What comes to your mind when you see the words “USA” and “truck” together? Handsome all chromed up vehicle with a large hood and plenty of lights, huge sleeper cab the size of a small apartment, “Convoy” movie and its main hero “Rubber Duck”... And now imagine an American truck able to cover ¼ mile in less than 6.5 seconds.
Les Shockley was carried away by drag racing in his teens. He started coming to drag strips in the beginning of the 60’s edging to the idea of a jet-engine car. The 80’s were the time of experimenting with different jet-engine cars for the drag racing and the show. Show cars popularity suggested an idea to Les to create something unusual making people gasp with astonishment again and again. The idea was floating in the air as it usually does: a classic American truck powered by a jet engine. This is how the Shockwave monster was created. 1985 Peterbilt truck was used as its basis.
Length: 7.5 metres
Width: 2.6 metres
Height: 4.2 metres
Operational engine capacity: 12 / 15 litres
Operational engine horsepower: 430 / 565 hp
Fuel consumption rate: 40 litres / 100 km
Speed: 100 — 120 km/h
The base was fitted up with three Pratt & Whitney J-34-48 engines producing 36 000 hp in total with more than 8.5-tonne overall thrust. They did not want the truck to join the ranks of general aviation, so they put the engines at a shallow angle to the horizon and installed a huge chromed up spoiler behind the cabin. The yellow and red monster won fast the love of the audience due to its speed, stunning for a truck of such size, and fantastic show. Behind the wheel of the truck Kent Shockley, Les’s elder son, races against a sport airplane, uses the jet blast to burn old cars and school buses, and of course takes part in ¼ mile show races.
Today Shockwave is a top speed record holder for the vehicles of such type — 612 km/h. The speed at crossing the quarter mile finish line is 424 km/h. In order to accelerate 3-tonne truck to such speed, it needs 1500 litres of fuel for 1 mile. The fuel is spent not only by the engine but also to produce the flames coming out of the chrome plated exhaust pipes. Disk brakes on all wheels and two brake parachutes serve to stop such giant vehicle.
Frame: Chromium molybdenum alloy, 6 600 mm wheelbase
Powertrain: 3 х Pratt & Whitney J-34-48
Thrust: 8 600 tonne
Horsepower: 36 000 hp
Weight: 3.2 tonne
Brakes: Disk brakes on all wheels + 2 brake parachutes
Fuel: diesel fuel
Top speed: 612 km/h
Pilot: Kent Shockley
402-metres time: 6.32 seconds
Estimated cost: $500 000