Americans have an appetite for big cars. According to a study conducted by IHS Automotive, large cars contributed to more than 63% of American car sales in 2013. By comparison large vehicles only contributed to 23% of cars sold outside the US. The study also found that more than 87% of the pickups sold in the US were full-size models.
Americans' obsession with big cars can be traced all the way back to the Second World War. The infrastructural development in the United States has also contributed to the rise in popularity of larger vehicles.
Cheap gas prices may be yet another reason why Americans buy big cars. According to Boston.com, gas is cheaper in North America than Europe. Even with America's obsession with big cars, there are those who have taken it to another level. What do you do when you have more money than you could possibly spend?
Obviously, you commission a custom-built vehicle. Some of the world's biggest vehicles have been commissioned by wealthy individuals from the Arab world. Many of these are ridiculously big and cost a fortune to build.
Here are 18 of the biggest vehicles in the world.
18 Bedouin Caravan
The Bedouin Caravan made its way into the Guinness Book Of World Records in 1993 for being the biggest two-wheeled trailer in the world. As expected, the Bedouin Caravan was commissioned by His Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Hamdan Al-Nahyan, more popularly known as the Rainbow Sheikh.
The man is known to have a thing for the bizarre when it comes to vehicles. It took a couple of months to build the machine. According to Arabian Business, the Sheikh wanted to have the largest wheels he could get and the one ones used to transport oil rigs seems plausible at the time. The trailer measures 20m in length, 12m height, and 12m width. The trailer has a total of 8 bedrooms and 4 garages to keep the Sheikh's favorite toys.
17 Dodge Power Wagon
The Dodge Power Wagon first hit the assembly line in 1945 and has been in production for the last 73 years. The Power Wagon was primarily manufactured for the military. The first civilian Dodge Power Wagon was introduced in 1946. According to Wikipedia, the truck had an 8' cargo box.
There have been a couple of iterations over the years, but one of its biggest selling points was the massive size. Chrysler incorporated the 4-wheel drive as standard in 1974.
The big-block V8 engine could tow up to 8,700 pounds without any problems. The power wagon name came to end in 1981 in favor of the now popular Dodge Ram. The first generation of the Dodge Power Wagon have become collectibles. The one commissioned by the Rainbow Sheikh is by far the largest ever made.
16 Sheikh Hamad's Globe Caravan
The Sheikh must have had several dreams of an apocalypse. That's the only explanation as to why he commissioned two gigantic caravans. The globe caravan was reportedly commissioned because he likes to spend time in the desert and the trailer provides the perfect getaway.
According to Carvantimes, the globe caravan has nine bedrooms and nine bathrooms spread over three floors.
The caravan is self-sufficient, and the Sheikh can spend the year in the desert inside it without having to worry about the rest of humanity. The Sheikh contributed it to the Emirates National Auto Museum, which is just a few minutes drive from Dubai. It is also free to visit and something that should be on your bucket list should you decide to go to the Middle East.
The Marauder is one of the best military vehicles accessible to civilians. The car has been in production since 2008 and there have been over 300 units produced ever since. The South African company mostly sells these vehicles to world armies and wealthy individuals, with the Middle East being a prime market.
According to Wikipedia, the Marauder can accommodate up to 10 people. The car has a top speed of 75mph and has a flexible payload which enables the fitting of different weaponry, a feature that is obviously not allowed for civilians. The Marauder doesn't come cheap, as you'd have to part with $523,000 to get yourself one. It is the perfect doomsday vehicle as it can accommodate 10 people and can drive over just about any terrain.
14 Boeing 727 Jet Limo
This was one of the car projects that excited auto enthusiasts in the 2000s. The car came about when some guys decided to convert a Boeing 727 into a gigantic limousine. It weighs a whopping 24,000 pounds and the most exciting part was it is street legal.
The Jet Limo was sold at an auction for $275,000 in 2007.
The Boeing 727 Jet Limo can accommodate up to 50 people. It has a big screen TV, fireplace, full bar and full-size dance floor. It has been 11 years since the Jet Limo was sold. It is currently on sale for $1,000,000. There is also the option of renting it at $100,000 per month. According to Cnet.com, the Boeing 727 Jet Limo is mounted on a Mercedes bus.
13 Caterpillar 797B
Production of the Caterpillar 797B began in the Spring of 2002 and the vehicle is used mostly for heavy-duty construction and mining around the world. According to Wikipedia, the Caterpillar 797B features a ton of improvements over its predecessor.
The 797B has a larger payload which is meant to increase operational efficiency. The Caterpillar 797B also features a mechanical powertrain. The engine can produce up to 3500HP, which is three times the size of the world's fastest supercar. In terms of transmission, the Caterpillar 797B comes with a 7-speed manual. The Caterpillar has a payload capacity of 360 tonnes and has a total weight of 557,900 kgs. The fuel capacity is rated at 1200 gallons and the vehicle has a top speed of 40 mph.
12 Sheikh Hamad bin Hamdan Al Nahyan's Jeep
Nicknamed as the Middle East's Chuck Norris, Sheikh Hamad bin Hamdan's love for the automobile could not go unnoticed. According to Jalopnik, Sheikh Hamad was a colonel in UAE army and it was only natural that he fall in love with the Jeep.
The Sheikh likes his vehicles big, and there was no way this Jeep was going to be an exception. According to Topspeed, the Sheikh has one of the largest car collections in the world with over 400 exotic vehicles. The Jeep is 21 feet tall and is a 400% scale of a normal one. The name 'Rainbow Sheikh' came about when Hamad decided to buy 7 new Mercedes 500 SELs and had them respectively painted with the different colors of the rainbow.
11 The Wothahellizat
The Wothahellizat can be described as the perfect motorhome. It was launched in 2006. According to newatla.com, The Wothahellizat was priced at $263,000 and had everything you could ask for in a home, plus it was on wheels.
The project was the work of Australian photographer Rob Gray. He wanted a mobile home which would enable him to stay at a particular place over a prolonged period of time.
The vehicle can carry a three month supply of food so you don't have to worry about anything when you are in the wilderness. It can also accommodate a motorcycle in case you want to explore the dirt road. You can decide to completely go off-grid with the 3300-watt solar inverter which can power most of the equipment in the vehicle.
10 Sheikh Hamad Bin Hamdan Al Nahyan's monster Mercedes-Benz (W126)
This is yet another monstrous vehicle from the Rainbow Sheikh. This isn't even the only version of the vehicle in his garage, he has another one of roughly the same size.
The Mercedes-Benz (W126) was first launched in 1979 and came with a straight-six, V8 turbocharged engine. It was a favorite of Sheikh Hamad back in the day and he decided to gift it with gigantic wheels.
Getting to the driver's seat is an uphill task and this kind of vehicle can only function in a museum. According to Carthrottle, the Sheikh once took the vehicle into the desert for off-roading. One would have to drive the vehicle very slowly due to the major challenge of seeing what is beneath you while on those wheels.
9 Sheikh Hamad Bin Hamdan Al Nahyan's Jeep Wrangler Giant Spider
Of all of Sheikh's Hamad Bin Hamdan modifications, this one has to be the one that stands out. It is supposed to resemble a Jeep Wrangler but instead looks like a classic vehicle. Yahoo has described it as "the world's oddest custom Jeep."
According to Yahoo.com, the base body of the vehicle was that of a Jeep Wrangler and was integrated into a Ford F-550 Frame.
What makes it unique is the front fascia, especially the grille. You wouldn't notice immediately that it has anything to do with a Jeep. Under the hood, there is the V8 engine which can produce up 394HP. Of all of the Sheikh's Hamad customs, this one looks like it is at least drivable.
8 Sheikh Hamad Bin Hamdan Al Nahyan's eight-wheel drive Nissan Patrol
This yet another gigantic vehicle owned by Sheikh Hamad. The Nissan Patrol is a popular vehicle with the Middle East elite and it is understandable that the Rainbow Sheikh has a custom one.
There are a couple of videos on the Internet of custom Nissan Patrols racing in the desert in the UAE.
The car is nicknamed the spider because it has eight wheels. It also has a weird-looking front fascia which contributes to the overall unique exterior aesthetics. The car can be a little bit challenging to drive because of the contours and the eight wheels. It is currently parked at the Emirates museum, just like the rest of his custom fleet.
7 NASA Crawler
As the name suggests, this vehicle is used to transport spaceships from the assembly point to the launch area. According to Wikipedia, the vehicle was originally used to transport the Apollo, Saturn IB, Saturn V, and Skylab rockets.
The transporter is said to have cost NASA around $14 million. According to Wikipedia, the NASA-Crawler transporter was the largest self-powered vehicle in the world when it was completed.
The crawler weighs 2,721 tonnes and has 4 pairs of tracks located on either end. In terms of dimensions, the vehicle measures 40x35 meters. There was a complete overhaul in 2003 for the NASA crawlers to include 16 traction motors. The vehicle can output up to 2750HP and run on two 750Kw/h generators. The NASA crawler has featured in several movies, such as Apollo 13.
6 Bagger 288
This is another movable machine that was produced in Germany. According to Wikipedia, the Bagger 288 was the heaviest land vehicle in the world when it was completed in 1978. It weighed 13,500 tonnes and it is estimated to have cost around $100 million, which would be a lot more in today's currency if you factor for inflation.
Just like the FGO, the Bagger 288 was built with the main objective of getting rid of the overburden in coal mining. The machine can excavate up to 240,000 tonnes of coal daily. In terms of size, the Bagger 288 is up to 220m long. According to Wikipedia, the Bagger 288 requires 16.56 megawatts of power to operate at its optimum capacity.
5 BelAZ 75710
The BelAZ 75710 is a recent vehicle as production only started in 2013. It can be categorized as a truck and can carry up to 450 metric tonnes. According to Wikipedia, the BelAZ 75710 20.6m long, 8.16m high, and 9.87m wide.
Unlike most vehicles in its class, the BelAZ 75710 has two engines. It has two 65-liter, 16-cylinder engines which can each produce up to 2300HP. The car has a top speed of 60km/h and 40km/h when it is fully loaded.
There have been concerns over its operational efficiency because of the heavy empty weight and the double tires. The parent company, BelAZ, is said to have invested over $600 million to come up with new efficient models of the vehicle and to increase the production capacity.
4 The Terex/Bucyrus RH400
This movable vehicle is found in many mining areas across the world. According to Ferret.com, the RH400 has a max power of 3360kW and can manage up to 50 cubic meters bucket capacity.
The Terex/Bucyrus RH400 is popular in pop culture, as it made an appearance in the second Transformers film playing the role Deception Demolisher.
In terms of displacement, the RH400 has 69-liter, 16-cylinder engine which produces up to 4,500HP net power. It has a fuel capacity of 4,226.8 gallons which makes it a beast when it comes to mining.
There are not a lot of mining vehicles with this kind of capacity. The maximum travel speed is 1.4 mph, which is understandable given the weight of the vehicle.
Jalopnik has described this vehicle as "the new best Russian truck in the universe." The six-wheel amphibious truck is a sight to behold.
According to tw.com, the car can go just about anywhere, and Russia was testing it to carry 10 researchers to the North Pole. The 7-meter armored truck weighs three tons. It has all the amenities like a fully stocked kitchen, shower, and toilet which are all necessary to survive in the North Pole.
According to Jalopnik, there are propellers which enable the truck to float on water. The car has not been declared a production vehicle and it would be hard to estimate how much it would cost should the producer decide to sell it directly to consumers.
2 Sherp ATV
The Sherp is absolutely affordable if you consider the full range of features that it comes with. For just $50,000, you can get your hands on what Jalopnik describes as "the best truck in the universe."
There is nothing that the Sherp ATV can't drive over. It was designed to plow through ice, water, and snow. You could also take it through the desert and it will still handle well.
The car has a top speed of 27.9mph on land and 3.7 mph on water. The tires are self-inflated which is meant to assist the car climb over obstacles. According to Dailymail, the car is able to run on water because there is a device that automatically drains the water from the body of the vehicle.
1 Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG 6×6
The Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG 6×6 was first launched in 2007 and was meant to be used by the Austrian army. It was the largest and the second most expensive vehicle from Mercedes at that time.
Mass production started in 2013 and ended in 2015, with less than 20 units sold each year. The car has a 5.5-liter V8 engine which can produce up to 536HP. According to Wikipedia, the Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG 6×6 comes with a compressor to allow it to increase or reduce pressure, depending on the terrain.
The car has a top speed of 100 mph and can go from 0 to 60 in 7.8 seconds. The company decided to discontinue the vehicle in 2015 so as to maintain its exclusivity.
Sources: Wikipedia.org; Jalopnik.com; caranddriver.com