If you didn't venture behind the Las Vegas Convention Center at last month's CONEXPO-CON/AGG show—you missed out on one tough truck.
With two rigs perched head-to-head atop a chest-high rock, the back-lot display grabbed my attention as I jogged by during a 5K charity run one morning at the show.
I didn't revisit the display, but last week, I caught up over the phone with the Houston-area-based distributor, Worldwide Machinery Inc., to get the story.
"It's a unique beast," says Chris Wilson, vice president of Worldwide Machinery's parts and supply division. "It eats the ground, and it just goes and goes and goes."
Called the Titan Extreme Duty truck, the military-grade vehicle has for more than two decades served the U.S. Army's medium-duty truck fleet. Since 1988, some 56,000 of these bad boys have battled across the globe.
Produced in Sealy, Texas, by U.K.-owned government contractor BAE Systems, the vehicle is formally known as the Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles (FMTV). Earlier this year, Oshkosh became the official contractor for the FMTV, leaving BAE to pursue commercial interests.
A cross between an off-road Unimog truck and a highway tractor, the Army coined the term "ultra-reliable" to describe the FMTV. The truck is offered in more than a dozen models, including 4x4 and 6x6 articulating-axle configurations. It also is available with Cummins ISB 2010 or Caterpillar C7 diesel engines.
Costing in the neighborhood of $175,000 to $200,000 for a standard cab and chassis, the Titan can be fitted up with a variety of truck equipment, including dumps, fifth wheels, van bodies, wreckers, knuckleboom cranes and heavy-duty trailers.
Designed for rugged terrain, the machine can handle 30% side slopes and 60% vertical grades. The heaviest models can carry up to 10 tons of cargo and tow 13 tons.
By CONEXPO, the ink was still drying on Worldwide Machinery's supply deal with BAE, so the distributor had a hard time securing good exhibit space. But those who found it got a nice payoff—a personal test drive in the Nevada desert.
"We probably took 60 to 80 people out," says Wilson, whose company set up a 10-minute loop across what he calls "very rocky and gnarly terrain."
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