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so Chandler outfitted his "Bigfoot 4" vehicle with 10-foot-tall tires he had purchased from a junkyard owner in Seattle, Washington for only $1000. The tires had been previously used by the U.S. Army in Alaska on their overland train in the 1950s
In the 1950s, the U.S. Army experimented with a 13-car, 600-foot-long wheeled train that could haul more than a hundred tons of supplies over sand or snow. The kicker: it was a hybrid-electric with many of the same features of the latest military prototypes. The TC-497 “Overland Train,” designed by earthmoving pioneer R.G. Letourneau, was briefly used to supply Alaskan radar stations and construct remote oil pipelines. “The first models were so successful that a Mark II version was developed,” says WIB-pal Steve Weintz. ”This was an amazing machine: gas-turbine-electric hybrid drive, 150-ton payload, a crew of six provided with bridge, bunkhouse, and galley and a self-tracking steering system. Additional power cars and cargo cars could be added as needed.”
This is a LCC-1 LeTourneau Trackless Land Train, recently purchased and brought down from Fairbanks, Alaska to Whitehorse, Yukon for display at the Yukon Transportation Museum
During this period the U.S. and Canada were in the process of developing the DEW Line, which was located in areas with no roads, few airbases, and in areas where the sea ice often prevented ships from accessing the sites. On 15 April 1954 the company demonstrated VC-12 to the US Army Transportation Research and Development Command, or TRADCOM, proposing that the system would be useful for logistics operations in the arctic if equipped with more wheels.
TRADCOM offered funding to create the TC-264 Sno-Buggy, which had eight huge 120-inch (3.0 m) rubber tires, arranged in pairs and driven by four motors powered by a single Allison V-1710 engine running on butane. The resulting vehicle has an enormous amount of tire area to vehicle weight, allowing it to float on the tundra and snow. First unveiled in June 1954, the Sno-Buggy was sent to Greenland for testing
Final specifications were completed in 1960, and construction took most of 1961. After preliminary testing, it was handed to the Army in February 1962, and shipped to the Yuma Proving Ground in Yuma, Arizona. In testing under the "Project OTTER", for "Overland Train Terrain Evaluation Research", the vehicle performed well. But in the end the Army gave up on the idea as newer heavy-lift helicopters like the S-64 Skycrane made the train concept outdated.
The vehicle remained unused for a time, and was then put up for sale for $1.4 million in 1969. All that remains of the Mark II is the control cab which remains at Yuma, the rest was sold off to a local scrap dealer. The Mark II retains the record for the longest offroad vehicle in the world