You won’t find them in the pages of a glossy dealership brochure, nor listed on the Ford Australia website, but it turns out the Ford Ranger and Ford Everest come in a range of ‘security vehicles’ specifications.
In the same way high-powered political officials can get themselves into ballistics-rated BMW X5s and sniper-proof Mercedes-Benz S-Classes, tradies living secret lives as undercover agents can bulk up their protection in a Ranger or Everest.
Okay, to be fair, that’s not what they’re for. Instead Ford offers a range of light-duty security force vehicles capable of stepping up protection a level or two from that their regular counterparts.
By far the least obvious of the lot include the Everest Cash-In-Transit and Everest Armored Vehicle. While neither name is glamorous, they’re certainly no-frills descriptions of exactly what you get.
The Cash-In-Transit is described as “An inconspicuous heavy-duty cash-in-transit vehicle, which was developed in conjunction with international financial institutions, to transport cash, valuables and passengers without inviting any unwanted attention.”
That sounds fine in theory, except that the move to cash transporter spec sees the Everest fitted with steel wheels that don’t feature on any of the Everest’s regular models, even in overseas markets.
Cash carrier spec also comes only with the least powerful 2.2-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel engine, rated to 118kW and 385Nm, hauling 2381kg in modified form.
Professional-grade jewellery thieves, have it easy then. Look for the Everest on steelies lumbering through Bangkok traffic, then sit back and relax knowing it’ll barely be able to outrun anything else on the road.
The real mastery is in the goods box at the rear, with reinforced construction and double locked access, plus panic alarm compatibility and inbuilt smoke detection.
If its people rather than cash you need to move safely, the Armoured Everest might be more appropriate, and in terms of flying under the radar, it’s certainly a lot closer to civilian spec in appearance.
This one is heavier still, at 2436kg, thus necessitating the upgrade to the Everest’s inline five-cylinder turbo diesel engine. That’s not important though, it’s the list of changes that stand out here.
Opaque armoured sections (behind the panel work) rated from B4 (NIJ IIIa) to B6 (NIJ III), transparent sections (so, the glasshouse) rated at standard EN 1063, level BR4 to BR6, roof protection from B4 (NIJ IIIa) to B6 (NIJ III) and a floor that provides protection against two DM 51 or DM 61 hand grenades.
Or, translated there’s B4 and BR4 to B6 and BR6 gets you protection for everything from handgun fire up to high-powered rifle fire, but stops short of armour piercing rounds (that’s what B7 is for. That’s some serious stuff, especially alongside the standard Everest.
Doors are structurally rated, hinges get beefed up to cope, the fuel tank scores a B4 rating to prevent against fragment punctures and the tyres are switched for run-flats, and high performance slotted brake rotors sub in to cope with the extra weight.
From there the Ranger walks though a dual-cab Cash-In-Transit model, or for bigger payloads, a single-cab Cash-In-Transit Box version, with even less firepower under the bonnet (88kW and 285Nm, but space for 5.18 cubic metres of gold, diamonds, but more likely cash, with only 528kg of payload.)
If you want the protection of an armoured ute, you can have that too, with a Ranger loaded with the Everest’s protection, high load suspension, enhanced fuel filtration, and run-flat tyres with a tyre retention system – all in a package that looks to the outside observer like a run of the mill Wildtrak.
Ready to roll police issue cars make the list too. The standard list covers LED light bars, sirens and a public address system, plus Police livery. Options run long with everything from rubber floor mats and mud flaps, to a long-range 115L fuel tank, bull bar, auxiliary lighting, recovery gear, and a plus-sized fire extinguisher on a list of 60 customisable configurations.
That’s all the light stuff out of the way. If you’d rather play GI Joe, you can do that too. How’s an armoured assault vehicle with a universal gun rack, general purpose machine gun mount, gunports with armoured glass, and most considerate of all, air con for the rear gunner compartment, sound?
Otherwise there’s the Everest Light Utility, which is a surprisingly subtle name for a fully riot-kitted ute covered in mesh window protectors, roll-over rated rear tray protection, head and tail light guards, winch equipped heavy duty bumper, and uprated HD suspension.
When the zombie uprising begins, this is the one you’re going to want to find.
There’s a Ranger Light Utility too. Same window protection, just covering more windows. There’s a rear bumper with a swing arm for a rear mounted spare and room for a jerry can, canvas-trimmed interior, emergency light bar, height adjustable tow bar, winch, search lights, and fuel tank protection.
There’s options aplenty too, chequer plate flooring, door mounted weapons holsters, fuel cooler for jet fuel usage (yeah, really), and factory prepared camouflage paint.
Expressions of interest aren’t handled by regular Ford dealers however. If you’re keen to get your hands on one of Ford’s security vehicles range, you’ll be dealing with global fleet sales direct.
In some cases configurations are left-hand drive only, but for the most part – and with a big enough fleet order – there’s potentially nothing stopping Australian customers from placing an order, depending on their totalitarian requirements.