British Saracen
Armoured Personnel Carrier
Model FV603
(click image for large view)
Shortly after WWII the British began to develop the FV600 series of 6X6 armoured vehicles. The initial vehicles were the Saladin armoured car, an armoured command vehicle, and the Saracen APC. Alvis LTD completed the first prototype in 1952 and the first production vehicle at the end of the same year. The Saracen was the standard APC in the British Army until it began being replaced by the FV432 in 1963.

The Saracen was used for many years as an internal security vehicle. Reportedly 1838 Saracen APCs were produced. A variety of variants were built including the APC, the command post vehicles, and an ambulance. The Saracen is of an all-welded steel hull with primary access gained thru the double doors on the rear. The driver sits centered in the front with the commander/gunner immediately behind him. Four troop seats line each side of the rear. The APC normally has a machine gun (MG) turret as well as a ring for an externally mounted MG over the top rear hull. Two sets of three smoke dischargers are mounted on the front fenders. The Saracen has no amphibious capability other than a deep fording kit.

Specs For Mk1 APC
Crew: 2 + 10
Engine: Rolls Royce B80 inline 8 cylinder petrol engine
Transmission: Preselect 5 speed
Top Speed: 45 mph
Weight (empty): 19,180 lbs
Height: 8 ft 0 in (turret)
Length: 16 ft 4 in
Width: 8 ft 3 in
Electrical System: 24 volt
Tires: 12.00 X 20 Run Flats

Notes For Collectors: The Saracen would have to be considered as a medium size wheeled vehicle. It obviously has excellent cross country performance but on the down side the extra axle increases the amount of maintenance. As mentioned previously parts are readily available as many are in common with other British AFVs. Several Saracens are used by law enforcement agencies across the US. As with any armoured vehicle, I highly recommend storing it inside or at least undercover. Saracens are still available on the collectors market.