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Arnold Schwarzenegger has been many men: Austrian immigrant and businessman, championship-winning bodybuilder, Hollywood’s highest-paid leading man, and Governor of California. Remaining larger than life for decades required him to grow and change. He was so enamored the first time he saw a HUMVEE that he begged AM General to modify the SUV for on-street use, inspiring the civilian Hummer. Years later, he became a fierce climate change advocate, instrumental in California’s modern emissions laws. The owner of the first gasoline-powered H1 is now the proud owner of the first electric Hummer. And if the Terminator actor can learn to change to protect the planet, perhaps we all can.

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s first love: a tank

Wait! Why does Schwarzenegger own a tank? It’s not like any of his neighbors are going to mess with him anyway.

Austria has mandatory military service. When Schwarzenegger signed up for the Army at 18, he became a tanker. His was a US-built 1951 M-47 Patton tank that used an 810 horsepower Chrysler V12. Young Arnold loved his tank. Like, a lot. Like, after he made it big, he bought his tank from the Austrian Army and spent $20k to ship it to California.

You can’t make this stuff up. Literally, everything about this man is gloriously over-the-top.

Schwarzenegger still has his tank and offers rides as prizes for charity auctions or to at-risk youth who manage to stay in school. The story of Arnold and his tank is wholesome enough that even the strictest environmentalists might overlook this beast’s 2.3 MPG rating.

Does Arnold Schwarzenegger have a car collection?

Bodybuilder/actor/Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is a big fan of military vehicles, beyond his beloved tank. This passion extends to the AMC General H1 Hummer and the Mercedes G-Class (which also hails from his native Austria). He has had many of his SUVs modified to run on alternative fuels such as biodiesel, hydrogen, and electricity.

Bodybuilder/actor/governor Arnold Schwarzenegger drives an Army green Hummer SUV through Los Angelese.
Arnold Schwarzenegger in his Hummer | BG004/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images via Getty Images

In 1990, Schwarzenegger was waiting for his tank to arrive and filming Kindergarten Cop in Oregon when he saw a convoy of HUMVEEs drive by. Lou Pitts, Schwarzenegger’s agent, remembers, “He just went ape for that machine…I mean, it was big, it was unique, and it was something that was larger than him.” (Fantastic: The Life of Arnold Schwarzenegger).

Maybe Schwarzenegger was bummed his new tank wasn’t road legal. Maybe he just needed new wheels befitting of his Hollywood Star status. He called AM General, and the rumor is that he convinced them the Hummer would sell in the civilian market. When they gave in, he bought the first one.

Over the years, Schwarzenegger bought more Hummers, of multiple generations. He is also a big fan of the Mercedes G Wagon. The G Wagon, like Arnold, is built in Austria. So when Mercedes announced the first-ever full G-Class redesign at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show, it was no shocker that Schwarzenegger took the stage as the SUV’s celebrity spokesperson.

Did Arnold Schwarzenegger create California’s vehicle emissions limits?

Governor Schwarzenegger’s predecessor, Governor Gray Davis, signed California’s first law requiring automakers to limit vehicle emissions. Schwarzenegger signed a statewide cap on greenhouse gases, which regulated many additional industries.

The Schwarzenegger Climate Initiative nonprofit adds that Arnold is proud of his Low Carbon Fuel Standard and Million Solar Roofs Initiative, transforming California into “the global leader in combating climate change.” It is true that a dozen states have begun to adopt California’s vehicle emissions laws.

Arnold has tried to lead the way with his own fleet. He first experimented by converting all his Hummer H1s to run on biodiesel. Then he had one of his G Wagons and one of his Hummers converted into fully electric vehicles, years before Mercedes and GM released EV prototypes of these SUVs. But he has made no moves to get rid of his beloved tank.

You can see Schwarzenegger’s electric G Wagon on Jay Leno’s Garage in the video below: