A dump truck manufactured by Caterpillar for use in off-road mining quarries. The first prototypes were manufactured in the year 2000, making it the largest off-highway truck in the world. Cost to purchase: $3.4 million.

It's called "off-highway" because this thing is three times too wide to fit on a normal road -- when you order one, it arrives in pieces on twelve semis. Its axle is as far off the ground as a man's head. The cab is about three times that far off the ground, so you need to climb a stairway cutting across the front of the truck to get inside. It's longer, front-to-back, than half of a basketball court, and is capable of carrying up to 400 tons of earth without difficulty. Just one tire weighs about ten thousand pounds.

Why all the capacity? Mostly because it can be done. The largest machine-powered shovels today can lift about 100 tons of earth at a time, and when a mining company wants land moved fast, they want to do it all at once.

A few more specs:

  • Power source: two diesel-powered V-12 engines, 4.9 liters per cylinder, capable of delivering up to 3400 horsepower at 1750 rpm (for comparison, my V-6 sedan can deliver about 125 horsepower)
  • Top speed: 40 mph, unloaded (pretty fast for something weighing 1.3 million pounds)
  • Acceleration: Zero to 30 mph in 27.1 seconds
  • Brakes: ten 42-inch disc brakes per wheel in front, fifteen in back, cooled by 1160 gallons of oil per minute
  • Steering diameter: 104' 8" (watch out for those corners)
  • Standard features: power steering, power windows, A/C, tilt steering wheel
  • Sound system: none (but I'm sure you could get one installed, provided you could get into the garage at Best Buy)