It's a part space shuttle, part truck. And it's up for sale.
Have you ever heard of a company called Xcor? It was formed in 1999 by former members of the Rotary Rocket rocket engine development team and, unfortunately, ceased operations in 2017 after filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The firm aimed to take people on space trips in a “suborbital spaceplane” called the Lynx, which was designed as a “reusable launch vehicle.”
In order to perform aerodynamic tests of that space shuttle “in a more cost effective and time efficient manner,” Xcor decided to use an old Ford truck and modify it to carry some of the shuttle’s panels and drive it down the runway at the Mojave Air and Space Port. This takes us to this 1999 Ford F-250 7.3-liter diesel which is currently listed for sale.
Gallery: 1999 Ford F-250 rolling wind tunnel platform for sale
As you can see from the attached images, it’s indeed a chopped F-250 truck with a custom cabin shape that mimics the shape of Xcor’s Lynx spaceplane. The size of the pickup is roughly ⅓ of the shuttle’s actual size and the cargo bed has been replaced by a spaceship-styled fin. Some of the Xcor stickers are still visible on the sides.
Underneath that weird-looking body is a 7.3-liter, 16-valve V8 diesel engine good for 235 horsepower (175 kilowatts) at 2,600 rpm and 500 pound-feet (678 Newton-meters) of torque at 1,600 rpm. It’s mated to a four-speed automatic transmission.
This rolling wind tunnel test platform is up for sale on eBay and the seller says it “has the cool factor, starts and drives.” If you like it, you have just 11 hours to bid before the auction ends as of the time of this writing. There’s just one bid at the moment which meets the starting price of $2,999.