Outside magazine, September 1995
Anyone with the corn-fed twang of Bob Seger's "Like a Rock" lodged in his brain knows that a sport-utility vehicle can handle anything the backcountry can throw at it. But now, the shadowy obstacles of urban life have created demand for a new breed of truck: the armored SUV.
The clamor for such Broncos-to-Brinks-trucks conversions has been fueled by fear, says Bill O'Gara, president of Ohio-based O'Gara-Hess & Eisenhardt Armoring Company. "Once people were happy if their car could withstand an accident," he explains. "Today they're a lot more concerned about carjackings and drive-bys."
A basic armoring job costs about $40,000 and includes reinforcing the doors, pillars, and seat backs with 300 pounds of quarter-inch-thick steel and replacing the windows with bullet-resistant glass. A deluxe job, about $60,000, adds another 2,000 pounds of armor and such handy extras as an explosion-proof gas tank.
What do proud owners think of their new urban assault vehicles? "I can't provide any referrals," O'Gara says with regret. "As you might imagine, these people place a high value on privacy."