Volvo Iron Knight

Volvo’s amazing Iron Knight is the fastest truck on the planet – and that’s official!

Last month, in Sweden, the custom-built behemoth not only fulfilled boasts it would break a world record, but surpassed them by breaking two. With former European Truck Racing champion Boije Ovebrink at the wheel, the machine clocked up a two-run average of 13.71 seconds (averaging 81.58 mph) at 500 metres and 21.29 seconds (averaging 105 mph) at 1,000 metres.

Not only is that an incredible record for a big rig, but on the longer run the speedo hit 171 mph. That’s a truck doing speeds a sports car would brag about!

A Few Simple Modifications…

While the Iron Knight is based on a regular Volvo production FH series truck, with I-Shift Dual Clutch transmission, significant modifications have been made.

These include boosting the 12.8-litre six-cylinder engine to produce 2,367 bhp / 4,425 lb feet of torque, installing four turbochargers, and adding a water-cooled intercooler. Although it weighs in at a mighty 9,000 lbs, the truck can go from zero to 60 mph in 4.6 seconds – almost equivalent to the performance you’d get from a 2016 Aston Martin Rapide S.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Volvo says it’s “really proud” of its efforts. And setting new world land speed records in a 4-ton truck is more than just a PR stunt: according to the CEO of Volvo Trucks, Claes Nilsson, it’s essential R&D. He said, “Our aim was to generate new insights into technical and design solutions. The intention is to transfer some of these to our series-produced trucks.”

Other Truck Engineering Feats

The Iron Knight isn’t the only automotive record-breaker we’ve read about recently – there’s also the BelAz 75710. It’s not fuel efficient – and at US $6 million it certainly isn’t cheap – but it is impressive! This beast is the world’s largest dump truck, and it is – quite literally – the size of a very large house. It boasts four wheels, each measuring three metres, on each axle and has a turning radius of around 20 metres.

With a top speed of 64 kph / 40 mph, this large-scale mining truck won’t be giving the Iron Knight a run for its money, but dual 65-litre, 16-cylinder diesel engines, each with 2,300 bhp, give it the power to haul a 496-ton load. It has to be one of the most impressive feats of mechanical engineering ever built.

Having said that, it’s the Volvo we’re saving up for … now there’s something to give competitive advantage!

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