The World's Fastest Trucks

By Roland Piquepaille

I've recently noticed this post on OhGizmo! about amazing fast trucks. And I decided to look further inside this trucking world. For example, did you know that the fastest fire truck in the world lives in the Hawaiian Fire Department? It's a refurbished 1940 Ford truck, powered by two Rolls Royce Bristol Viper engines. It reached a speed of 655 km/h (407 mph) in 1998 and still holds the Guinness World Record for this. As they say in Hawaii, "this truck is guaranteed to be the first at any fire, maybe even before its own sirens!" But read more to discover other incredibly fast trucks.

Let's start with a picture of this fire truck in action (Credit: Hawaiian Eagle Inc.). A question remains: where is the fire? Ahead of the truck or behind?

The jet-powered Hawaiian Eagle

Here is a link to a larger version of this picture. And for more information, you can check these pages on the Hawaiian Eagle or at the Guinness World Record web sites.

Before going further, you might wonder how can jet engines can safely power a truck? For an answer to this question, you should read "How does a jet truck work?" from the HowStuffWorks site.

Now that you know that these jet-powered trucks can roll -- and pretty fast -- let's explore Les Shockley's Jet Shows web site.

Both the Shockwave triple engine and the Super Shockwave twin engine jet trucks are valued at $500,000, but the Shockwave is the fastest of the both. Here are some details coming from the owner's web site.

The ShockWave Jet Truck runs over 300 mph racing airplanes at airshows; holds the world record in a quarter mile for trucks at 256 mph in just 6.36 seconds; and holds the world record for full size trucks at 376 mph as recorded by Guinness Book of World Records. At 36,000 horsepower, the ShockWave has enough power to accelerate at 3 Gs vertical, which is as much as the Space Shuttle!

Below is a picture of this truck racing with a plane (Credit: Les Shockley's Jet Shows). And here is a link to a larger version.

The Shockwave triple engine jet truck

But is this possible to design very fast trucks without integrating jet engines? The answer is yes, as you can discover in this gizmag article about the Bandag Bullet truck, which broke several speed records last week at the Queensland International Air Show held at Bundaberg Airport in Australia.

The Bandag Bullet smashed the world record for a one kilometre run and potentially set eight world records on the way. The eight tonne Kenworth T400-based Bandag Bullet ran a standing start kilometre in 18.6 seconds with a terminal speed of over 300km/h.

Below is a picture of the Bandag Bullet truck starting to compete with a plane (Credit: Bandag Bullet team).

The Bandag Bullet truck racing with a plane

And below is a picture of the Bandag Bullet almost on fire before starting (Credit: Bandag Bullet team). You'll find other pictures on their web site.

The Bandag Bullet truck behind the starting blocks

Seriously, would you feel safe driving one of these trucks? I wouldn't. I would feel scared. But I'm just a guy living in a city where you're ticketed if your drive a car at over than 30 mph...

Anyway, if you ever saw one of these monster trucks -- or even better, if you drove one of them -- please drop me a note.

Sources: OhGizmo!, July 21, 2005; and various web sites

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