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Auto blogMon, 11 Feb 2013
The formula of Top Gear Korea is seemingly about the same as it is everywhere else in the world, including the flagship British original: involve interesting cars in fantastical situations with charismatic hosts. That prescription has proved to be pretty reliable over the years, and has lead to some truly memorable and exciting pieces of television.
Something like that was undoubtedly what the Korean producers were after when they lined up this segment - a drag race between a Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 and an AH1 Cobra military helicopter. The planners almost certainly did not expect the filming of the segment to go quite as wrong as it actually did, with the helicopter actually crashing into the dirt after the "drag race" had been completed. Thankfully, we're told that no one was seriously injured in the crash, but the footage, in the video below, is pretty damn chilling to watch, nevertheless.
Our apologies to those who've seen this before, but for the rest of the class, how awesome are these pictures of the Vert-A-Pac shipping system General Motors came up with to ship the Chevrolet Vega back in the 1970s? Developed along with Southern Pacific Railroad, GM was able to double the amount of Vega models it could ship by packing them into the unique storage cars vertically.
At the time, rail cars could fit 15 vehicles each, but Chevrolet was able to lower shipping costs by making it possible to ship 30 Vegas per rail car, in turn allowing the price of the Vega to remain as low as possible. Each rail car had 30 doors that would fold down so that a Vega could be strapped on, and then a forklift would come along and lift the door into place. All the cars were positioned nose down, and since they were shipped with all of their required fluids, certain aspects had to be designed specifically for this type of shipping, including an oil baffle in the engine, a special battery and even a repositioned windshield washer reservoir. See for yourself in our image gallery above.
For nine years, Diesel Power magazine has run the Diesel Power Challenge, this year's grindfest being "a week-long torture test that features seven events, nine trucks, 8,000 horsepower, and nearly 15,000 pound-feet of torque." The road to being crowned "the most powerful truck" starts with a dyno run, and then continues through the completion of a CDL-style obstacle course, an eighth-of-a-mile drag race while towing a 10,000-pound trailer, a quarter-mile drag race without a trailer, a fuel economy test in the mountains and finally a sled-pulling test through a 300-foot-long packed-mud pit.
What kind of trucks get into such a fight? Last year's winner, for instance - who upgraded his truck this year to prove he didn't "luck into the win" - drives a 2008 Ford F-250 Super Duty with a 6.4-liter Power Stroke V8 upgraded with a custom intake, Elite Diesel triple turbos and a two-stage nitrous system. Another competitor has a 2005 Dodge Ram 2500 powered by a 5.9-liter Cummins inline-six, upgraded with Garrett turbos, dual-stage nitrous, a seven-inch exhaust stack and twin fans built into the bed to cool the Sun Coast Omega transmission. The numbers on that truck: 1,255 horsepower, and 2,063 pound-feet of torque at the wheels. Naturally, as the image above might suggest, things don't always end well.
You'll find all five videos covering this years challenge below. A scene in the dyno video sums it all up perfectly: a competitor leaves his nitrous on too long and the crew is treated to some ominous poppings, he leans out the window, throws both hands up and shouts, "Amer'ca!"