The 10 Biggest Land Vehicles Ever Built
Ever wondered to what lengths humans will go to munch up the Earth and transport bits of it from one place to the next? These are our greatest instruments. We found the most massive land vehicles ever built, largely made for mining and the occasional war.
#10. Caterpillar 797
What it does: The mining industry uses really big trucks. Trucks like the Caterpillar 797 are proportioned like a somewhat normal vehicle, only blown up a dozen times to take 400 ton payloads of ore.
Dimensions: 50 feet long, 24 feet tall (51 feet raised), and 31 feet wide.
#9. NASA Crawler Transporter
What it does: The two Space Shuttle transporters each have two 2,750 horsepower V16 diesel engines and yet they have a top speed of 2 miles an hour. That's halved when a space shuttle is onboard. That should give you a sense of how massive these things are.
Dimensions: 131 feet long, 114 feet wide, and over 20 feet tall.
#8. Scheuerle SPMT
What it does: One self-propelled modular transporter is nowhere near the largest vehicle in the world. It is a low, flat platform with dozens of computer controlled wheels that can move independently from each other.
Each SPMT, however, can be connected to another. They can clamp together like Voltron, becoming unbelievably massive and able to carry the heaviest loads of any land vehicle. This includes a 14,350 ton offshore oil platform.
Dimensions: As big as you want it to be.
#7. LeTourneau TC-497 Overland Train
hat it does: The amazingly paranoid US government of the 1950s had the Texan company LeTourneau design these wheeled land trains, which could operate without the need for railway lines. This would presumably help us when the Ruskies nuked our train tracks.
Dimensions: The cab was over 30 feet tall and the whole train stretched 570 feet long. It had 54 wheel drive.
What it does: Helepolis (not Heliopolis) is the only manually-powered vehicle on this list. Built around 304 BC, it is also the largest siege tower ever made. With iron plating on three sides and three catapults, Helepolis needed 3,400 men to push it on its eight wheels.
Dimensions: 65 feet wide, 130 feet tall, and weighing 160 tons.
#5. Herrenknecht EPB Shield S-300
What it does: This is the largest tunnel-boring machine ever built, eating its way through soft ground like some giant mechanical worm. It drives itself and just barely qualifies as a land vehicle, though it's more through-land than on-land.
Dimensions: It is 374 feet long with a shield diameter of 50 feet.
#4. Schwerer Gustav
What it does: We have met Nazi Germany's über cannon before, carried on a 1.5 kilometer-long train. There have been longer trains built, but none of them could fire seven-ton shells.
Dimensions: 24 feet wide, 38 feet tall, and 155 feet long. Add just under a mile to that for the full train.
#3. Big Muskie
What it does: It eats mountains. Built for the Central Ohio Coal Company in 1969, it was the largest single-bucket digging machine ever made. It could swallow 295 tons in one bite out of the ground.
Dimensions: 151 feet wide, 222 feet tall, and 487 feet long. It weighed a svelte 13,500 tons. Compare that to The Captain, which weighed 15,000 tons.
#2. F60 Overburden Conveyor Bridge
What it does: Ever wondered why Germany is one of the strongest economies in the world? Coal. Coal that was dug up by the biggest land vehicles we've ever made, like the four F60 Overburden Conveyor Bridges. They would carry all of the waste dirt and rock out of open pit brown coal mines in eastern Germany.
Dimensions: They are 262 feet tall, 787 feet wide, and 1,647 feet long. It weighs 13,600 metric tons.
#1. Bagger 293
What it does: The Hambach brown coal mine in western Germany plays host to the Bagger 293, formerly known as the TAKRAF RB293. It both looks and sounds like it's out of a Ridley Scott movie. Built in 1995, this one machine is just a touch larger than its sibling, the Bagger 288.
It has a bucket wheel that is over 70 feet in diameter, with 20 buckets, each capable of scraping 15 cubic meters of dirt out of the Earth. It and its sibling have been known to accidentally eat bulldozers.
Dimensions: 315 feet tall and 738 feet long, weighing 31.3 million pounds.