September 12, 2009

Michelin PLR.


Michelin designed the PLR (Poids Lourd Rapide, or fast semi truck) in 1972 as a way to test out truck tires at high speeds without the risks of using actual trucks; if a tire blows they don't have to worry about losing control of their vehicle.

This borrows heavily from Citroen's parts bin - it was easy for them to access it since at the time Michelin owned Citroen. The ten wheels and hubs come from an HY (aka Tube) van and most will recognize the DS parts in use throughout it all.

Michelin's engineers fitted two Chevrolet 350 engines in the back. One drives the car, the other drives a mid-mounted truck wheel (see below) that is fitted with a test tire. The rear six wheels power the car while the front four steer it.

Nicknamed "milles-pates", or centipede, it supposedly has a top speed of 180km/h not bad for a vehicle that weighs about ten metric tons.


Note: I did not take any of the above photos and do not take credit for them.
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4 comments:

Rorschach said...

Why small block Chevies? If they owned Citroen, surely they had access to a comparable Citroen engine. Oh wait, I forgot, we are talking about Citroen... they only make crap. Even so, I'd have thought that they'd want to use a European engine to avoid having to have two sets of tools and fasteners to maintain it. Surely the Germans had something they could use.

Ronan said...

Citroen only makes crap? Would you care to explain that?

ScotchDrnkr said...

I remember seeing plastic models of this thing as a kid. I never realized it was an actual working vehicle. Just thought it was some customizer's idea of a cool car.

Ian said...

Citroen certainly doesn't or didn't only make crap. Many of their cars were cheaply made, because they're economy cars. For decades they were a leader in automotive technology with their unique suspensions, pioneering use of front wheel drive, and unique styling.
Chevrolet engines were likely used because they were inexpensive, simple and powerful and also can be purchased fairly easily as a crate-motor. While at the time, they would have likely had easy access to Maserati engines, their complexity and expense would have been prohibitive. I'm sure the difference between metric and SAE fasteners would not have been much of an issue as English cars, pre-early-1970s Volvos, and others used SAE. Much like the way American mechanics keep metric and standard tools and fasteners, Citroen mechanics surely had them already anyway.