “you talkin to me?”

  2. DonC

    So…..what’s the price?

  3. johnincm

    Looks to be Israeli markings on a late M-50 or M-51 Sherman.

  4. JW

    Thanks guys for the military education.

  5. Howard A Member

    “Tanks” a lot. Just the thing to settle that neighbor dispute.

  6. Nick

    The vehicle beside the tank is a Volvo 903 from the late 60’s

  7. Christopher Wenz

    Dan and Johnincm are correc. IDF surplus. The “X 4” marking looks familiar.
    The gun barrel is longer than a WW2 issue 75 or the 76 “Firefly”. That could be a German gun like an 88. The IDF used a lot of surplus stuff after the war. I’ve seen photos of German Me-109s flown by the Isrealis.

    • P T Cheshire

      The main gun is a French 105mm, power is a Cummins V8 Diesel. Front line service until 1973, secondary service until 2010

    • JunkFixer

      The Israeli planes were the Czechoslovakian built Avia S199 “Mezek” (‘Mule’ in Czech). The aircraft were built from left over Nazi parts and pieces after the war. The aircraft did use the Messerschmitt Bf 109G airframe, but any similarity to an original 109 stopped there. The supply of the universally excellent Daimler-Benz DB 605 engines was soon exhausted, so the Jumo 211F engine and propeller, pirated from the Heinkel He 111 bomber, was grafted in place. This was not a happy combination.

      The aircraft were difficult to fly to the point of being very dangerous. The big, fat-bladed bomber propeller made the handling of the aircraft very poor. A pilot seriously risked death on every take off and landing due to the instability of the aircraft and the 109’s skinny undercarriage. Additionally the DB 605 engine featured a centrally mounted machine gun that fired thru the propeller center hub. This wasn’t possible with the Jumo engines, so a pair of MG 131 guns were mounted on the cowl. An interrupter gear mechanism was added but often didn’t function correctly. This resulted in several Israeli pilots shooting off their own propeller blades.

      At the time Czechoslovakia was the only country willing to sell the Israelis fighter aircraft as they were desperate for cash. Israel originally purchased 26 S199s and took delivery of 24 aircraft. They entered service in Israel on 29 May, 1948 and were retired by the end of December the same year.

  8. Billy Banger

    I guess the cheaper option would be to go out to the eastern bloc and go looking for a submerged one. There is a lot of military equipment that got lost in swamps and bogs on both sides of the war. you might find this you-tube clip interesting.
    Cheers. Billy.

  9. sluggo

    Cool stuff,,, one of the local gun clubs has an Annual Machine gun festival and some member often brings out a tank and you can rent any of the guns including the tank and shoot a necked down shell but its costly. There is Youtube videos. Look for Albany Oregon gun club fundraiser.
    But I know a guy a few minutes from my house who was a collector of Military vehicles and member of a club for that. He was killed in a tank like this during a live fire misfire incident along with another guy. Old military stuff can be dangerous.

    But over in Iraq there is literally tons and tons of old military vehicles you can buy for next to nothing. Shipping is another story. But I have a friend who went over and worked on salvage operations and EOD and land mine work. A soviet tank could be bought for $100. Shipping to the US??? Not to mention the federal permits to bring it in are prohibitive.

    But there is still WW2 stuff that still surfaces in North Africa,,
    But the granddaddy of all stories in my opinion is the story of a local entrepreneur who bought a B17 and crashed several before successfully getting one back to Oregon and mounting it over his Gas Station and restaurant. And yes,,, the 50 cals were still in place when he bought them.
    Whole story here. Worth a read.


    • DonC

      Hey Sluggo,
      My Dad flew a B17 in WWII. At 19 he was bombing Germany. Bigger brass ones than I’ll ever have.

    • glen

      What the #@$% is a machine gun festival?

      • Dan

        You’ve never been?

      • Glen

        I’m Canadian, I don’t think their legal here. I hope not.

      • sluggo

        Well Glen, fortunately not ALL Canadians think that way, I served with a number of Canadian troops and they were just as gung ho to blow stuff up as any other guys I served with.

        But it always annoys me when people project their own neuroses and phobias onto the masses.

      • glen

        Sluggo, sorry if having a different opinion than you ,annoys you, also, I have no problem with troops having such weapons, just not the general public. No offence was intended!

      • Burzel

        In 1998 a “machinegun festival” was held in Virden, Manitoba, Canada with the full cooperation of local RCMP. Local collectors/museums came out with their MGs (all legally privately owned) and visitors could shoot whatever they wanted for the cost of the ammo. One fellow blew off a 100-round belt of .50 BMG at $4/round. There were reenactors and military vehicles there as well. It was great fun but will never happen here in Canada again.

      • sluggo

        Burzel, great story about that event in Canada. Its also noteworthy people did it in a safe and positive manner. Its not about celebrating destruction or violence but about education.
        I support a number of gun clubs and events locally and regionally when I can as all of them incorporate education, safety, and training into their events.
        I am a supporter and volunteer at a museum complex here in Oregon (12 museums on site) and while we dont yet have one thats specific for guns (Yet) passing on history and education cannot be stressed enough,.
        There is a mentality if group think can be brainwashed into Guns equals =Bad then everything is going to be okay.

        The truth is, any competent mechanic or aspiring machinist can build and manufacture a gun. Full auto, semi, or some of the most lethal/dangerous are the combos (Shotgun shell and rifle round)

        I have demoed and proved you can build a functionally lethal zip gun in 15-20 mins out of strike anywhere matches and a ball point pen. I have friends who have built functional firearms just for the challenge and fun. downloaded the plans off the internet.

    • Pete

      That is a great story on that B-17 Sluggo. Nice to know they are saving that plane. Of the few flyable B-17’s left I know that they will rent you a seat for a short flight at some of the airshows around the country. Wouldn’t that be a hoot to be able to ride in one? Oshkosh usually has those guys every year, as well as other ACFT’s that rent rides. Preserving history is where it’s at.

      • Loco Mikado

        From the time I have memories I remember The Bomber well have ridden and driven past it since I can remember.(DOB 1951). Drove by the site it used to sit on and felt a part of my past was uprooted and gone. Although I applaud the fact it is getting restored and future generations will be able to look and enjoy it in person. I guess it is no different than restoring cars, locomotives, ships & boats, machinery or other items of interest.

  10. Howard A Member

    Ok, here’s the deal on this tank. The “X” is not an “X”, but the Hebrew letter “Aleph” ( 1st letter in the Hebrew alphabet) and I’ve seen “Aleph” 1, 2, and 4, so it must have been a division of the military. These saw duty in the Six Days war( 1967) and the Yom Kipper war ( 1973) and were retired in the late ’70’s, with some being given to a S. Lebanese ally of Israel.These have sold at auction for $3-$350 g’s.

    • Howard A Member

      There’s more, apparently, when used as a military symbol, Aleph ( or Aluph) means “General” or proven ability or prowess in victorious combat, or #1, hence the 1st letter, (like A1) It can also mean “Champion”.

      • Benni

        The marking means that the tank is the first (Alef) tank of the 4th platoon
        Then came Beth, Gimmel and Dalet (Like B,C,D in Hebrew)

  11. Todd

    I’m glad they chocked the track to prevent it from rolling away!

  12. Rob

    Always dreamed of owning a tank for my daily commute. It would come in handy for disposing of the inconsiderate clowns texting in traffic. BOOM!

    • Joe Howell

      No guns required, just crush as needed to clear your lane. All kidding aside it was maybe 10-15 years ago someone stole a US Army tank from a base and went on a destructive rampage running over cars and destroying property. At one point he tried to knock down a bridge overpass onto pursuing police cars. Luckily no one was killed but the guy in the tank. When he beached himself on a Jersey wall he was stuck. The cops breached the hatch and a cop shot him. Good thing he didn’t have any cannon or machine gun ammo on board or that could have gotten ugly really fast.

      • Rob

        I remember that. Yeah, if that thing was armed it would have been a disaster.

      • Pete

        I had a buddy who was stationed at Ft Carson that got summarily drunk as a cooter and thought it was a swell idea to take a M-60 tank and drive it around town back in the 80’s late one night. Well amazingly enough the MP’s and local police did not agree with that bright idea he had and he found himself in the stockade the next morning. 30 days later he was a civilian. He actually caused no damage on his late night road trip thank goodness.

        In regard to shooting machine guns or tanks, There is an annual shoot at Knob Creek in Ohio every year, might even be 4 times a year now. You can rent just about any kind of machine gun and fire as much ammo through it as you can afford. But feeding some of them can get right expensive. For example a mini gun like they mount on helicopters can burn up 5000 rounds a minute so in 5 minutes that’s about $10,000 bucks unless you get a deal on surplus ammo. LOL. You can search that on Youtube pretty interesting stuff.

  13. rustylink

    I go to this every year (the tank is a Sherman) and it’s pretty awesome to see the armor they roll out – lots of Soviet Era, Modern German (60’s – 70″s), Vietnam and vintage WWII armor. They also have demonstrations, vehicles, etc. They set up “German Camps” etc. and have many volunteers in WW2 era uniforms.

  14. Nick

    I wonder how “open carry” applies to this?

  15. Alford Pouse Member

    Best Job I Ever Had! LOL 20yrs of tanks

    • Rick McKee

      Hi Alford where was this picture taken? I ask because it looks like the rubber plantations around Hue Viet Nam in the background circa 1966.

      • Alford Pouse Member

        Rick McKee believe it or not that’s over in Germany. M-60 series tanks. Trying to recall if it was Harvey Barracks in Kitzigen or Sullivan Barracks in Mannheim. We had local training areas in both locations. Leaning to Mannheim. Memories not that great since I got my Medicare Card! LOLOL

  16. S. Brodie

    Father drove tanks in WW2 along with other military equipment. His official title was driver mechanic 1st class served with the Canadian Calgary Tank regiment. He said the worst thing about tanks back then was that when they were hit they burned as they were all gasoline powered.

  17. RoselandPete

    Phil, If you ever got a tank, I think it’s the neighbors who should worry what YOU thought. :)

  18. Cattoo Cattoo Member

    My great uncle was a tank commander during WWII and during the Battle of the Bulge had three escapes from Sherman tanks that were shot out from under him. He let my brothers and I feel the shrapnel that was still imbedded near his spine and some other pieces that were slowly working their way out of his shoulder. Seems the last tank had a panzerfaust fired at it. Being exposed in the copula considering the multitasking goi on he managed to drop his comm hear and he bent over to retrieve it just as the explosive detonated above him.

  19. Chris

    This is exactly what I need to rid the left lane of old farts driving white Crown Vics with Florida plates and going 20mph under the speed limit. God it would be so much fun……

  20. sluggo

    A guy I know Marty Sabba was head organizer for one of the international BSA owners rallys (Motorcycles-But BSA also made guns and marketing was the bikes were made like a gun)
    So each year is somewhere globally but that year was East coast USA. Being the whole UK gun connection and many attendees were from the UK or Europe Marty thought it would be cool to arrange a trip to a firearms manufacturer near the rally site. Almost every attendee signed up for that fun.
    Big tour, history lesson and then a chance to rent guns and fire them at the range. (Winchester or Smith & wesson type of place). Problem was nobody was willing to leave. Marty was like “Guys,, we have a catered Dinner, lets go! Those guys warmed up those credit cards and were having too much fun.
    It took a mammoth effort to get them back on the bus. Many bailed on the next days rides and events and went BACK to the Gun manuf. so they could go do more shooting.
    So the gun company was over run with UK and Europeans for days blasting away. People kind of forgot it was supposed to be about Motorcycles.

  21. BMW4RunninTundra

    In a place right outside of Blue Ridge GA, you can drive, crush cars, and fire ammo from tanks! (they also have/had other large equipment – excavators, bull dozers, etc etc) I have not done it personally, but have heard that it is quite the experience.

    Take a look:

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