A long-lost experimental turbine-powered Ford semi-truck has been tracked down after more than 40 years.
Big Red made its debut at the 1964 World’s Fair in New York and was one of several turbine-powered vehicles from the era that didn’t pan out for production.
The futuristic tractor-trailer was used as a promotional vehicle for several years before ending up in the hands of the Holman-Moody NASCAR racing team in 1970.
According to The Drive, which has uncovered the whereabouts of the truck today, the vehicle was on display at a car show in Atlanta where its fluids had been drained when the driver sent to pick it up tried to start it and destroyed the engine.
As it was being towed back to Detroit, the truck pulling it broke down near Charlotte and Ford asked Holman-Moody, its affiliated racing team, if it could store it for a while.
Before the automaker retrieved it, it canceled its contract with Holman-Moody and allowed the team to keep all of the Ford equipment it was currently in possession of and the team decided that Big Red was included.
There wasn’t much it could do with the unique machine, though, so in the early 1980s it sold the tractor to a lifelong fan of the truck who still owns it today, but prefers to remain anonymous.
The Drive has found and spoken to him, however, and learned that the vehicle was fully restored with a later turbine obtained from an engineer who had purchased the technology from Ford, but hasn’t been driven in about 20 years. It currently resides in a custom-built garage, the whereabouts of which are unknown to all but a few people close to him.
However, he did tell The Drive he expects to make it public one day, suggesting that it could end up somewhere like The Henry Ford museum.
Big Red’s twin trailers were sold and put to use by other owners, but both remain missing.