Starting with a regular four-wheel “Saloon” car chassis complete with leaf-spring suspension, the Brits bolted on 11mm-thick steel plating and then backed that with three inches of oak planking to protect its crew members, despite it having an open-air design.

The engine was situated up front, just like a conventional auto, but because the tiny vehicle weighed 2.6 tons (5,753 pounds), a double-reduction back axle had to be installed to carry a heavier load. Even still, the Beaverette only managed a top speed of 24mph.

Standard made four variations (Mk I through IV) with minor improvements. The little autos could also be equipped with different types of armaments. Unfortunately, the design of the vertical aiming slots in the hull offered only limited visibility.

As history would have it, the Germans didn’t invade Britain. And by 1942, approximately 2,800 Beaverettes were made, but none of them saw any front-line combat.

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By mrtrv

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