Preview – Transport – Tomcar Dirty Deeds
Photography By Henry Z. De Kuyper
From Desert Dunes to Asphalt Jungles, the Tomcar Proves that Big Things Come in Small Packages
If at first blush you thought this was just another sandrail, dune buggy, or UTV, we regret to inform you that you couldn’t be more wrong. While it could be used to haul coolers and ditzy girls while you’re hanging out at Glamis listening to Crazy Town, bro, the Tomcar is a military-grade off-road vehicle that’s the culmination of progressive engineering and practical accessorizing. In other words, when shit gets hairy in the field, the guys at Tomcar have anticipated the contingencies and designed the vehicle around them. While the Tomcar is available to the public, the TM5 model we’re showing you is an example of one created as part of a fleet that was deployed in South Asia and outfitted with several non-standard features for that type of environment.
A major problem currently faced in designing a vehicle for combat is the IED threat. A vehicle is already a moving target, and while the obvious reaction to increase armor might make sense on paper, in battle conditions it’s often proved to make vehicles larger and slower moving targets, which are obliged to run on predictable routes. The Tomcar’s designers took a different approach creating a vehicle that is evasive, agile, and carries a very high payload for its size. It’s hard (but not impossible) to hit a target that’s small, quick, and can go off the map to avoid IEDs altogether. Initially conceived as an infantry mule, the Tomcar is resilient and powerful enough to carry men and supplies to the front line, and carry wounded out — something larger vehicles can’t do in certain situations.
One of its most unique features is its frame. This is no bolt-together Erector Set deal. Over 300 pieces have been seamlessly welded together. Several different grades of steel are used throughout the frame’s construction for increased durability at stress points. Lighter varieties are used in other areas to keep the overall weight down and maintain a low center of gravity for balance. The side steps that extend beyond the width of the cab also serve to protect occupants during a rollover.
With 15 inches of ground clearance and a standard 1,200-pound payload for the diesel engine (shown), the Tomcar TM5 is built to traverse rough terrain, especially when hauling a heavy load. An aircraft-grade, full-length aluminum skidplate under the belly helps prevent debris from slowing the momentum of the vehicle during travel.
The rear swing arms and longer-than-average chromoly A-arms in the front allow for 13 inches of suspension travel. You might be asking yourself, “Why chromoly? That’s soft.” Exactly. It’s meant to absorb any impact energy so you can keep going. A bent A-arm will help you GTFO. A broken one will leave you stranded. The final drive is part of the rear swing arm system, which allows for a greater degree of movement than a typical rear A-arm system — plus it’s encased in a sealed oil bath.
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