RPV, for when the family SUV just won't do
Rumors persist of an impending zombie apocalypse -- and should that day come, be sure I'm jumping in this Terradyne Gurkha RPV, or rapid patrol vehicle. It's a brute of a beast but good for much more than warding off the walking dead.
These tactical trucks are out in the real world protecting first responders in law enforcement, the military and homeland defense. The rigs are built at Terradyne's Ontario, Canada, headquarters.
Everything starts with a Ford F-450 or F-550 chassis. From there, Terradyne adds armored bodies, capable of absorbing rounds from handguns and most battle rifles. Three body configurations can be had, including this pickup, called the Gurkha RPV.
Power comes from Ford's 6.7-liter V-8 turbo diesel, or the 6.8-liter V-10 gasoline engine. Other goodies are run-flat tires, integrated winches, LED floodlights and plenty of tubular grab bars for quickly offloading or evacuating personnel in hot zones.
Climbing inside and closing the weighty, extra-wide door is akin to shutting a bank vault. The spacious cabin sports tons of diamond plating and a familiar dashboard and seats, which are both from Ford. While the windows don't go down, this RPV is equipped with A/C. All told, the RPV's curb weight tips the scale at 16,000 pounds.
This particular vehicle is now owned by Larry Roesch Chrysler Jeep Dodge RAM in Elmhurst, which graciously offered me the chance to take it out on a test drive down some suburban streets. It was formerly owned by Dan Cook, a Janesville, Wisconsin, man who is friends with the dealership's owner and used the RPV as a trade-in as the two worked out a deal involving vehicles. It's now listed on the dealership's website for $389,000.
This Gurkha has an interesting story. It is the very first RPV made and was an exhibition demo for Terradyne. The truck was also used in the 2014 remake of "RoboCop" before being purchased by Cook in 2013 before the movie was released.
Up until then, Terradyne had never sold a vehicle in the U.S. and this RPV marks the first one to be imported stateside. Cook is quite the driving enthusiast, racking up 10,000 miles in this Gurkha. He's even driven to Los Angeles twice.
"Everywhere I went, people just stopped and stared," he told me. "It was like driving a UFO."
The vehicle grabs attention because it's impossible to miss. It's big, it's massive and it's definitely "yuge." The RPV dwarfs the Hummer H1. In fact, when behind the steering wheel, you can actually look over an H1.
But despite the gigantic proportions, it's quite livable on city streets. Its diesel engine with 660 foot-pounds of torque pulls the hulk away from stop lights and keeps up with traffic easily. Forward visibility is fantastic because the windows aren't the usual slits found in most armored rigs. The giant Ford side mirrors also work well.
The area where it is tough for the driver to see is behind, but thankfully there is a backup camera. Once at speed, the four-wheel anti-lock brakes have no trouble bringing the heavy beast back to a standstill.
Because of their extreme capabilities and ultra-tough look, the trucks are quickly growing in popularity. They've made appearances in movies like the "Fast and Furious" franchise and "Suicide Squad," as well as the video game "Forza."
While they're at home in hot and hostile environments, Terradyne now offers a civilian edition complete with luxury touches and features. Who says surviving Armageddon can't be done in comfort and style?
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