Scenic Rim Veterans Group members showed their support to local business by taking a tour of Tank Ride at Tamborine on Wednesday.
According to owner Tim Wood, Tank Ride is the second largest private collection of military armoured vehicles in Australia and boasts the biggest collection of working Centurion tanks in the world.
The opportunity to take a ride in a real army tank had been a drawcard up until March but Mr Wood said business had taken a pounding since travel restrictions were enforced due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Two thirds of our visitors prior to COVID were from interstate or overseas," he said.
"Before then we were booked solid every weekend. Tourists stopped coming and this is the first time we've actually gone backwards.
Mr Wood said the situation became so dire that he had to sell his car and a truck to avoid selling off the collection of army vehicles, 90 percent of which were now in working order thanks to a lot of time, money and effort.
The former professional BMX national champion, said he had wanted to own a tank since his father bought him a remote control version when he was six-years-old.
"I just wanted the one tank to take on as a restoration project so when I retired from BMX riding, I bought one and got it running," he said.
"Obviously it grew from there and I've been collecting for 10 years now, running Tank Ride for seven years."
"When I was a child Dad took me to the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. I climbed on a tank and unlucky for me, security came along and said I could be doing that.
"So now whenever kids come here, I make sure they can climb on and have a ride as long as it is safe to do that."
Mr Wood said every vehicle in his collection had a story to tell and shared the provenance of a Mark 3 Ferret, a British built armoured car used by Australian soldiers during the Vietman war.
"This one was owned by an 85-year-old gentleman who named it after his mum, Ruby," he said.
"I picked up a veteran client from Rochedale who came here for his 60th birthday.
"I drove it on the M1 and he couldn't believe how well it runs.
"When I first started collecting my focus was on design and structure but as I bought each vehicle the people and stories behind each one of them became more important.
Mr Wood said he was happy to welcome the veterans from the Scenic Rim and said the business hoped to survive the damage caused by COVID-19 by focusing on local customers.
Bookings can be made online at tankride.com.au
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