The M1A1 Shelby

Yes, a muscle car can definitely look like a tank.

Blending the sweet lines of a 2020 Ford Shelby GT500 with the rough exterior of an M1A1 Abrams main battle tank was the vision of Josh Larkin and Jeff Ingargiola, the guys behind Larkin Motors of Bridgewater, Massachusetts. This road monster virtually jumps at you—even its rivets are three-dimensional—although it’s not supposed to be a Mad Max wannabe. The car is special. It may not be able to fire fin-stabilizing, depleted-uranium shells, but it can serve as a rolling testament to veterans who have endured almost everything in both service and civilian life. Even the legendary Carroll Shelby, an Army Air Corps pilot long before he raced or built speed demons, would have paused to admire these wheels.

The faux-armor Shelby is also a promotional vehicle for Josh and Jeff’s latest endeavor, the Larkin Motors Foundation, which provides free parts and labor to fix veterans’ automobiles. Together, Josh and Jeff have fifteen years of service under their belts—Larkin was special forces and Ingargiola was military police—and both enjoy the chance to help when they can. Some of their clients have come to tears, knowing that for once, their clunker will get them back on the road.

“It definitely tugs at the heart strings,” says Larkin. “One veteran had like five kids and a Volvo station wagon that was all messed up. We got it up and running for his family. Stuff like that feels good.”

There are more than 18 million veterans in the United States today. In 2019, 39% had come from the era of Desert Shield, Desert Storm, or the second Gulf War. Some 38% of the population, now at least 60 years old, had served between World War Two and Vietnam. A rising 22% had, in the words of the US Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, “served outside the designated wartime periods,” but this undoubtedly means the long years when soldiers were called to Africa and the Middle East. In 2019, more than four million vets had a service-linked disability, and more than eight percent were unemployed.

The data tells a story that Americans have known for decades: it’s hard to make ends meet, but even harder for a vet. Yet their hardships can be lessened now with Jeff and Josh’s contributions at the foundation.

The M1A1 Shelby’s combat “wrap” was created by Just Your Way LLC of Westport, Massachusetts. You can get a good look at this amazing car, complete with its “Killa Karol” markings on the doors, on Larkin Motors TV YouTube channel. To raise money for their foundation, Josh and Jeff plan to hold an upcoming raffle giveaway for a completely customized 2020 GMC Denali. To learn more about the Larkin Motors Foundation, visit larkinmotors.com or follow them on Facebook.

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