Why Arnold Schwarzenegger Paid $20,000 to Ship a Military Tank From Austria to the US

Arnold Schwarzenegger is a cultural icon who is known to many as the star of action films like The Terminator and Total Recall. Schwarzenegger evidenced a passion for politics after he became a global superstar, and went on to serve as the 38th governor of California from 2003 until 2011.

While his political career and his personal life have been affected by some serious scandals, Schwarzenegger has always owned his faults to his fans. These days, Schwarzenegger has mostly retired from acting as well as politics, but he still devotes his time to charitable pursuits — using several of his expensive vehicles to bring aid to others. 

Arnold Schwarzenegger grew up in Austria

Arnold Schwarzenegger in a blue jacket looking to his right
Arnold Schwarzenegger | The Chosunilbo JNS/Imazins via Getty Images

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Schwarzenegger was born in Austria in 1947. Schwarzenegger grew up in difficult circumstances, with a father who was reportedly violent on occasion and even identified as a former member of the Nazi Party. The actor later admitted that he suffered what would now be considered child abuse at the hands of his father, and was never fully able to reconcile what he found out about his father’s dark past.

When he was 18 years old, Schwarzenegger served in the Austrian Army in order to complete the mandatory one year of service that was required of all young Austrian men at that time. It was during his time in the service that he really developed his devotion to physical fitness, and he started actively participating in bodybuilding competitions. 

Arnold Schwarzenegger owns his own tank

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At the age of 20, Schwarzenegger won the Mr. Universe title. After having reached the pinnacle of fame in the sport of bodybuilding, Schwarzenegger decided to pursue a career as an actor, enjoying his big breakthrough in the sword and sandal epic Conan the Barbarian.

By the early ’90s, Schwarzenegger was one of the biggest stars in the world, well known for his imposing physical stature as well as his unique accent.

As one of the wealthiest Hollywood stars of that time, Schwarzenegger definitely had the ability to finance some of his wilder passions — and in 1992, he indulged his love for tanks and military vehicles by purchasing an M47 Patton tank. Schwarzenegger had the 50-ton Austrian war vehicle flown to the United States for a fee of $20,000, and still owns it to this day, although he has had several renovations done to the tank to give it a facelift. 

What does Arnold Schwarzenegger do with his tank these days?

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In addition to Schwarzenegger’s fascination with tanks, he is admittedly a huge fan of all large vehicles. Not only was the high-profile actor the first United States civilian to purchase a Humvee, but he was able to leverage his unique relationship with AM General to redesign the vehicle for the civilian market, according to the Washington Post. Eventually, AM General was able to produce a street-legal version of the Humvee, and Schwarzenegger bought several of the massive vehicles.

These days, Schwarzenegger still displays his love for tanks and Humvees, although he tends to use them for more charitable purposes. In fact, he uses it in order to incentivize young students to stay in school by promising the kids a ride in his tank after their school day is over. As Schwarzenegger told Jay Leno: “I bring kids out here from the after-school programs. When they stay in school their reward is to come out here and drive tanks with me.”

Clearly, Schwarzenegger is not only willing to indulge his wilder hobbies, but loves giving back and sharing his love of tanks and war vehicles with others.