If you have ever been to a tractor pull or seen one on TV, then you know that today's competition tractors don't have much resemblance to a normal farm tractor. In fact, the biggest tractors at these events use super-charged funny car engines or even gas turbine engines with thousands of available horsepower - they could probably pull the Empire State building down the street if they had to!
But have you ever thought about where these gigantic mutant tractors come from? They come from people who happen to have an interest in big engines and big tires - they get to work in their garages and they build the things by hand! The available budget and the spare parts that are laying around control the size of the tractor and the amount of power it has.
In this edition of the Inside Series we go inside a typical mid-tier competition truck called Little Red so that you can see what goes into one of these tractors:
Little Red is a championship truck that comes out of a small garage in Zebulon, North Carolina called AA Auto and Towing. It is hand-built by the proprietor and makes frequent appearances at a variety of competitions. The great thing about a vehicle like this is the creativity and ingenuity that goes into its construction.
Like all competition vehicles, Little Red bears only the slightest resemblance to a normal vehicle. You get a good idea of some of the weirdness when you "open it up", like this:
How many trucks do you see on the road today that can do this? About the only thing stock about it is the sheet metal in the cab. You can see that the cab started life as a compact Chevy pickup. The doors and hood have been stripped and welded to the cab, and the cab had been reinforced with sheet metal and mated to a fabricated truck bed (which has no floor). The entire body is a single unit hinged at the rear and operated by an electrical hydraulic system (an electric motor drives a hydraulic pump which operates a hydraulic cylinder mounted at the back) for easy access.