A Vietnamese dad converts an old van into a tank for his son

A Vietnamese dad converts an old van into a tank for his son

A Vietnamese dad converts an old van into a tank for his son

A Vietnamese father spent hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars transforming an old van into a wooden tank for his kid, an odd hobby in a war-torn country.

Truong Van Dao trundles his three-year-old kid proudly in the turret of what was once a 16-seat minibus around his neighborhood in Bac Ninh province, east of the capital Hanoi, every weekend.

The wooden vehicle, based on a French EBR105 model and complete with a 2.8-meter-long replica gun, cost $11,000 to convert.

“My son and me find it more fun riding the tank, which has nothing to do with weapons nor war,” Dao told AFP.

“I only considered it as a normal car, renovated it into a tank to make it more interesting,” the 31-year-old carpenter added.


Dao and two colleagues spent three months converting the unused van into a tank.

He kept the basic engine and minibus floor, but changed the interior to accommodate the gears.

The carpenter had little trouble with the intricate wooden covering but ensuring that all eight wheels moved at the same time was a challenge.

“The most difficult part was how to make the four subordinate wheels run,” he said.

As a result, Dao and his son won’t be breaking any speed records.

The top speed is a sedate 25 kilometers (16 miles) per hour — any faster and the cable connecting the wheels will disconnect and they’ll be stuck.


The vehicles are forever linked to the historic event of communist tanks crashing through the gates of Saigon’s Independence Palace in 1975.

It marked the end of a violent period for Vietnam, which had seen conflict with France, the United States, and China.

Allies Russia and China provided tanks to the Vietnamese battling the Americans.

However, tanks are now more closely connected with children’s toys, as youngsters in Hanoi play with plastic versions every weekend.

“If all tanks in this world were the same as my tank, there would be no harm, just fun,” Dao said proudly.

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