The 200 MPH Grease Fire

Lipid Lightning Goes For The Land Speed Record.

It's not often that you see a 200-mph pickup truck that runs on peanut oil.

Well, it actually worked out to be 98.155 mph, but it looked faster.

One of special delights at SEMA earlier this month was a 1987 Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck that had been modified to set the land-speed record for a vehicle powered by bio-fuel.; As you might have guessed already, no previous record has existed in this category.

Orange County Rod and Customs in Placentia, California, built a 552-cubic-inch Detroit Diesel V-6 to run on – steady, wait for it – peanut oil.; It’s designed to run on regular diesel fuel until operating temperatures of 220 degrees F are reached, and then the fuel is switched over to pure peanut oil.; Two big turbochargers plus a supercharger force air into the cylinders, enabling the V-6 to develop 3000 hp @ 5000 rpm.; A fine spray of alcohol cools the cylinders while a squirt of nitrous oxide adds further power.; A heavy-duty Allison transmission helped get the power to the rear wheels.

In the end, the truck weighs close to 10,000 pounds, and it takes front tires from a Cessna airplane and big fat rears from a Boeing 747 to cope with so much weight at high speed.

Sponsored by Yahoo! Autos Green Center, a new Web site devoted to alternative fuel vehicles, the peanut-powered Lipid Lightning ran November 12 at El Mirage Dry Lake in a speed meet sanctioned by the Southern California Timing Association (SCTA), the organization known for its event on the Bonneville Salt Flats.

Unfortunately, the high winds that are typical of the season plus the usual new car troubles restricted the car to an environmentally friendly 98.155 mph instead of the 200 mph that car-builders Lin and Steven Austin had dreamed about.

It’s completely crazy, but then so are most of the things built to break speed records.; And when such a thing might be sponsored by the wacky alternative fuel guys, well, it’s time to take alternative fuel a little more seriously, 200-mph grease fire or not.

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