Offbeat Video

By Charles Wade-Palmer

A self-taught mechanic with an obsession for military vehicles has put his Soviet tank, seized by the British, on Ebay for £30,000.


Joe Hewes, 23, from Leicester listed his huge tank on Ebay but feared it would breach the site’s no weaponry rules.

Now thousands of views later on the sale page for his T54 Type 69 Main Battle tank, Joe is confident of a sale.

Joe said: “I put it on ebay as a bit of a laugh really, I thought they’d take it off because it’s technically a weaponised vehicle.

“But it’s now got thousands and thousands of views so if it was breaking rules it would have been removed by now.

“Now I’m the only seller in the country to list a tank this calibre on Ebay.”

Raised on a farm, Joe decided following in his father’s footsteps was not for him choosing the life of a mechanic instead.

The self-taught 23-year-old petrol head already has seven years of mucking about with military vehicles under his belt and is now selling his prized possession.

Joe said: “I’m a mechanic by trade so it’s a funny thing to learn how to apply my knowledge to a battle tank which was without tracks and a fully functioning engine when I got it.

Pic by Michael Scott/Caters News

“I bought it without knowing if it could ever get going but I got the tracks on, worked on the engine and got it rolling, although I had a couple of issues with it at first.

“Without a Russian book it’s hard to work out what to do, I found a PDF document online but I don’t speak Russian at all so it was all pictures and guess work.

“I could get it to turn left but not right which is a slight problem if you want to navigate a military grade tank but I hit it with a couple of spanners and fiddled about which seemed to do the trick.

“I buy and sell military vehicles and have done for a while now, I started off with Land Rovers, then armoured personal carriers and now the odd tank too.

The tank now, advertised on Ebay for a cool £30,000 was brought back from Iraq by British armed forces and left for ruin.

Pic by Michael Scott/Caters News

In a treaty of friendship between the former USSR and China, Stalin’s Russia supplied the latter with several T-54 tanks before his death in 1953.

The exact history of Joe’s tank is unknown but closer inspection reveals it is a Chinese copy of the T-54 design and manufactured under the designation Type 59.

Joe: “It was captured in Iraq and brought back to a barracks in Britain, there’s always a lot of history to these sort of things.

“It’s done nothing for many years, so I’m hoping to find it a good home.”