If Fury fantasies have dominated your dreams since you saw the movie (available now on Digital HD and out on Blu-ray and DVD 1/27), Drive a Tank in Kasota, MN (about 70 miles SW of Minneapolis) now has a Sherman M4A2E8 (a/k/a the "Easy 8) available in one of its tank experience packages.
Drive a Tank owns nine tanks and several vehicles with actual combat experience. They describe the experience as "quasi-military," which means there's no firing across the Canadian border.
The"Easy 8" was produced by Chrysler in the last year of WWII. The Easy 8’s design is the culmination of four years of fighting experience and multiple automobile manufacturers working together to help win the war. With its stabilized high-velocity 76mm cannon, the M4 Easy 8 is the most powerful Sherman tank the United States produced during WWII. Coupled with a power turret the Easy 8 Sherman held an advantage over even the most powerful German tanks.
At a time when the war effort demanded as many engines as American industry could produce and tank engines were hard to manufacture because of their size and horsepower requirements, Detroit Diesel offered their idea of an ideal tank engine: the "GM 6046" engine. The GM 6046 engine utilizes two 6-71 Detroit Diesel engines already in production. Detroit Diesel powered the 6046 by linking two 6-71 two-stroke supercharged diesel engines using a simple gearbox.
When the US Marines Corps received GM 6046-powered Sherman's in the Pacific, they praised them for two reasons. First, the Easy 8s were much less likely to catch fire than gasoline-powered tanks when hit by enemy fire (known in Europe as Ronsons for their ability to "Light on the first hit") and second, both engines operate on their own individual systems. The tank could be driven with just one engine; effectively giving them a "spare engine" in the field should one be knocked out.
They've also added an American Halftrack, the M16 Multiple Gun Motor Carriage (MGMC). Originally built as a scout car and troop carrier, American engineers added four .50 caliber machine guns and an electric turret called the M45 Quad mount. The M16 saw plenty of action among the Allies as an anti-aircraft weapon from 1943, when the Halftrack went into production, until well into the Vietnam War.
All of this may sound too good to be true, but it's not. Still, it's not going to come cheap. The Sherman Driver package runs $3599 and lets you drive the Sherman with your head exposed and also with all the hatches closed using the periscope. You can sit in all five Sherman E8 crew positions and fire four WWII weapons. You also get to drive two more vehicles: the FV433 Abbott SPG and the FV432 APC transport. You can crush a car for an additional $599 or two cars for $799.
There's a Russian T-55 tank featured in a $2999 package and more affordable packages that included just the FV433 ($399) and both the FV433 and FV432 for ($599). Still, the Sherman is the big attraction here. Although the website says it's "coming soon," Drive a Tank has assured us the tank is up and ready to go. It's not too early to start saving now for a spectacular Father's Day gift.