Q2: Only one tank in the whole continent of North America? How did that happen?
A2: Another chance to talk about Dakota. :)
Dakota has the only industrial manufacturing base in North America (and even that is pretty small-scale). If your car or truck isn’t a pre-Collapse relic, it’s made in one of hundreds of small factories. Each part is custom made from common blueprints, and the vehicles assembled one at a time by small groups of workers.
(They’ve been trying to expand, to build actual factories, but the vishloess and yisek (plus other problems of the Outlaw) constantly harry their forces, and it’s been difficult. Logistics are also a challenge.)
The one operating tank is part of a pilot project to build bigger, better armed vehicles for use against the threats from the north. They built three prototypes, to test manufacturing techniques and usefulness in the field. The only surviving prototype is based on the Soviet T-34. It’s cheap, rugged, has a pretty big main gun, and is easy to maintain.
The other two prototypes were a Panzer and Tiger, but the Panzer was too small for front-line deployment (it got gored in the engine, and sat in a field for six months before they could tow it back), and the Tiger had a couple of severe design flaws (it’s still sitting in a field somewhere on the other side of the Canadian border, having blown its engine).
(Yes, all the prototypes were WWII era vehicles: T-34, Panzer, Tiger. Dakotans can’t build the turbine engines that make Main Battle Tanks practical. US tanks from the era were sh… not as effective, so weren’t considered.)
The T-34 performed very well in field testing, so a few are under construction right now (as of 2039). This is crimping the industrial output of the region, and prices for Dakota made cars and trucks are rising.