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BangShift.com Ford GAA tank engine

Drag racers like to think that they have the handle on big time carnage and stuff. Under normal circumstances we could make the argument that their copious use of nitromethane puts them in a special class, but the reality is that there is a more destructive force at work in the world of tractor pulling that results in the kind of physical damage that drag racers could only dream of. That force? Massive boost. We’re talking up to 200lbs in some cases and lots of times that boost is being shoved into engines that were either never intended for it or never intended for the levels of it that they are trying to handle. Enter the Ford GAA engine and this pulling tractor in Europe.

The Ford GAA tank engine was developed in the late 1930s. It is 1100ci and from the factory, this naturally aspirated, overhead cam, gasoline burning beast produced 525hp at  2,800 RPM but more impressively from idle to 2,500 RPM it made more than 1,000 lb/ft of torque. That power was mostly utilized to provide motivation for vehicles like tanks and tank recovery vehicles built between 1940 and 1950. This engine has a bore of 5.4″ and a stroke of 6″. Fuel consumption is rated at, “holy crap that’s a lot.”

So now that you know the basis of what’s making the suds in the tractor, let’s look at what might have caused this engine to blow completely in half. Being a naturally aspirated engine originally, we’re sure that internal bracing, girdles, and other gusseting was employed to make this engine live under the large amounts of boost that the big rear mounted turbos were shoving through it and they worked until this run. Perhaps a massive escape of pressure from one of the cylinders caused the thing to go? What’s your theory?

As the tractor gets spooled up and rolling off the starting line, things are looking pretty good. The big tractor is making forward progress, the front end begins to climb a little, putting all the weight of the machine on the rear tires and it looks like this guy is in for a good number. Then with literally no warning, “KABLOOEY”.

You need to watch the video a couple of times to (a) revel in the violence of the engine coming apart and (b) revel in the violence of everything else. Seriously, watch the driver, tractor chassis, and everything else come to a halt RIGHT NOW when that engine ceases to be a functioning unit. Mechanical violence to the bone!


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