The last working Vietnam war tank fails to sell at auction

THE only working Centurion MK tank has gone up for sale, but attracted little interest from buyers.

The military vehicle was among four tanks to go under the hammer along with some smaller items from the collection at Tank Ride at Tamborine.

The Centurion MK did not make reserve price, which was more than $100,000

Tank Ride owner Tim Wood said the sale was part of a strategy to keep the facility running after the business took a hit during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"It was a tough decision made in tough times," he said.

"We have six Centurions and decided to sell four of them just to consolidate a bit and ensure we can remain open."

"In order to survive we just have to downsize a little."

Mr Wood said the tanks were more than just nuts and bolts to him and it would be difficult to let them go.

"They have an amazing history and they have given me so much.

"The bridge laying Centurion is the last of its kind in the world but we haven't found the right custodian yet," he said.

Mr Wood said Tank World remained open for business and was taking bookings online, after an open day and demonstration of the tanks on Saturday.

"We have 25 tanks and a large collection of military motorbikes, trikes and pushbikes here and we are open six days a week for bookings," he said.

In November last year, the Scenic Rim Veterans Group took a tour of the second largest private collection of military armoured vehicles in Australia with 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 last year but Mr Wood said business had taken a pounding since.

"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.

At the time 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 in working order thanks to a lot of time, money and effort.

The former professional national BMX 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."

Some smaller items under auction found new homes but Mr Wood said the tanks including MK3 and MK5 gun tanks as well as the bridge laying Centurion and a training tank used to teach new recruits looked like they would be staying at the Tamborine property for now.