Video: 16 Cylinder, Head Turner!

Frans Van Tatenhove and Martin Quist are really good friends. Martin is a Farmer and Frans works on over the road trucks and heavy equipment. He specializes in Detroit Diesel engines and has been working on them for most of his life. Since both of their hearts are in hot rods, they have been talking about building one from scratch for a long time. So, about a year and a half ago, they finally decided to pull the trigger. What other power plant would they use but a Detroit Diesel, of course?

The loud sound you hear when Frans starts the car in the video is the starter. It is a pneumatic starter.

Frans likes to describe it as a, “1934 Ford Big Hot Rod” and how can you blame him. If the scale of a traditional hot rod is a 1:1, then this would be a 1.5:1 or 1.8:1. The engine alone is roughly 1136 cubic inches and 78 inches long. The 16V71 Detroit Diesel tips the scale at 4,800 pounds and produces 875 horsepower at 2,250 rpms. With this being a 2-stroke engine, it screams like it is turning almost 4500 RPMs.

Behind the engine, Frans opted to install an Allison HT 750 DRD transmission out of a FTF truck. Not familiar with FTF trucks, don’t worry. They are a European truck that Frans has easy access to living in the Netherlands.

When it was time to start the project, they opted to use the frame and steering out of a Ford 9000 Truck but used Scania front and rear axles. The rear axle on a Scania has a splitter which as Frans says, “They are nice for burn outs.” In addition, the Scania has really good and strong disk brakes; always very important when dealing with an 8 to 10 thousand pound toy. 

The front suspension is custom made by Frans and Martin. With a rolling chassis and the powertrain installed, Martin went to work on the body. The entire front grille was scratch built as is the body. The only part that they used from another vehicle is the roof; which came from a Citroen Traction Avant.

That being said, the roof was heavily massaged to get it to fit the body and look right. Looking at the images below, we think that Martin really only needed the window moldings since he basically, sectioned and re-worked the entire roof.

As Martin started creating the body, it was quickly apparent that they needed to notch the frame in order to have foot room. Since they didn’t slide the passenger’s compartment all the way up against the engine, they had plenty of room to notch the frame down (like a reverse c-notch) to create the foot well. This, also, allowed them to dial in the final wheel base of the car they wanted.

Frans estimates that they have another year and a half before this hot rod is fully finished, but if what they have done is any indication, it will be a masterpiece when they are done. We will keep you posted as they progress through this crazy cool, oversized HOT ROD!!! For more build photos, be sure to check out the gallery below.

About the author

Chad Westfall

With diesel running through his veins from childhood, Chad has more than a decade of experience in the automotive industry. From editorial work to wrenching, there isn’t much he hasn't conquered head-on. When he’s not writing and shooting trucks and tech, you’ll find him in the shop working on turning the ideas floating around in his head into reality.
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