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Car & Driver: Eastbound and Double Down: Volvo’s Iron Knight Truck Hits 171 mph, Sets Record [Video]

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Iron-KnightIIIWhile big rig pilot Jerry “The Snowman” Reed may have preferred Kenworths for performing high-speed beer runs back in the 1970s, we’re confident he’d be a Volvo man today if he had lived long enough to witness the maker’s recent record-setting speed run. Piloted by Boije Ovebrink, a Volvo rig managed to hustle though the 1000-meter measure—that’s 3280.8 feet or 0.6213 mile to us—in just 21.29 seconds from a standing start. The average speed was 105 mph, and the peak speed reached during the run was a stunning 171 mph. At those speeds, the beer would be still have a chill on when the truck reached Hotlanta.


The feat was conducted at the Skellefteå Drive Center, a former airfield in northern Sweden, and Ovebrink ran the rig in two directions to satisfy the requirements of the FIA sanctioning body. (At time of publication the FIA is still reviewing the data.) In addition to bagging the 1000-meter main event, Volvo also set a record for the 500-meter (0.31 mile) distance with a time of 13.71 seconds. In both instances, the elapsed time and average top speeds were calculated from data collected from both runs. Nothing fun happens anymore without video documentation, and you can see Volvo’s official video at the bottom of this post.Boije Ovebrink


Dubbed The Iron Knight (despite a cab made entirely of fiberglass), the hand-assembled truck features a “significantly modified” D13 engine with a water-cooled supercharger and four turbochargers. Gulping all that cool air helps the diesel produce 2400 horsepower and 4425 lb-ft (6000 newton-meters) of torque. What’s not significantly modified, however, is Volvo’s I-Shift dual-clutch transmission. Aside from a reinforced clutch, the Iron Knight uses the same gearbox as standard Volvo FH trucks. You can bet Volvo will find many opportunities to point the demonstrated durability of this transmission to the buying public.


No stranger to setting records, Ovebrink, who has more than 30 years’ experience wheeling big rigs and cars, was the 1994 European truck racing champion and has broken five previous truck records, driving machines with names like Wild Viking and Mean Green, among others. If the Snowman were alive today, we bet they’d hit it off just fine.


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