She liked Ford’s long-lost turbine semitrailer ‘Big Red’

In the 1960s, turbine performance was a great fascination for automotive companies. Of course there was the Chrysler Turbine car, but Ford was also involved. The difference was that they were considering turbine power for commercial vehicles. While a wide range of prototypes were built, the futuristic-looking “Big Red” was certainly the most standout. It featured a massive turbine engine, a massive cabin, and a number of features that wouldn’t be out of place in a modern truck, such as space for reclining seats, a television, and a small oven (which would probably be a microwave today).

Somewhere along the way, Big Red disappeared from the public eye. But the truck was rediscovered thanks to the efforts of automobile publication The drive. They tracked the truck to its current home and spoke to the owner and other people associated with the truck to piece together what affected it. It’s a fascinating story that you absolutely must be read in full on their website.

The story contains all sorts of interesting details. Ford-backed racing company Holman and Moody snatched it from Ford after a heated argument broke out between them and the Blue Oval because it broke at one of Holman and Moody’s facilities. The truck eventually ended up in the hands of the current owner, who had it fully restored and even installed a later prototype of a Ford turbine engine so that it could be reignited and powered.

The trailers are still missing, but the important part survived. As for why it hasn’t been seen much, it’s extraordinarily heavy (20,000 pounds) so it’s not easy to move, and the owner wanted to keep a relatively low profile. We hope the owner and a museum can arrange for the truck to be displayed for people to see. In the meantime, read the full report from The drive and the cool original video about the truck above.

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