A lot of preppers are worried that, in the event we’re ever attacked with EMP weapons, most of our vehicles will instantly turn to junk. This isn’t a far out belief, either; it’s based on testing by the EMP Commission.
It’s true that those tests didn’t cause any permanent damage to the vehicles, but the Commission freely admits that they stopped testing at the level of EMP where the vehicles stopped running – and that was far below the levels that would be emitted by an actual attack.
It’s difficult to predict what damage an EMP attack would do to vehicles, because there are so many variables involved. We can make some educated guesses, though. We do know that EMP can destroy solid-state electronics, and late-model vehicles depend on those for almost everything. Without its engine management computer a modern car won’t even start.
If your new truck is caught by an EMP the chances are it’s going to take a lot of work to get it running again. You’re almost certainly going to have to replace all the computers, if you can find undamaged spares, and EMP can do funny things to wiring as well.
As the wiring harness is one of the first things installed in cars, replacing it is a huge job. Is it going to be feasible in a country devastated by the attack? I’m not betting on it.
There is another option, though – find yourself a vehicle that doesn’t rely on electronics. Computer-controlled car engines didn’t really exist until the mid-1970s and there were plenty new vehicles without them at the end of the decade, so most vehicles that age or older will be much more resistant to EMP. Carbureted engines with simpler wiring looms don’t give the pulse much to get its teeth into.
The bad news is that we’re talking about some pretty old, and often hard-used, vehicles here. The good news is that in many cases you should be able to get a running one for a reasonable amount of money. Here are seven EMP-proof vehicles you can pick up for less than $2,000.
You can easily pay over $100,000 for a classic Bug in immaculate condition – but you can also get a runner for under $2,000. In fact while I was writing this I saw one for $500 that just needs some work on the hubs to put it back on the road. The post-1971 “Super Beetle” is usually cheaper than the classic flat windshield model.
The Beetle is built on really old technology. It has a flat-four air-cooled engine without any hint of electronics.
It’s also a rugged and reliable car that’s good enough off road the German army put an open-topped body on it and used it as a jeep. It won’t even notice an EMP.
VW Bugs are classic cars now, but from the 60s through the early 80s they were just cheap imports – and a lot of people used their simple mechanicals as the basis for a dune buggy. Usually this involved shortening the Beetle chassis by about a foot and fitting it with a simple, lightweight fiberglass body.
Dune buggies have decent fuel economy and off road performance, and they don’t rust. They’re also very easy to modify into survival vehicles, and they don’t need a lot of maintenance. You can find a running one from about $800 upwards.
Related: Where Not To Be During an EMP
CUCV (Commercial Utility Cargo Vehicle)
In the mid-1970s the US military was running out of utility vehicles. The HMMWV program hadn’t produced anything yet and the old M151 jeeps were wearing out. As a stopgap, thousands of commercial wagons and trucks were purchased, in slightly militarized versions.
There are a few different models of CUCV, but the most common is the M1109 – a 1984-model Chevrolet K5 Blazer. This is a simple vehicle with plenty of load space, 4wd and a powerful 6.2 liter diesel engine, and it’s ideal as a post-SHTF vehicle. Thousands have been disposed off at auctions and you can easily find a useable one for under $2,000. Try ebay.
International Harvester Scout
The Scout was probably the first mass-produced SUV, even if it was never the most exciting or popular. It’s a simple, sturdy and reliable vehicle, though, and it has great off-road performance.
The original Scout is starting to get expensive, so look for a Scout II. Manufactured from 1971 to 1980, this is a lot cheaper and just as reliable. You can find rough but repairable ones for under $1,000; $2,000 will get you a good runner.
Related: 10 EMP Proof Items to Hoard
Land Rover TUM/TUL (Truck, Utility, Medium/Truck, Utility, Light)
This is the military version of the popular Land Rover Defender, and the British Army bought tens of thousands of them in Medium (110-inch wheelbase) and Light (90-inch) configurations. They’re now being sold off as newer vehicles come into service, and a good number have found their way onto the US market.
These Land Rovers were built between 1982 and 1990, making them the newest vehicles on the list, but the British military deliberately specified a simple 2.5-liter diesel engine with no electronics – because it was EMP-proof.
You should be able to find one for under $2,000; it’ll be high mileage, but well maintained. Avoid the newer and much more powerful Wolf, also available in TUM and TUL versions; its engine is computer-controlled.
Chevrolet produced this full-size truck from 1959 through to the turn of the century, but what you’re looking for is a pre-1980 third generation model. With a computer-free engine, and easily maintained mechanicals, it’s a tough and practical utility vehicle.
A lot of these are still hanging on in rural areas, and you can pick up a running example for under $1,500 if you hunt around. Can’t find a Cheyenne? No problem; most other pre-1980 trucks will do just as well.
No, don’t laugh. This cheap and nasty car was imported into the USA from 1985 to 1991 – but mechanically it’s a 1970s Fiat 127, so its 900cc engine is EMP-proof. Incredibly, good examples now sell for up to $15,000 – but you can get an average one for under $1,000, because nobody wants them.
The thing is, this is a cheap communist-built car with tacky finish and unreliable accessories, but the engine is simple and reliable. It might be an embarrassing car to drive, but it’s a lot less embarrassing than one that won’t start because its electronics are fried.
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Seriously? Please find me a Land Rover military truck. I’ll buy all of them. Also, a YUGO? EMP proof yes, but they didn’t run reliably, or at all when they were brand new, much less now.
I agree. Try finding something that isn’t completely rusted out; doesn’t have a blown engine or some other major problem for $2,000 is like looking for hen’s teeth. Perhaps here and there at some estate sale where the kids are trying to get rid of Dad’s junk you might get lucky but those happenstances are far apart.
Good grief, you can get $500 for a junker that doesn’t run at the scrap yard and you think you are going to buy something running for $2000?
My advice is to look for a 250cc dirt bike with a kick starter and a seat with room for two if your significant other doesn’t know how to ride a dirt bike. A 250cc bike is pretty easy on gas and has enough power to carry two people provided they both aren’t 250 pounds each. Better yet, teach your significant other how to ride and buy two bikes.
You can eke out some significant mileage if you don’t goose it too much. You can ride on paved surfaces and go off road if necessary. If you get a game carrier, you can jury rig a hitch and haul your stuff on the game carrier and still get out the door for $2000.
If you get a metal shed you may be able to protect it from an EMP surge so it is ready to go when you are.
This seems the best vehicle for people without kids. A fully dressed enduro can navigate traffic jams. I find the super emp theme a little ridiculous, its all hypothetical. Makes for some good books though.
I went even cheaper,,, a heavy duty minibike… replace the whole motor and drive for under $500..
I just saw a popup ad for a 212 cc minibike. Not street legal, of course, and you have to assemble the major components yourself. That’s how they get to sell it. They are just selling you parts and you are doing the final assembly. The sales pitch says it will haul a passenger up to 200 pounds and go 29 mph. It has a pull starter, so that means it is a magneto that runs the engine. EMP proof and cheap. $750 U.S. Freight prepaid. I don’t know whether it is made in China or India, didn’t go that far. I suspect it is our BFFs the Chinese.
They forgot about all of the 1960’s and 1970’s Jeep CJ’s running around . My ’46 CJ and my ’72 CJ will be taking myself and my family anywhere we need to go in those situations, and any other that may arise
I really would not east your time looking for dirt bike they will be just everything els. A dirt bike has a part that cdi box that make the spark plug fire. And as for other trucks and cars if they have a hdi distributior then they will not run. And to be honest I am not sure if the points type will run due to they have a control module
Are you kidding me? You may get a $200 car but can you imagine how it will work? You need a good car for EMP. These types cheap crap isn’t useful at all.
It’s 2 thousand dollars not 2 hundred
You can also use minibikes that run those predator 212cc’s. But you cant register them at a dmv or legally use them pretty much anywhere, so its better to keep em in your garage or use them on private property. You can get em used for like 300 bucks on offerup or ebay
I’m surprised you didn’t make a stronger plug for diesel engines. (You did mention two.) It seems to me that the ignition system of gasoline engines is a major weakness of gasoline engines.
Many older tractor diesels will run with no electricity whatsoever, if you can manage to get them started. (They are very tough to push start!) Even newer ones require no more electricity than the starter and a single solenoid that allows fuel to be turned on and off, which can be replaced with a mechanical device.
But an even bigger reason to use diesel is the variety of fueling options they offer. It is not difficult to make biodiesel from either waste cooking oil, carefully filtered used motor oil, or even fresh vegetable oil that you can press from your own oilseed crops, using a hydraulic press and NO electricity.
We make our own biodiesel, and personally, I would not have a gasoline vehicle, even if it were given to me.
True ABCOLL, find me a diesel Land Rover (in the U.S.) for 2k and I’ll buy two (can’t afford all of’em like you…lol)
I figured there would only be 1 available so it wasn’t too “big talk” to offer to buy them all. Trust me, my husband has worked on Land Rovers since the 90’s, we own 4 (older models.) I spend way too much time on LR buy, sell, trade/parts swap/”hey look at what I got” LR sites and pages. I would know if one of those bad-a$$ trucks was available.
How much would you sell one of the LR TULs for?
…cut myself off. Even a running, rust free CUCV is at least 4k. but you better know your 24vdc / 12vdc wiring and know how to read a schematic, I know… I have one (and a military Land Rover will be as bad, or worse)
Reminding me of original “Jurassic Park.”
“Can you read a schematic,?”
It’s 2 thousand dollars not 2 hundred
Many of the 1970 through most of the 80’s cars, especially American made did end up being ‘transistorized’ in an effort to gain more reliability and longer times between tuneups. It is very easy to replace most of the transistorized distributors with ‘point style’ and the spark plug wires that go with it. As long as the vehicle that you are converting has a carb instead of a fuel injection system these vehicles are easy to convert. I keep the necessary point distributors and a alternator or two in the Faraday Cage for an easy swap IF the vehicle is overcome by an EMP burst.
Sounds good IF the event did not melt the wiring!
Ah the wiring is easy to deal with, on a Chevy Small Block just run a 4 foot piece of wire from the positive side of the battery to the positive side of the coil, cross short the solenoid on the starter….That’s all a GM product needs. To hell with the rest of the wiring.
God willing I am home and not 1000 miles away, my two older farm tractors will suffice for any short distance travel or to transport water in larger quanties. Also my Kawasaki mule that sips diesel and carries a great payload should also be even more useful just because of its fuel efficency.
Another good one are the diesel VW Rabbit cars/small pickups. Mechanical fuel injection (no electronics), great mileage and diesel stores dang near forever.
After the SHTF bicycles will be in huge demand. Also spare bicycle parts will be worth their weight in gold.
Something that would also be quite valuable would be 26 inches wheels with airless tires mounted on them. While airless tires today are not a good substitute for pneumatic tires, in an EOTW situation where there is a lot of debris on the roads and replacement parts are at a premium, one would be willing to put up with the rough ride and other drawbacks to airless tires in exchange for no bike due to no spare tires and tubes.
If one is planning on a cross-country trip on airless tires, be prepared for a more vigorous ride and less mileage per day than on pneumatics. For short hauls around town in a ruined environment, one can put up with the drawbacks.
I’m sure I can build my self a dune buggy for the price of most of them. Just avoid all modern technology in them and go basic catalytic converter while also avoiding fuel injection engines and heavily insulae the fuse box with copper mesh and spray rubber. In an emp on a modern car the costly ECU goes first then the wire harness and lastly all other parts connected to the harness or within the wires radius of current being carried to the tires. To build a go kart isn’t so bad either that can take a non computerized engine and hold 4 people it won’t go very fast but it definitely can do the job by modifying an old golf cart or similar vehicle.
Name one car or truck that doesn’t have a transistor based charging system? or a electric motor that does not have a controller of some type. The older charging systems occurred roughly before 1964 and were mechanical at that point – THOSE are good. Things like fuel pumps that are now located in the gas tank that is plastic are controlled by a transistor based control system. All computer based ANYTHING will burn out unless sufficiently shielded. More specifically – anything that contains a PNP or NPN junction like a transistor OR a LED flashlight will burn out. Things not included in this list? F16’s who have hardened electronic MILSPEC components. Even the scope on your rifle will fail if it has an LED as part of it’s functioning.
Bs. ‘everything’ will burn out is science fiction. You might as well claim an employee will cause zombies…
Why not just buy/build a “tinfoil” vehical cover?
There are plenty of those “dust covers” for sale.
Somebody should make on which would blanket the entire vehical. Wouldn’t that work?
As a matter of fact, there is material that is supposed to be insulation against EMP/CME events. It is fairly expensive and I am not sure how one would guard against leakage around the base of the vehicle. Dr. Bradley posted a source on his website. disaster preparer.com. I don’t know if the source is still there or not. If your are interested, you might check.
Good point there, Chuck. I’ve thought about an EMP-resistant vehicle cover myself. The hard bit, as you said, is leakage.Electromagnetic radiation travels in a straight line, but EMP can generate funny effects around gaps and edges. A good Faraday cage needs to be sealed, with conductive seams.
A blanket wouldn’t work. You need to 100% enclose the item. Even the bottom. No holes in the coverage. Anywhere. And tinfoil isn’t thick enough.
Let me guess, you want me to read a schematic that was on some computer that died due to an EMP Pulse? I hope you have a ‘hardcopy’ of that schematic on a shelf some where.
what about my 1967 mustang? I’m thinking it’ll do…
What a bunch of foolishness. The emp commission tested electronics yo the highest CREDIBLE e field. Can an employee produce even higher fields? Yes. But over an insignificant fraction of the overall effect footprint. If you think the country is going to get hit by the worst case, what is the point of owning s car when every nuclear power plant in the country melts down?
My reading indicates that they only tested until the cars started to exhibit symptoms of failure and then they stopped because they were using their own vehicles and didn’t want to burn them up.
Dr. Arthur Bradley has conducted real life experiments with electronic devices and an electron field. He reports his findings in his book on EMP/CME. He describes his experiments in detail and reports his findings in detail.
From what I have read, it is a coin toss. If the car is parked deep underground in a concrete parking garage there is a likelihood it will not be damaged. If it is parked in your garage at home, it is likely to suffer some damage. If it is parked in your driveway there is a likelihood of significant damage. If you are running on the highway at the moment of the pulse, your car is toast.The foregoing relates to post 1980 cars with electronics. The newer the car the more likely it is to suffer significant damage. Your all electronic Prius is going to be dead iron unless parked deep in the bowels of a multistory underground garage. You know how you always hated that parking space on the fifth level down way in the corner farthest from the elevators? You’re going to love it right after an EMP. Of course, you are going to have a bit of difficulty getting around all the cars that were coming and going at the instant of the EMP and in the close confines of a parking garage that probably means a lot of manual labor pushing them out of the way. And if you are parked downtown in a major metropolis, you can probably forget driving out of town unless you are driving a large truck with a sturdy apparatus on the front like a blade for moving snow or very heavy duty push bars or the prongs of a truck that collects garbage from dumpsters or something along that line. A D-8 Cat would be handy but they get lousy mileage.
Just for the heck of it I went on line looking for cheap VWs. There was an ’87 in Athens Georgia for $8900. Shipping to the left coast would run almost $900. I didn’t see any VWs earlier than that. The guy down the street from me has a VW station wagon. It’s not the bus, but the station wagon. I don’t know how old it is but it has black and gold CA plates on it. I think my 62 Valiant had black and gold plates but that was so long ago I just don’t remember. I sold it in 87 because parts were getting hard to get for it. It was a sweet car. Too bad Plymouth didn’t sell more of them. I would have kept it.
My 1973 CJ5 304 V8 3 speed Manual transmission, lifted 4 inches with bikini top, good body, frame, suspension, and 125,000 miles .. $7000
That is a good deal, the prices they list in these articles are not found. We have a VW bug with a generator. It will be EMP proof. Bugs are hard to find also.
No. They burned up electronics. But you miss the point. There are basically two components to emp. Without going too far into the science of it we will call them slow and fast. Slow emp is the main concern with cme like the Carrington event. It will blanket a good chunk of the planet with a field that will burn out power lines and the like. Anything that is physically large is at risk. The electronics in your car and cell phone are largely safe from slow emp. Fast emp is more of a concern with nukes set off at high altitudes ( basically space). The fast emp pulse can hurt much smaller targets – like modern electronics. But the thing is the peak field strength seen in the fast emp component will only be high enough to damage modern electronics over a very small footprint. As an example, a cme could burn out transmission equipment from Hawaii to NYC at the same time. A high altitude emp nuke (and there are special things that go into making a nuke intended for use as an employee device and all of them tend to be contrary to the techniques used to make a nuke an efficient high yeild weapon) detonated over Central Park in NYC could produce a slow component that fries power transmission lines in Manhattan AND Atlanta. The fast component will burn out many electronic devices in Manhattan, but cell phones or cars in Philadelphia will be safe. The e fields seen in the emp commission testing we’re on the high side, meaning that you would only see effects in modern electronics over small areas (comparatively) and most of these faults we’re not fatal.
Yes that sweet ’67 mustang would do great. Could even cut a whole in the roof and mount an M2 Browning up there. Have some real fun and the answer to the melt down of the nuclear power plants…well darn that’s simple. A car is used to drive 90 degrees to the prevailing wind. Every good soldier is taught that in my NBC classes…that is if you attended. (smile)
Employee’s cause Zombies? Prove they don’t! While I will admit I have seen a few that look like Zombies AT work..they always seem to come alive when it is time to go home. (smile)
There is an amazing demand for old cars and parts, not from Preppers but from people who buy them and rebuild and race them. There are at least three people within five miles of my place who do it for a hobby, you just need a bunch of hand tools, a cutting torch, and you have to be crazy and like to go fast. After SHTF I’m going down the hill to my neighbor’s shop and trading him a couple dwarf cows for a 1950 2 door Ford Coupe just like the one Robert Mitchum drove in Thunder Road.
I’ve got a 1979 Subaru Brat, wonder if that is safe?
It has the same engine as the VW, a 4-stroke Boxer 1600cc.
BTW, what about one of those “dust covers” for your vehicle? Somebody should make one out of tinfoil (or better). Wouldn’t that save any electronics under the cover?
If it’s a 1979 and uses a VW engine it should be pretty much proof against EMP. These engines are a 1930s design and don’t rely on computers at all, so there isn’t really anything for an EMP to destroy.
I purchased an early 90s Jeep Wrangler for $5k with a plan in mind to make it EMP survivable. To the frame reconstruction for reliability….Chev 350 rebuilt and installed, fueled by a highrise and a Holley, with the only electronics being lights, radios and distributor (spares in a Faraday cage), transmission, transfer case, etc all rebuilt. Armored panels on the inside of the doors along with other upgrades….Stopped counting after I reached $20k! The work all done by my friends and myself!
Funny thing…another friend paid $4k for a bike and it’s a nice one, but that’s twice the cost of these fictional vehicles listed in the article.
Another friend went to Canada to bring back a diesel powered Land Cruiser to swap engines in his…that was really expensive.
I don’t have a good solution, but please investigate thoroughly before you undertake a project, which a $2k rig surely will be.
Isn’t it amazing what we will do, go through, and throw money at in an attempt to be ready for something that may never happen? (smile)
Yes, it is. It’s kind of like having insurance on your car and home. Chances are you won’t wreck your car and your house won’t burn down – but you insure them anyway, just in case it DOES happen. Being prepared for an EMP or some other crisis is just the same.
If you have some energy and some time, find an older “custom vehicle”. They looked great to the guy who bought it new and they look like s*** to every one now. Last year I found a 78 ford F-350 4 door dually with a 8′ bed and a blown 460. I bought it for $400 scrap weight. The body and rears were transferred to a 78 F-250 standard cab 8′ bed frame. ( frame width on F-150’s are different). A 70 351 Cleveland was freshened up to factory specs. at 300 hp. The pedal group from the 250 fit right in under the dash and the 4 speed granny gear trans and transfer was gone over. New ring and pinions, manual locking hubs and axle bearings completed the drive-line overhaul. The only real upgrade was rear disc brakes. I did out source the shortening of the bed to the tune of $1,200. So for just under $6,000 and a lot of sweat equity I practically have a brand new truck with NO electronics on it that still looks like a piece of s*** that no self respecting thief would go near. It did take most of my “spare time” for 11 months, but when I see the beast in the front yard I can rest easy at night and it is a 5 day a week driver.
I believe that every one of the vehicles listed has an alternator and voltage regulators, both of theses will be destroyed by any large EMP. Best to get a generator and relay type voltage regulator, they should survive the EMP, but the diodes in the alternator and the solid state voltage regulator will both be fried.
You are correct about the generator and voltage regulators.I found that the bracket assemblies from a 64 Lincoln with a 435 ci motor worked on the 351 Cleveland with only a little blacksmith work.The generator was built stock with enough out put for the ac, power seats, locks and the convertible top and therefore it handles all the demands of my truck. I would urge anyone doing a project like this to be sure to stock up on spare parts.Carburetor, plugs and wires, Dist. caps. point sets and condensers, brake pads, wheel bearings, oil, air and fuel filters, U-joints etc. Store a fresh set of tires wiped with oil in a cool place out of light. As another plus we are adding, bumpers made from 8x8x 1/4″ wall box tubing with the ends set in and welded shut. This will allow for a inlet stem and a QD coupler to be attached. Both bumpers then become portable air tanks with enough air to at least get all 4 tires up to about 30 psi
A Land Rover, for under $2K?! Not on your life. I bought mine as a BASKET CASE for $4K. I’ve replaced the entire wiring harness, front brakes are now discs, new head gasket (now I have 4 not 2 cylinders) new front springs, etc etc ETC. Tough as nails. Easy to work on. Have spare ignition stored in poor man’s Faraday cages and replaced the old generator with a 100W heavy duty American alternator. IF we get EMP’d, I’m planning to offer my services to the local Police and Fire Dept, cuz things will get ugly quick.
TRY to find a Scout that isn’t a complete junker for much less than $10,000. And including the Yugo in this article is a joke–one of the worst cars ever produced.
Yes, the Yugo is a terrible car – but I’d rather have a terrible car that runs than a good one that doesn’t. The Yugo only has one thing going for it, and that’s old-fashioned, simple mechanicals. Luckily that’s just what you’re looking for after an EMP.
Think I’ll get a log and start making a canoe to get from Island to island. Other than that, I can walk or bike most of the places I need to go to work on a local farm or ranch.
We have a 71 super beetle, it has a generator. Many people converted to alternators. Generator works fine. I would love to find cheap bugs, not many around that run and are dependable. The prices on this site are not correct. In the 70’s sometime, VW went to fuel injection, alternators, etc. These are still possible to EMP proof, but 60’s to early 70 are easy to find parts for. There are plenty of VW sites that people list cars on, but expect to spend at least 5,000 for a non project car. Of course someone can get lucky, but they are becoming popular. We had more fun with the bug this year than with a rare Camaro SS. At car shows everyone was all over the beetle. This is happening everywhere and prices of beetles continue to rise. They are a good EMP car!
I was born in 1953 and grew up changing points and plugs ad nausium to everything with wheels back then…before I ever change another set of pounts ..or try and dry them out after a cold and rainy winter night just so I can get to work on time or whatever else I’ll be vonsidering doing after TSHTF…. I’LL JUST WALK!
Really. What will be the hurry then anyway?
Actually, I can’t think of anything I’d rather be doung THEN than using up my stockpiled ammo on the neighbors I’d gladly shot now were it not for the rule of law and it’s correspondingly long arm.
I’m with the person who mentioned motorcycles though 100%.
I’d give anything to have another brand new Yamaha 250 DT-1.
I have a 71 vw camper with tent. I have a emp proof car plus place to live.
If the law is the only reason you haven’t shot your neighbors, you’re most likely a garbage person. My guess is that you just like to talk and flex, and don’t bring much more than that
Instead of spending $2000 on an old car. Spend that money on a 20ft container which can be used as a giant Faraday cage. Park your current car in there. Unless you are driving one of those old clunkers when the EMP hits you are screwed if you are away from home anyway. At least with the car in the container you will be OK if the emp hits while you are home
Most containers have a wood floor. Making them about as good as screen doors on a submarine for emp protection.
Sorry a cargo container can be MODIFIED to be a Faraday Cage…… it certainly is NOT in original condition !!
#1 the floor is wood and only sits in steel cross braces, meaning tare the floor out and replace it with plate steel and more cross bracing , you must weld the new floor in 100% (no gaps, no holes and complete tie in to the exterior sheet metal
#2 the vents need BLOCKED with welded plates
#3 the doors are semi watertight, not a complete metal to metal seal
A, quick & dirty would be make plates that cover the gaps and seam in the middle. bolt in plates with ZERO leaks and 100% contact with the doors and the box itself
B long and hard would be make flanges on the back of the doors and matching flanges on the inside all spring loaded in copper, the springs would force the flanges together when the doors are colosed and dogged shut
Any comments or suggestions about an all original 1974 Ford F100?
Unless it’s had the engine replaced with a more modern unit, that should be ideal. It’s tough, has decent off road performance and the engine is a simple old-style one that’s likely to survive pretty much anything.
Thank you for your reply. We had this opinion but wanted others opinions. Still the original engine with 64,000 miles. Purchased it from the original owner who learned to drive in this vehicle. It has not been modified and is original stock.
1974 was when ford started putting electronic ignition on just about everything, if so, it shouldn’t be hard to find a points type distributor from an earlier year engine
Thank you for your reply. This is exactly what we are going to do. Just purchased a rebuilt carburetor and we will be putting the truck up on our rack shortly to go through it and replace/repair as necessary.
Article Recommendations aside. If you actually want an shtf vehicle find a 1970s Ford truck or van with a 300 ci straight 6. It is as close as you will find to a bulletproof engine. Powered everything from family cars to farm equipment. Has been built up to more than 600 hp.
If it’s a 74, please check the distributor to see if it has points and condenser, or a plate with some electronic parts on it. You should be able to find an older points and condenser distributor. Then you just have to worry about the alternator?
Where will all of you be traveling to with these souped up piece of $h!t cars? Get a decent mountain bike if you need to hit the road for close distances. Gas will be super expensive and eventually run out. You could also ride a horse, mule or a donkey. Be realistic. Maintaining a vehicle after the ZA will be near to impossible. Pep Boys and Jiffy Lube wont be around, neither will Circle K or the QT.
Some of you get kinda rude when it comes to your opinions and ideas. Myself,a bicycle would kill me! A horse is way more suited to me, where the bicycle guy would get killed by the horse. Older farm tractors on diesel are pretty bullet proof and like the man said, only needs electricity to get it started. After that unhook the battery cables. I like the container idea. Thin sheet steel purchased new like pole barn sheeting,is very economical, and easy to work with even from an old shed. The ridges in it are of no concern as they will smash down anyway. Who cares what the inside looks like as long as it’s functional. Heck! Yer wanting to store things in a garbage can for the same reason!
Don’t mean to be rude. We have an ancient mint ’79 Mercedes 450SEL 6.9 in storage, its a friggin’ tank. Sorry a bicycle would be dangerous, I can let the Sadie go for 73K…
Doesn’t the 79 Mercedes have computers to run the electronics like fuel injection etc. I have a 450SL and feel sure it has at least a built in computer to run both ignition and fuel delivery
Most of your older diesels have very little electronics other than glow plugs. Diesels use compression, not spark to ignite the fuel. Therefore no computers, no coils, no wires.Even the newer ones can be bought without any extras.
A lot of interesting information here! But, I would like to suggest some additional points of interest or concern.
1. A tool I would like to have is an EMP detector. That is; one that could detect and distinguish between the really long wave (low frequencies) of a CME from the sun, and the really short waves (high frequencies) from a high altitude nuclear source. But, I’m not aware of anything available to consumers. If anyone knows of such a device, I would be very interested in hearing more. Now imagine your lights go out and your EMP detector tells you what just happened. That could give you a great head start to put your survival plans in action. In the meantime, the rest of the city is milling around outside with their neighbors talking about how long the power outage will last. In my opinion, you will want to get underway as soon as possible to your safe place, before weird situations start organizing against your travel plans.
2. There has been a lot of talk about transportation after an EMP. But, even if your vehicle survives the pulse, where will the gas come from? If your main interest is getting to your bug out location, then maybe all you need is what’s in your tank, and maybe some extra cans of gas you have stored. But, when all the local fuels are gone, then what? And if you’re bugging in, in a big city, how much driving around do you really want to do (thinking of safety). Even if you’re in a safe location, you would never want to drive, or even ride a bicycle, any further than you could walk in case of a break down (no way to call for help). But, I could imagine the value of having a vehicle locally, in a safe location, as a labor saving device. That could be useful in giving you a head start in becoming self-sufficient while your fuel supplies last. Just like having a generator to keep your refrigerator cold for some days (assuming they still work) could help to buy time while you figure out a more permanent food source.
3. Of all the bug out vehicles mentioned above, I like the dirt bike the best, maybe with some extra carrying baskets or racks so that some things could be transported. They can go most places, even where roads don’t exist, and they don’t need much fuel. Early in the EMP event, you might want to wear a bullet proof vest, but, then cars aren’t much protection either.
4. One step further, is to use the same kind of bike that is battery powered! They perform well, they’re range is continuing to increase, and they are silent! Assuming you have figured out that one charge will get you to your bug out location, you’re home free. But, of course, the electronic controllers would have to be EMP proofed. And, if you have your ducks lined up, you would have a few solar panels at your safe house, safely stored against EMP effects. Once you bring them out, you can charge the bike for future use and power other stuff at your new living quarters.
5. My guess, as it has been suggested, whoever lobs the first EMP bomb, will probably wait for some days or weeks until the survivors establish their alternative energy contraptions. Then lob another one to take out our backup systems. This suggests at least 2 things. If one gets underway as soon as possible to their safe house, they will probably get there before a 2nd EMP hits, possibly disabling the backup electronics you just installed on your wheels. And 2nd, I would think that one would want to minimize the exposure time to a possible 2nd pulse by only bringing out your sensitive stuff when actually needed, maybe for up to many months.
Post EMP life will be challenging.
Just saying that after an EMP destroys and strands tens of millions of cars everywhere and makes them useless, availability of the gasoline out of their tanks shouldn’t be much of a problem for at least a year and most likely much longer.
Anyone have any suggestions about my all original 1974 Ford F100 with automatic transmission? What should I do to it for it to possibly survive an EMP?
Many ’74s had the first generation Duraspark electronic ignoition, keep a protected sparre ignition module, pickup, and coild in an ammo can for insurance (see my general post)
There is no such thing as an EMP-proof mechanism, only various degrees of resistance. Older vehicles have their own foibles in a SHTF situation, such as the inability to deal with sub standard fuels. In general, a Diesel with mechanical injection or a vehicle with breaker ignition might be the best from and electrical standpoint, but the reliability in every other respect is worse. My advise would be to keep a spare ignition module or two, wrapped in foil, in an ammo can. Ditto for any other solid state device (HT’s, etc.)
Thank you for your reply. Good advice. I am going to replace the existing components and have spares stored and protected as well as replacement starter and alternator.
I took the computer out of my truck and replaced the ignition system with a ’72 ignition.Just in case.
Well, after several weeks now, I still have just one question to ask everyone who contributed to this thread…
You’ll have the only vehicle running and plenty of people willing to kill you for it.
Where will you go? What will you be able to buy when you get there and what are the chances that you’ll find enough fuel to GET BACK?
Assuming you aren’t already home, it MIGHT BE of SOME use to get you BACK home, as long as you NEVER again go more than half a tank full of fuel away from home.
Nope…if you are REALLY worried about an EMP attack you might consider easing your troubled mind by…buying a horse.
Better yet, buy a mule.
You’ll get more work out of a mule than several trucks with questionable re-engerneering, few people will want him bad enough to kill for and if he dies you’ll have plenty of meat for the smoker. Not many eddible parts on ANY old trucks that I can think of. Then there’s the added bonus of not having to worry about him going blind.
I’ve always believed getting buried in the past was a mistake…a gas guzzeling truck, at that point, will be going back to a past that got you into the mess you will be in…then.
Learning how to live the way they lived before Henery Ford was born might be a much better way to insure your survival.
Catman makes down to earth sense. As I wrote earlier in this thread, getting gas will be a problem. One entry suggested there would be plenty of gas in abandoned car gas tanks. But, that could be risky, and by the end of the first month, everyone else will have gotten all the gas available. Then you would be limited to what you have stockpiled.
As Catman suggested, once you reach your bug out location, there’s little use for a car. But, I would add that if your bug out location is a safe place to operate a vehicle, it could be a great labor savor – as long as the gas lasts. For example; living in the forest in the North West, there is plenty of down wood to use for home heating. But collecting it is very labor intensive without a vehicle. How many wheel barrel loads will it take on foot from up to a ½ mile away? Whereas a fully loaded pickup can carry a cord of fire wood, providing you cut it to size in the forest to maximize your space efficiency. It’s been reported that a pioneer would need to stock pile 10-12 cords of fire wood, before winter to survive till next spring. In a reasonably insulated house today, it might take 2-4 cords to make it through the winter. If a wheel barrel can carry 6 cubic feet of wood, it would take 21+ wheel barrels loads, just to claim 1 cord (128 cubic feet). Should also mention that one’s chain saw and log splitter are great labor savors too, but they also need gas. Occasional use of a generator for power tools is a great labor savor too. So, one cannot afford any unnecessary driving.
As written before, I think a reasonable alternative approach might be to have an electrically powered 4 wheeler, side-by-side, UTV. They seem to compare quite well with their gas counterpart. They have far fewer moving parts to fail and could be charged by your solar panels, which could also replace your generator to power other tools etc. In theory, the weakest link in the electrics is the battery. But recent lithium’s should last for more than 10 years. Preserving the computer/controllers through an EMP would be the same challenge as a gas powered car or truck. And the solar panels would have to be protected from an EMP.
Without gas or electricity, life will be very labor intensive. In theory a horse seems like a good alternative. But, where will the horse come from? In today’s technology filled world, the population of horses vs. humans is pretty small. And their population will get even smaller when people are starving. Even if you have one, it needs food – even through the winter. With no other mechanization, how does one grow the alfalfa, etc? How about shoeing and veterinary needs? Not saying they are not useful. Just that they are another addition to one’s labor budget – especially if you’re not already set up for one. A small electrically powered vehicle needs virtually no maintenance when it’s not being used.
Ahhh, the Yugo.
Wouldn’t be my first choice, or actually even on my list with 30+ choices.
But it won’t take people long to figure out what types of vehicles are still capable of running, and some will mark the ones they actually spot on the move. And that’s when anybody lucky enough to have one has just become a prime target for attack and theft.
However, much like a greyman in car form, you could probably leave a Yugo parked on your front lawn, the door wide open and keys in the ignition and it STILL probably wouldn’t occur to anyone not ‘in the know’ to give it a second look.
Think of it like an emergency escape pod. When everything else has gone to pot, and you need to make a desperate, last ditch abrupt run from wherever you’ve been hunkered down, it can probably get you swiftly (more so than on foot) a few miles out of harm’s way, or farther.
Short of a rock, there is no such thing as “EMP proof”, as even delicate mechanical assemblies can be subject to damage from a large intensity pulse. For me, I would go the older GM vehicle route, with a spare alternator and HEI distributor stored in a shield box (think ammo can with copper tape around all the joints). (mid seventies and up GM vehicles have unitized alternators and distributors which are easy to repair and replace).
There is no such thing. Save spare parts for your vehicle in a faraday cage.
Matter of interest where will you get gasoline from the gas stations wont work either and those old Chevy’s etc., only did about 8 miles to the gallon heck I have a 2001 Chevy truck that dont do much more than that now and its got a more modern engine, Also dont bother with Ford trucks I had a 71 that had that stupid black box on it I have a Triumph Spitfire I use occasionally that will do me okay still the question of Gasoline.
Without power, refining, etc there won’t be any fuel.
Ethanol powered – eats up gaskets and aluminum parts.
VW Beetles (air cooled) have problems with #3 cylinder going out. This is why people put oil coolers on those.
And then there are parts – dang hard to find parts now for newer vehicles (supply chain issues). Obsolete parts are even harder to find.
Remember, brakes and tires do wear out often compared to other hard parts.
Oil changes? Where will you get the oil and the filters?
Air filters? Fuel filters?
HEADLIGHTS? Try finding those glass headlights….
EMP proof your vehicle – install a manual battery disconnect switch and turn off power at the battery.
Any one of these that has an electronic charging system will be effect by EMP, not just electronic ignition and timing systems. So older than 1963 potentially – they had mechanical voltage regulators. If it has a transistor it likely will be effected. The EMP pulse destroys NPN and PNP junctions in transistors, and any tech that is based on that. The smaller the device, the more susceptible it will be to large power spikes. Remember too that electronic fuel pumps – like those found in the VW could be effected. Wire acts as an antenna, likely winding in those fuel pump armatures might fuse together, same with the starter. At home – electric lines that run parallel to the ground act as a natural antenna and will attenuate to any broadband spike. It all depends on what is between you and the EMP, a mountain will diminish the EMP if it is between you and it. The closer you are the bigger the effect and power transferred. In the end, nobody REALLY knows what will happen fully.
From what I read that EMP only affects electronics that are powered on.
Or power to them.
Disconnect power at the battery.
Older cars from the 1960’s and before had generators and mechanical voltage regulators.
Many even had vacuum assist from the fuel pump to the windshield wipers! Fuel pump did both jobs.
Step on the gas and the wipers stopped lol
An air start diesel with mechanical fuel pump and injectors is EMP proof.
You just need the fuel, filters, etc.
No one really knows what will result from a serious EMP, but if we encounter an EMP strong enough to disable the majority of vehicles, then being able to drive through all the disabled vehicles and obstacles to get from one disaster area to another is pretty low on my priorities. I would be much more concerned with loss of utilities, and the aftermath of disease, fires, and violence that will follow.
I like the idea of the Rabbit diesel (small, enclosed, excellent milage and runs on diesel) but trying to find one that is reliable may not be realistic. You may want to get a bike, or any pull or kick-start type two or four-wheeled transport, even a go-cart / dune buggy, that can navigate around inoperable vehicles and obstacles to travel short distances for things like obtaining water.
In an opinion not worth much , after an EMP strike of any kind NOT many Americans will survive. The odds by day 4 60% will have died by indirect means. ( other people, no water, fire, weather conditions, illness they already have, unknown veritables no one can begin to realize as of yet). This is a nightmare the whole planet fears not only America!
You can buy an EMP Shield for your car for about $400. It hooks up easily in less than 15 minutes to your battery and will also take a direct lightning strike. No need to buy an old vehicle. They also sell them for your home or motorcycle. This is what the army uses.