Bug Out Vehicles
There are an almost infinite number of choices when it comes to bug out vehicle options. You have your 4×4 trucks and SUVs, retired military vehicles, ATVs, Track/Trail bikes, and even mountain bikes. Rather than make any recommendations I am simply going to tell you about my choice for a BOV and my reasoning for that choice.
Rather than choosing a traditional BOV I have gone with the original SUV, a station wagon, a 1957 Chevy Belair station wagon to be exact. There are many reasons for my choosing this vehicle the first being my love of hot rods. I have been a mechanic and a hot rodder for years so I brought my career/hobby together with my preparedness. Second, is the fact that this car is a sound investment. Too many people sink obscene amounts of money into their BOVs, most of which have a low resale value and are constantly depreciating in value. Any amount of money that is put into my vehicle will have a definite return. Parts and performance upgrades are also readily available for this vehicle. Nearly every single nut and bolt of this car is available from aftermarket vendors. The vehicle is also extremely easy to maintain so anyone with basic knowledge and a service manual can keep the car running for years. Space and seating is another of my reasons for choosing the wagon. There is no shortage of storage for equipment and personnel this rig. The seating arrangement also allows for defensive positioning of passengers on both the left and right side of the vehicle as well as the rear and that is a big plus for a BOV. The wagon is not as mobile as a 4×4 but I installed lift springs to bring the ride height up two inches and when you pair that with all terrain tires, snow chains, and posi traction rear end you still have a fair amount of mobility. If you are still worried you can always throw in a winch or a come-a-long.
In order to ensure the reliability and safety of this vehicle I replaced and rebuilt nearly every component of the old wagon. I also upgraded the braking system to dual chambered master cylinder and disk brakes. This can get a little pricey but again the car is an investment and should I ever need to sell it I would see my money returned. Even after all of the upgrades and rebuilds I still have much less invested in the car than I would have in even a base model new vehicle.
I have driven this car from coast to coast and raked up thousands of miles with only minor issues that could be fixed on the road side. In preparation for such events there are several items that I keep in the vehicle at all times.
Fan belt, Spark plugs, plug wires, cap and rotor, Oil, transmission fluid, coolant, brake fluid, gas, filters, u-joints, hose clamps, tire plug kit, spare tire (1 minimum), bottle jack, battery operated air compressor, stop leak, RTV, thread tape, misc common bolts, points and condenser, Gumout, jumper cables, solar battery charger, heavy gauge bailing wire, zip ties, JB weld, heavy duty ratchet strap, service manual, and tools. It is essential that you perform all the common tasks such as tune ups, and belt replacements and note exactly what is needed to complete these jobs so that you can pack these tools and have them in the event of a break down. All of these items can fit in about 3 milk crates and with them I can repair almost any fault I may encounter short of a catastrophic part failure and that can usually be prevented and foreseen buy proper preventative maintenance and inspections.
Currently the car has a three speed 350 turbo transmission and gets around 16 MPH. I built a mild 305 for the car and I run a 600cfm carb on it. This gives it enough power to get up and move but is still fair on the fuel consumption. This winter I plan on swapping out the transmission for a 700R4 with an overdrive gear to push the mileage up a few miles per gallon.
Thanks for taking the time to read through my ramblings. I am sure that there are a lot of people out there who disagree with me but I hope there’s some out there who find this helpful or informative.
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