Imagine you’re the Devil. Keeping all those badasses in line that have descended through the gates of hell is hard work. Now imagine how annoying it would be when occasionally one of them breaks out of purgatory and returns to walk among the living? Now that’s just plain bad for business. You’re the original sinner, right? Something has to be done. People need to know who’s the boss…
What’s needed here is a mercenary who can go and catch those errant souls and return them for an eternity of lockdown. What would he drive? Only the baddest, toughest tow truck known to man, woman or beast. A vehicle that would make Chuck Norris quake as it pulls up.
Which is exactly what I found in Finland last summer. Whilst driving back to the UK in a Mk1 Cortina I’d bought, I stopped in for some Friday night cruising in downtown Helsinki. There I stood wide-eyed, while the amazing atmosphere of a couple of hundred like-minded gearheads was shattered as this Chevy-cabbed creation rolled into view.
I say shattered because that’s exactly what it did. There are strict laws in Finland when it comes to modifying cars, but older commercial vehicles? Well it’s almost a free rein when it comes to those, which is why you may have noticed the alloy radiator dominating the front end view of the six-wheeler. Peering inside, I catch sight of the AutoMeter gauges as the waft of methanol lingered in the slow summer evening air.
Glancing up at the row of battered and dusty sunglasses gave me the idea that this would be the perfect vehicle for collecting souls – as though they’d been left there as trophies.
I managed to convince the owner it would be a good idea to meet up over the weekend so I could take a closer look. Amazingly, the truck has been finished for nearly three years and he’s never let anybody shoot it before. I’m not sure quite what swung it for me, but I’m sure glad he agreed. The cab had sat around for ten or fifteen years – hence the weathered look – and those four rear wheels are full-size lorry items. Just check out the clearance on the front pair! The virtually non-existent rear suspension means rubbing isn’t an issue.
There are old oil cans and a box of bits on the back, but what’s obvious is that none of this is contrived. Far from it – this is the real deal. The owner has been been and done it, raced it and blown it up. This is how he’s lived his life for a long time and there’s no reason to change now because somebody came along and gave it a label.
There’s only one area I’m not allowed to show you and that’s under the bonnet. Normally this would mean a no-go for me and I wouldn’t have pursued a shoot, but really? Look at this thing. How could I walk away? The owner waited until I didn’t have a camera anywhere near me and briefly lifted the bonnet. I can assure you this thing is the real deal. A blown methanol big block? Rumours have it over 1000hp is on tap.
So instead of showing you the engine, as our driver went to leave I shot a short video.
There are a couple of things to look and listen for: first up is the pair of almost unnoticeable fire bursts that leave the exhausts just after start up. Then there’s the engine tone of course, then the haunting noise of the towing hook clanking on the metal spar after he guns the engine. Make sure you listen until the end too – that last blast of acceleration is over a half mile away by the time it echoes back. Badass? 100%. Please excuse the shaky camera action, I had the wrong lens on for filming and this was a case of take what you’re given… Now are you a believer?
Because there are souls out there that need collecting. Adios.