Friday, August 17, 2012

World War II tank gets a 745kW engine.

What do you get when you cross a monster truck with a Stuart army tank and a supercharged 7.0-litre V8 engine? 
The bizarre mix, devised by Victorian monster truck enthusiast and self-confessed “mad scientist” Sam Xuereb, results in a car-crushing machine that can go almost anywhere and punch a hole through virtually anything. 
The engine that powers the tank is based on the same Chevrolet LS7 unit used in the HSV W427, which with 375kW stands as the most powerful production car ever built in Australia.

The altered Stuart Tank

Latrobe Valley mechanic and inventor Xuereb went several steps further, supercharging the Chevy-sourced powerplant to almost double the output.
Bolting the engine and a specialised gearbox into the tank, he retained the rest of the World War II relic’s original running gear and stripped off the armour plating. The process took about two years and wasn’t without its difficulties. “As you can imagine, it’s not easy to source the parts,” Xuereb says.
The result is a six-tonne World War II tank, dubbed MegaTrax, that can accelerate to 100km/h in seven seconds - quicker than a six-cylinder Ford Falcon. But it’s the MegaTrax’s ability to jump - and destroy things - that is its show-stopping trick.

The Tank in action

Xuereb has completed a ramp-to-ramp jump across three cars in his tank, but if he falls short it’s no problem because car-crushing is another of MegaTrax’s specialties. He has also been known to punch holes through caravans and schoolbuses.
“It makes a bit of a mess out of things,” Xuereb says. “Caravans just explode when I hit them.”
Xeureb has five trucks in total in his stable including traditional “monsters” Sampson, Tropical Thunder and Devil’s Taxi, plus the MegaTrax and a wheelie-popping Jeep. He has always had an inventive streak, starting to build vehicles from the age of three, and constructing a go-kart from milking machine parts when he was 12.

The Stuart army tank has a supercharged 7.0-litre V8 engine.

The MegaTrax has appeared at a few smaller shows but will make its first major appearance at the National 4x4 and Outdoors Show at Melbourne’s Showgrounds on August 24-26, alongside Xuereb’s monster truck, Devil’s Taxi.

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