About Lenco


Lenco was founded in 1981 with a singular goal: to design and manufacture quality armored vehicles with a reputation for industry-defining innovation. Over the years, a relentless focus on quality, innovation and value has driven Lenco’s growth from a humble 3,000 square-foot facility, to the nearly 200,000 square-foot manufacturing campus Lenco calls home today. 


Lenco’s current armored tactical vehicle line began in 1999, answering the call for an armored response and rescue vehicle, purpose-built to provide first responders with the vehicle that other armored vehicle manufacturers were overlooking. Up to this time, the majority of armored police and rescue vehicles were repurposed Humvees, retired armored trucks, or up-armored commercial SUVs. 

The team at Lenco met with law-enforcement officers and SWAT teams across the country to find out where traditional armored vehicles came up short and assembled a wishlist of the features that would be required to build a true armored response vehicle. A team of carefully selected engineers and automotive experts went to work, designing a new armored response vehicle from the ground up, purpose-built to help first responders do their jobs as safely as possible.

Building the BEAR

The result was the Lenco Ballistic Engineered Armored Response vehicle, or BEAR for short. The groundbreaking vehicle was built with Mil-Spec steel armor plate, integrated onto a heavily modified commercial truck chassis. Inside, the BEAR was capable of transporting up to 18 tactical team members, fully equipped with weapons and gear. Large double rear doors and additional side cargo doors made deployment fast and efficient. The BEAR was an instant success and was quickly serving law enforcement agencies across the U.S.

The BearCat is born

Inspired by the success of the BEAR, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Special Enforcement Bureau (SEB) approached Lenco in 2000 to design an armored police vehicle to replace their aging fleet of military surplus Cadillac Gage Ranger armored vehicles. 


In August 2001, the first BearCat rolled off the assembly line. A smaller variant of the BEAR, the BearCat featured the same armored protection and versatility — along with increased maneuverability. 


Today, Lenco is setting the standard for other armored vehicle manufacturers to follow. Since 1981, Lenco has produced nearly 7,000 vehicles, operating in all 50 states and serving in more than 50 countries around the world.