Inventor re-purposes old tractor into an all-terrain, armored ‘rhino tank’

Rhino Tank Colin Furze
Colin Furze's Rhino Tank: A reimagination of a classic, built from a repurposed tractor, showcasing distinctive hemispherical wheels. Images © Colin Furze

In a riveting blend of inventive engineering and retrospective homage, the acclaimed inventor and prolific YouTuber Colin Furze embarked on an ambitious project that married the design principles of the past with the innovation of the present. The task at hand was audacious – to resurrect the Rhino, a 1950s all-terrain vehicle concept originally conceived by Greek-American inventor Elie Aghnides, by adapting and transforming an ordinary farm tractor.

Furze’s interpretation of the Rhino, affectionately dubbed the ‘Rhino Tank,’ paid faithful homage to the unique aesthetic and functional design of the original model. The Rhino was notable for its colossal hemispherical wheels, an unusual design element that Furze keenly incorporated in his modern interpretation. The ultimate goal was to realize Aghnides’ original vision of a vehicle capable of weathering any terrain – the more the Rhino sunk into the mud, the more traction it was designed to gain.

To test this distinctive design theory, Furze ventured into muddy terrain, a crucible for his innovative creation. His adaptation of the Rhino tank involved a careful retrofitting of custom-built parts, manufactured from a steel-like material, onto the tractor’s original frame and wheels. This approach ensured the core mechanics of the vehicle were preserved, facilitating a smooth and seamless motion. However, the real test of engineering mettle was the muddy landscape that Furze plunged into with his Rhino Tank.

With more than a decade of experience in invention and vehicle modification, Furze was fully prepared for the inevitable challenges. As the Rhino Tank entered the mud, it became ensnared, its front wheels spinning futilely in an attempt to gain traction. Furze speculated that the problem might lie in the retrofitting of the large hemispherical wheels into slots originally designed for much smaller tractor wheels. This mismatch possibly resulted in inadequate torque, leaving the wheels unable to spin effectively when confronted with challenging terrains.

Rhino Tank Colin Furze Testing
Colin Furze tested the Rhino Tank on challenging terrains, from sticky mud to shallow water.

Nevertheless, a minor setback didn’t dissuade the resolute inventor. Equipped with a larger crane machine, Furze managed to extract the immobilized Rhino Tank from its muddy trap, ready for the next stage of his testing regime: water trials.

Aghnides’ original design incorporated the capability for the Rhino’s hemispherical wheels to facilitate flotation. Despite Furze’s initial skepticism about his modified vehicle’s ability to float – due to the displacement and materials used in the modification process – he decided to test the Rhino Tank’s aquatic capabilities. His leap of faith into a shallow body of water initially appeared successful. The vehicle didn’t exactly float but managed to navigate the watery terrain before, inevitably, it once again became trapped.

Rhino Tank Colin Furze Stuck in Water
Despite its innovative design, Colin Furze’s Rhino Tank experiences a hiccup, getting stuck during its water test in a shallow reservoir.

These trials, despite their seeming failures, were invaluable learning opportunities. Furze concluded that one of the reasons the original Rhino tank never supplanted traditional military tanks was the risk of water ingress if the tank’s integrity was compromised, potentially causing the tank to sink and hamper its ability to resurface.

Conclusively, Furze’s venture into the Rhino Tank project was more of an educational journey than a comprehensive triumph of engineering. While he acknowledged that he typically refrains from sharing unsuccessful experiments, he made an exception in this case, stating, “it is good to show your mistakes, and we can all learn from it.”

Rhino Tank Colin Furze View from Afar
Viewing from a distance, Colin Furze’s innovative Rhino Tank stands out, showcasing its unique hemispherical wheels and armored frame.

Furze’s adventures with the Rhino Tank, setbacks and all, serve as a testament to the spirit of innovation and the relentless pursuit of improvement. While the Rhino Tank may not be primed for military use or commercial production just yet, it offers a unique insight into the trials and triumphs of revisiting past designs with a modern lens. It stands as a prime example of the iterative process that forms the backbone of invention and discovery, illustrating that each ‘failure’ is merely a stepping stone towards future success.

1950 Rhino Tank Elie Aghnides
1950s ‘Rhino Tank’ by Elie Aghnides

Ultimately, Furze’s Rhino Tank project goes beyond a simple experiment in engineering. It becomes an inspiring narrative about the essence of innovation, a compelling tale of ingenuity, persistence, and the ceaseless journey of learning from the past to build a better future. Check out the video below to know more.

Source: Colin Furze