December 15, 2016, by Brooke Faulkner – Not sure what to buy the military man in your life? If money was no object, every soldier, sailor, pilot, and marine would be getting a new car this Christmas. Can’t you just see it parked in the driveway, wrapped in an oversized, camouflage bow?
The only question left to consider is simple: what kind of car best fits the servicemen in each branch of the military? Of course, practicality matters too. A US Coast Guard Auxiliary serviceman who’s thinking about starting up his own small business might not be suited to, say, a vintage muscle car — but hey, it’s Christmas, let’s have a little fun.
Ford F-150 via Flickr/Saud Al-Olayan
According to data collected by the USAA, by far the most popular vehicle across all branches of the military is the Ford F-150.
The F-150 is a workhorse of a machine, popular for its practicality and versatility. So if you’re looking for something useful and powerful, read no further. If your military man already owns the truck of his dreams, buying parts on his build list is a fun and unexpected Christmas gift. Now all that’s left is to find where the heck to buy a giant bow.
If you’re thinking perhaps something a little different, here’s a list of the best vehicles for each branch of the military.
M998 Humvee Via Flickr/jzfz
Soldiers in the Army are the most likely to drive a vehicle for work since their job is, you know, on the ground rather than in the air or the sea. Because of that, they get to be the first to drive some of the coolest vehicles around; the kind that can scale mountains without much effort. For that reason, when a group of Army men were asked about their dream cars, the overwhelming response was the M998 Humvee. Once you drive a humvee, it’s hard to get behind the wheel of a sedan and not shake your head.
Shelby Mustang GT via Flickr/Javi Martin
Navy boys love their muscle cars. Big brands like Mustang, Corvette, and Camaro have historically manufactured their vehicles in the USA, which lends itself to a healthy amount of patriotism for our boys in blue and white. When it comes to sailors, you can’t go wrong with a Shelby Mustang GT: it’s fast, sleek, and customizable. Navy men like to work on the cars themselves, turn them into souped-up speed machines. I’d probably do the same if I’d been stuck on a boat for years.
Corvette Sting Ray via Flickr/Brian
Both the Navy and the Marines were established in 1775. The Marines, though they might hate to admit it, are technically a specialized branch of the US Navy. It only makes sense then that Marines would be as into muscle cars as Navy sailors. When shopping around for your Marine this Christmas, don’t bother with the car dealership. Find him the body of a second generation classic Corvette — like the Corvette Sting Ray — that he can build on from the ground up.
1944 Willys MB Jeep via Flickr/Daniel
The Coast Guard has gone through numerous structural updates since its inception in 1790, everything from parting ways with aviation to distinguishing itself from the Navy. All of that change is reflected in their ever-changing uniforms. But when it comes to cars, people serving in the coast guard know the value of a timeless statement. Willys MB is an iconic military car produced from 1941-1945 and extremely popular with military car enthusiasts around the country. For someone more interested in a new vehicle rather than an antique fixer-upper, Willys have evolved into civilian Jeeps and other military-inspired light utility vehicles.
Hennessey Venom GT via Flickr/Chris Morrison
For someone who pilots a plane at the fastest speeds known to man, only the fastest car will do. The Hennessey Venom GT is the world’s fastest 2-seat sports car. A technicality in production quantities has kept it from officially holding a world record, but it can reach 270 mph, the top-recorded speed for a street-legal road vehicle to date. I daresay not everyone could withstand the g-force of a Venom GT, but an Air Force pilot would have no problem.
With cars among the fastest of the fast, safe and attentive driving is incredibly important. Military veterans, namely ones with traumatic combat experience, have unique challenges to overcome on the road.
Any driver, military or civilian, with a blood alcohol content over 0.15 is 380 times more likely to be involved in a collision. If you’re going to holiday parties this year and plan on drinking, leave the keys at home. Merry Christmas, and drive safe this holiday season!
Author Bio: Brooke Faulkner is a mother of two and writer based in Portland, Oregon. She loves anything to do with historical nonfiction.