The collapse of the United States of America was followed by the formation of more than a dozen short lived successor states, including the unfortunately named Coalition of Midwestern Americans. For the entirety of its twelve year history the Coalition was engaged in active war with the Russo-American Mercantile, a conflict which ended at mutual collapse of both nations.
A secret inherited by the Coalition at the dissolution of the USA was silksteel alloys – so named because until their invention, spider silk had the highest tensile strength of any terrestrial substance known to science. Silksteel was the product of attempts by the United States to meet the demands for new materials that were flexible and strong enough to withstand the incredible stresses of the robotic factories. The creation of silksteel relied on reactions involving metal borides.
One of the first (and ultimately one of the only) military projects undertaken by the Coalition was research dedicated to discovering the chemical composition of silksteel for use in vehicle anti-ballistic armor plating. The exact stoichiometry of silksteel alloys remained the subject of debate through the end of the Coalition.
Coalition strategists felt that the production of armored fast attack vehicles was of critical importance to survival in the new world. The theory held that due to the economic potential of world powers having been largely shattered, traditional combat doctrines had been rendered irrelevant. The presumption was that the coming conflicts would have to be fought principally, if not entirely, with weapons and tactics fifty years out of date at the time of the disaster.
The claim was that the nation state that was able to effectively martial its limited pool of existing resources to create an effective fighting force for a new style of “old” warfare would rise to dominance. The adaptation of existing technology for the new environment would be the key.
Given the absence of once abundant robotics, guidance systems, satellite networks, air power, and effective long range communication, along with the prohibitive expense of artillery and other munitions in the new world, the Coalition leadership envisioned an army of low-cost, low-maintenance, easy to transport, wheeled vehicles that would be based on the same hull style. The weaponry designed for these vehicles was planned to be shorter range in return for more penetrating power that would favor close range engagements. This fleet of vehicles would rely on mobility to make this strategy combat doctrine.
How did this proposed theory result in a 1000 horsepower 50 lb-ft torque Hellephant-V8 powered Charger widebody immune to small arms fire and light anti-tank weapons?
Several teams were given the charge of operationalizing the use of silksteel armor in a Coalition combat vehicle. None would succeed, but the group “humorously” self-named Project Satan would deliver into the world six nigh-invulnerable muscle cars that were used for stress testing and proof of concept.
After the fall of the Coalition, three of the six silksteel cars were destroyed by weapons powerful enough to bypass their armor. One was driven into a swamp in Alabama where it remains to this day, much to the delight of an ornery snapping turtle that makes it a home. The other two were used by a succession of incrementally more primitive raiders and post-apocalyptic psychopaths as any such things as States and Coalitions and militaries and governments faded into a dream. Once the gasoline reserves were gone, they were both abandoned in favor of new vehicles made from the bones of the old that had the advantage of being able to use the fuel available.
The two remaining coalition test vehicles were never scrapped out to become new apocalypse-mobiles because their engines were useless in the new world and being made out of super-dense silksteel meant they were immune to the crowbars and crude cutting tools of the new breed of engineers.
The vehicle now known as “J-Lo” sat untouched in what was once called the Black Rock Desert for decades before a mechanic known as Crazy Mel decided to convert it to run on bio-fuel used by contemporary vehicles. Why do they call him Crazy Mel? Because he does things like converting old super armored muscle cars to run on bio-fuel instead of using his god given talents to make proper junkmobiles and scrapcycles. Also because he wanders the wastelands instead of staying put where people can find him and pay him dead lizards to do mechanic stuff.
After the conversion was completed Mel apocalypsed the vehicle up a bit with some skulls and other ornamentation, added some removable armor plates in place of windows and windshields and then rolled into the Road Hog swap meeting hoping to score big. Like those of many a high school senior on prom night, his hopes were never to come to fruition.
No one wanted to trade much for the thing. Sure it was fast but it had no weapons. Where’s the harpoon gun? Or the bank of crude rockets? There wasn’t even so much as a blunderbuss bolted onto the thing. And would it kill you to put a big ram-prow on the front? Come on man! And Mel told them it was tough, but they didn’t care to find out because it didn’t LOOK tough. A few metal skulls weren’t going to fool them. Where were the spikes? Where was the rack for dead body display?
In the end a dejected Crazy Mel traded the mean machine for a butter churn and the covers of a couple of anime DVD cases. You know the ones I mean. The man who picked up the car, Lagos, then turned around and pawned it off on a couple of rubes named Ela and Martialla for a rat-king’s ransom of tools and fuel and scrap.