1960s LeTourneau TC-497: A Fab RV for Off-Road Adventures

1960s Overland Train: Kitchen & Sleeping Area
Inside The Insane 1960s Nuclear Overland Vehicle - LeTourneau TC-497

The Cold War had the consequence of creating some very strange machines crafted for special objectives. Among these, one of the most curious ones was the LeTourneau TC-497, an all-terrain tractor utilized to drag a terrestrial caravan. Constructed to solve logistical issues, it was 572 feet long and still holds the title for the greatest off-road motor vehicle.

Appearing as if some sort of combination between a bulldozer and a vehicle you’d find in a movie set in a post-apocalyptic future, the TC-497 Overland Mark 2 could make an incredible off-roading RV. Coming equipped with air conditioning and a classic ‘General Chief’ style kitchenette complete with a sink, range, oven and icebox, it will be suitable for two people, with a table and stools included.

Behind the kitchen rests six bunks, arranged in a layout reminiscent of a navy vessel or submarine. These accommodations feature Spartan-like simplicity in keeping with their military origins, as do the hue and detailing of the walls, furniture, and decor – all still harken back to the era in which it was built.

The TC-497 lacked an engine, yet instead had a motor compartment. Three models of Solar 10MC gas turbines had been designated to generate electricity for the train’s electric drive and propulsion, each being held in separate engine vehicles. Moreover, a fourth turbine was employed to fuel the cab and furnishing power for the vehicle’s air conditioning needs as well as electric functions. Every turbine weighed more than 1,650 pounds whilst producing up to 1,170 horsepower.

The most remarkable trait of all may actually be the incinerator lavatory. Rather than wasting H2O, manufacturing compost, or resembling a feline’s litter box, this kind of toilet incinerates waste, generating just a minor amount of ash in its wake. Adjoining that is a fold-out basin equipped with hot and cold running water. Corresponding with the rest of the decor, it too seems to have come right out of the mid-60s, complete with a bar of soap, toilet tissue, as well as a paper towel dispenser.

Majestically towering over thirty feet, the cabin of the vehicle provides a podium-like outlook. It has an aquatic atmosphere and contains room for 3 people; the driver, train conductor, and navigator. The maximum speed achievable is 30 mph—although footage is available at the Yuma Proving Ground Heritage Center where it resides, which demonstrates that typically it moves at a pedestrian tempo.

We’ve had the pleasure of viewing some awe-inspiring overland campers crafted from ex-military cars such as the M1087 Military Tactics Automobile, this 1954 Dodge Fight Truck, and, most recently, the famed M1078 dubbed Expedition Nugget. However, a TC-497 Overland Mark 2 camper takes the cake!

Source: Calum via YouTube

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