The guys at Garage 54 are on a mission. Not content with making a wheel and tire hit just 385 mph, the team is on a mission to send a wheel past the sound barrier. It’s a goal that’s stupid and absurd and I can’t stop watching.
The last time we checked on the guys at Garage 54, they were busy trying to make car wheels go as fast as physically possible. They ran into some bottlenecks. Not only were the tires practically disintegrating at high speed, but the old Ladas they hacked apart for the task just didn’t produce enough power. The speed of sound is about 767 mph, so the team has a tall order to fill.
Not wanting to give up, Vlad explains how they acquired a Toyota 2MZ-FE. This 2.5-liter engine is good for 200 horsepower, hopefully plenty to break past the sound barrier. The engine also has an automatic transmission, so there doesn’t need to be a person changing gears way too close to the action.
Vlad’s also hoping that the heavier duty Toyota running gear won’t fall apart like the Lada’s did.
It’s at this point you may want to point out how the tire also fell apart at only 385 mph. How were they going to get a tire to go faster? Garage 54's solution to that was to find a Z-rated tire good for beyond 186 mph.
The team tested the rig before setting out to its “proving grounds,” a firing range. Here, Vlad explains that the car’s throttle will be operated by an actuator that allows them to be at a safe distance. You know things are serious when Garage 54 is trying to take safety into account.
Of course, no ambitious test like this is going to go perfectly smoothly and the team had to give it multiple tries before even coming close to the speed of sound. Right from the gate they had a tire implosion and the engine got stuck banging off of its rev limiter after an axle shaft fell out of the transmission.
Undeterred, the team pushed forward, putting the axle shaft back in and trying to solve the issue with tire implosions by drilling a hole into the wheel and using a tire tube.
On Vlad’s final test, the tire spun so fast that it exploded in spectacular fashion, but he was worried about how fast it spun before falling apart.
His worry turned to dread as the tachometer didn’t show a reading.
Thankfully, a camera pointed at the tach showed that the wheel had spun up to 10,437 RPM, or 827 mph.
For those of you counting, yep, they not only hit the speed of sound, but blew right past it.
As for what a tire explosion at over 800 mph does, the tire was absolutely mangled and absolutely destroyed the plywood placed under the test rig.
It was definitely a good idea to do the test at a distance.
Watch Garage 54 for more of their awesome experiments!