Shane Allen has always had a love of military vehicles since he was a child.
He first fell in love with tanks when his dad brought him to an Air Corps Open Day in Baldonnell when he was aged just 6.
He promised himself he would own a tank one day and that dream became a reality recently when he bought a Scorpion CVRT light tank.
Marine engineer Shane, aged 36, is originally from Cobh in Co Cork but is settled in Raphoe in Co Donegal, where he is married to Nicola.
Now fully taxed, insured and NCT’d, Shane is planning on popping into the local town just three miles away in the tank if he finds himself short of a pint of milk.
“I’ve already had it out on the road a couple of times and it’s turned a lot of heads. For me, I’ve just always loved these types of vehicles — especially the Scorpion.
“I had been searching for the right one for more than four years and when I said it to Nicola that I had found it, she told me ‘Do what you want to do’.
“Other guys like going to the pub and watching football, this is what I spend my money on,” said Shane.
Although he wouldn’t put an exact figure on it, Shane agreed that the cost of the tank was about the same price as two new cars.
He purchased the tank, which was built in 1973, last November from a private collector in Newcastle in England.
Although the tank is in terrific condition and has no bullet holes, it was used by the British army and has seen action in both the First Gulf War and Bosnia.
The tank, which has a 400-litre fuel tank with an upgraded diesel engine, can fit three people in it.
It no longer has a working gun at the front as Shane had to visit local gardaí to ensure it had been removed.
Although spare parts are available, they don’t come cheap with each of the 10 rubber wheels costing an average of €400 to replace.
A handy man with a wrench, Shane loves to tinker with his new toy and says its size makes it ideal for fitting into his garage.
Shane said he is already looking forward to many fun days with the seven-tonne machine.
“A friend of mine is getting married and he has been thinking of rolling up to the church in it. Can you imagine the faces on the guests when they see him arriving in a tank?” laughed Shane.