For Luke Janquitto, collecting vintage military vehicles is like eating potato chips. “You can’t have just one,” he says.
Indeed, Luke and his father, Dan, both of Island Heights, have amassed a collection of more than roughly 1,000 pieces, many of which are on display at the new Military Technology Museum of New Jersey at Camp Evans in Wall Township.
In all, the museum has about 100 U.S. and foreign military vehicles, spanning from World War II to the Cold War. It also showcases New Jersey’s contribution to wartime manufacturing. “New Jersey was a hotbed for everything needed for the war effort,” says Dan Janquitto, who started the collection in the 1960s with a few purchases from military surplus stores.
The museum also rotates items on loan from other collectors. “We search out unusual vehicles that collectors are willing to loan, as opposed to the more standard vehicles that you see in other museums,” says Dan.
The rarest item at the museum, the AquaCheetah, is an early amphibious vehicle that never made it to the manufacturing line; amphibious Jeeps beat it to the punch. One of two prototypes known to exist, it’s “equivalent to a unicorn,” says Luke. Each vehicle has its own story, he adds, such as the World War II cargo truck with working headlights that was used as a “glorified lamp” in a production of South Pacific.
Through October, the museum is open 1-5 pm Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday. In the winter months, tours are available by appointment.Click here to leave a comment