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Shockwave: The Ultimate Modified Truck Has Its First Race

We’re not sure if you can even call these trucks after these modifications. They’re more like spaceships on wheels! Before a crowd in Martin, Michigan, hundreds of people gathered for two jet-powered trucks to pull off a death-defying drag race. For some, it would be an experience of a lifetime, but for the fine folks at 131 Drag Strip, it’s just another Saturday night.

That’s because Shockwave, a jet powered truck, showed up with what looks like something the Challenger space shuttle would use to get into orbit. And apparently, it’s not just jet-powered semi tractor trailers that they modify! For a 2014 show, they even hooked up a school bus with it’s own absolutely crazy jet-powered thrust turbine in the back. For those curious, Flash Fire Jet Trucks – the company that made these monsters – has measured the powertrain at 36,000 HP.

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Thirty six thousand horsepower coming out through the back of a massive semi tractor trailer is just too much to believe. Well, as they explain, it’s all because they’re not using just ONE jet turbine engine, but using THREE afterburning J34-48 jet engines. At present record, they believe Shockwave has gotten up to 376 mph – speeds more befitting an airplane than a truck. If it’s ever been said that jet fuel can’t melt steel, no better place to check that out than with their smaller Flash Fire modified pick-up truck.

When it was shown off at a recent Oregon International Air Show, Flash Fire kicked off at a whopping 375 miles per hour. The folks that work on Flash Fire say it packs a whopping 12,000 HP and zips through 60 gallons of fuel in just a 10 minute run. Thank goodness gas prices have come down, right?

But this ain’t your normal jet engine setup, either. The Flash Fire jet-powered Chevy pick-up truck uses a custom Navy T-2 Buckeye jet engine engineered by Pratt & Whitney. Where did these guys ever manage to find one of those? Well, if you guessed eBay, you’d be right. Flash Fire was such a death-defying jet-powered monstrosity, the Discovery Channel had to come and check it out. It certainly did not fail to impress – and to think that jet engine was gotten off of eBay this entire time! Okay, enough talk about Shockwave’s little brother. Lets focus on the man, the myth, the legend that is Shockwave.

Shockwave Scares Us All A Little

Seeing Shockwave actually fire all three jet engines simultaneously is something that makes us see life flashing before our eyes. The jet engines that were used to make Shockwave the behemoth it is are from Westinghouse. The J34 – which became the J46 in later times – was used in the likes of jet fighters like the McDonnel XF-85 Goblin and the XF-88 Voodoo. The original J34 jet engine packs a staggering 4,200 pounds of thrust with the afterburner going full force. Now slap two more Westinghouse jet engines and there’s likely over 19,000 pounds of thrust. That is enough for take-off if Shockwave just had little itty bitty wings. Heck, someone probably had to weld the steering column just to ensure this jet-powered truck doesn’t budge even an inch to the left or right when it takes off. The reason Shockwave’s team got these engines at an affordable rate happens to be because these engines were designed post World War II for a range of early prototype fighter aircraft that never made it to full line production. First and foremost in this group is the McDonnell-Douglas XF-88 Voodoo. It was meant to be a long-range bomber escort jet. Apparently, Westinghouse made an engine so versatile and maneuverable, McDonnell said to heck with radar, just strap on six 20 mm cannons on the nose and that should be good. Well, good idea, but sadly, Westinghouse’s engines were more ideal in the likes of Pyro and Shockwave.

Shockwave’s notable achievements include the Guinness record for jet-truck speed. At a staggering (and clocked) 376 mph, it was able to race aircraft flying above it. In order to keep all three engines aligned and to NOT turn Shockwave into its own poorly designed jet fighter aircraft, the rockets are angled at precisely 3 degrees downward. This keeps Shockwave on planet earth. As for Shockwave’s origins, he began this life as a regular 1985 Peterbilt cab. Obviously, nothing besides the cab likely remains as intact now that the back houses three jet-powered engines, but it definitely makes us remember what good trucks Peterbilt can make. Have you ever gotten to see Shockwave race aircraft? Tell us about it in the comments section below.

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When it was shown off at a recent Oregon International Air Show, Flash Fire kicked off at a whopping 375 miles per hour. The folks that work on Flash Fire say it packs a whopping