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November 21, 2012

Drive A Tank Brings Out the General in Luxury Travelers

By Pardhasaradhi Gonuguntla

Big SandyMinneapolis, Minnesota—Reported by Elite Traveler, the private jet lifestyle magazine

A Chieftain Main Battle Tank is 61 tons of brute low torque power, designed to go over—or through—anything in its path. But unless you are in the army, there is only one place in the United States where you can drive such a beast: Drive A Tank, 90 minutes outside Minneapolis. In fact, it’s the only place civilians can drive any military tanks at all. Owner Tony Borglum has assembled a small army of monster vehicles, including the two flagship Chieftains, plus multiples of two different models of slightly smaller British Abbot tanks (one weighs “only” 15 tons). After a history and safety briefing, you’ll maneuver both of the Abbots around an obstacle course laid out through the company’s 20-acre site, over ruts, downed trees and through bodies of water and mud (“4-Star General” package, $549, includes firing three machine guns on an indoor range). The Chieftains are too big for the forest paths—instead you drive them over a car, or two if you splurge (“Crush A Car,” $549; “Double Car Crush,” $749). Drive A Tank offers private daily takeovers and there is a private airport nearby, Mankato Regional, where Borglum’s staff will gladly pick you up—in their stretch Hummer. Otherwise, the best hotel in Minneapolis is the award-winning Graves 601.

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