The WARN Pinzgauer
Written: December 14, 2011
I've been with Warn Industries for more than five years. In that time I've gotten to know the history of the company, seen pictures of unique older product, and learned about past WARN project vehicles. We've had quite a bit of vehicles associated with our brand, but this one I hadn't heard about until recently.
While on ExpeditionPortal.com
last month, I ran across a thread where a Nissan Patrol owner was talking about the old "WARN Pinz." Wait a minute ... Warn Industries had a Pinzgauer? For those unfamiliar with the vehicle, a Pinzgauer
(or "Pinz" for short) is an extremely capable European off-road vehicle that was often used in European military applications. But like many older off-road military vehicles, they can be purchased for civilian use. I replied to the thread on Expedition Portal, and mentioned how I would've loved to have seen the WARN Pinz, and didn't know we had one.
I started to ask around the office about the vehicle. A few people knew that Mike Warn, as in former owner of Warn Industries, indeed had a Pinzgauer over in Europe and believed he ran it in a European off-road rally. Details were scarce. But, shortly after hearing about the Pinz, someone posted several photos of the vehicle on our Facebook page
In a quest to learn more about this 6x6, I sent a message to the poster of the images, Ian Westmoreland, who said he actually owned the WARN Pinz--a 1975 model 712--for a while. According to Ian, Mike Warn had the vehicle prepped in Germany to run in the 1994 Transylvania Trophy, and did compete in the event. It wasn't modified too much except for the exocage/snorkel, racing seats, safety equipment, some aluminum storage boxes, and the WARN paint scheme.
Ian said Mike wanted to bring the vehicle to the U.S., but it couldn't be imported because it was newer than 25 years of age at the time. Instead, Mike sold the vehicle in Germany where it was used as a support vehicle in Europe and North Africa.
In 2000 the truck was imported into the U.S. by Sean Philyaw, who runs EuroTruck Importers
. The vehicle was sold to a buyer in Indiana, then Ian bought the vehicle in 2002.
"When I got the truck, it had seen many years of hard use," Ian said. "I installed a 9,500 lb. WARN winch
, redid and updated the suspension, put new brakes all around, added a new clutch, and new ignition." Ian also installed a set of 34" x 9.5" boggers.
Ian drove the Pinz around Wyoming for a few years until he sold it in 2005. He apparently had contacted Mike and asked if he'd like to buy it back, but he declined. Ian sold the vehicle to a local buyer in 2007 and hasn't seen it since.
Perhaps the illusive WARN Pinzguaer is still out there somewhere. Who knows? Maybe the ex-Austrian Army vehicle will surface again (most were actually ex-Swiss vehicles, so this one was even more rare). To me, it remains one of the most interesting WARN vehicles the company has ever had.
A big thanks to Ian Westmoreland for passing on this information and for letting use his photos.
Filed under: Truck/Jeep/SUV