When it comes to vehicles, not all are born equal. Some are faster or more powerful than others, while some are more luxurious or popular. Some are simply bigger. We take a look at a selection of the biggest land vehicles on earth.
1. NASA crawler transporters
In 1965, NASA developed two crawler-transporters to carry rockets to their launch pads. At the time, these massive space transporters, which are 39,929 metres long, 34,747 metres wide and over 6,096 metres in height, were the largest self-powered land vehicles in the world – a record they still hold today.
Weighing in at 2,721 tons, the transporters, which are named Hans and Franz, cost US$14 million each and were used to transport shuttles between the Vehicle Assembly Building and Launch Complex 39 from 1981 – 2011.
Early in 2016, NASA finished upgrading crawler-transporter 2 (CT-2) to a “Super Crawler” for use in the Artemis program, which it is hoped will see the first woman and person of colour land on the moon by 2024.
2. Bagger 288
Built in 1978, Bagger 288 is a bucket-wheel excavator that stands 94,79 metres tall, is 220 metres long, 96m high and weighs in at 13,500 tons. While it technically superseded NASA’s Crawler Transporter as the largest land vehicle in the world by size, Nasa retained the record for the largest self-propelled vehicle as Bagger requires an external powe source to operate.
The giant machine is used in the Hambach strip mine in Germany, and excavates up to 240,000 tons of coal a day, equivalent to the size of 30 football fields, each 5m deep.
In 1995, the even bigger Bagger 293, weighing 14,200 tons, overtook it in terms of scale. 293 holds the Guinness World Record for the highest terrestrial vehicle.
3. Caterpillar 797B
Caterpillar have a long-held reputation for monster machines, and the 797B is no exception. Like many of Caterpillar’s vehicles, the second-generation model in Caterpillar’s 797 range of mechanical powertrain haul trucks was designed and manufactured specifically for high-production mining and heavy-duty construction application. With a payload capacity of 345 tonnes, this is easily one of the largest vehicles on the road in the world.
The Caterpillar 797B uses six 5,300 kg Michelin 59/80R63 XDR radial tyres. The tyres measure 4.03 meters in diameter and 1.50 meters in width. They contain 890 kilograms of steel, enough to build two small cars, and 3,850 kilograms of rubber, enough to produce more than 600 car tires.
4. BelAZ 75710
This massive ultra-class haul truck is over 20 metres in length – equal to the length of two double-decker buses parked end-to-end – 8 metres tall and almost 10 metres wide.
Constructed for a Russian mining company, the BelAZ 75710 weighs in at 360 tons, more than a fully-loaded Airbus A380 passenger plane. With a payload capacity of 450 tons, it remains the world’s largest, highest payload capacity haul truck.
In 2015, it was celebrated on a special edition postage stamp in Belarus, where the vehicle is manufactured.
5. Dodge Power Wagon
Finally, our countdown concludes with a rather different vehicle. Meet Sheikh Hamad’s super-sized replica of a classic 1950s Dodge Power Wagon. The huge vehicle weighs more than 50 tons and features an entire apartment inside that features four air-conditioned bedrooms, a living room, a bathroom, and a tailgate terrace. It should come as no surprise that the vehicle holds the title of largest pick-up truck ever made!
The truck is 64 times bigger than the original Dodge Power Wagon, with wheels that have been sourced from an oil rig transporter and a windscreen wiper that has been borrowed from an ocean liner. Despite it’s incredible size, the vehicle is fully operational and even registered for use on Abu Dhabi’s roads.
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