DRAGON FIRE – Powered By Ridiculous 8765Ci 42 Cylinder Radial Engine


We like big trucks, noisy cars, and bizarre racing. Tractor pulling is popular, too.

Dradon Fire Pulling tractor
If you don’t know, tractor-pulling is an odd sport where you hook a tractor to a weighted sled and try to pull it a specified distance (usually 300 feet or 100 meters). On top of the sled is as sliding weight which is geared to the wheels so that it moves forward in proportion to the distance pulled, making it harder the farther you pull. Unsurprisingly, that takes a lot of power. I’ve seen pictures of tractors with as many as five or six supercharged V8s, tractors with 18-cylinder radial engines, tractors with two diesel V12s, and tractors with helicopter turboshaft engines.


DRAGON FIRE - Powered By 42 Cylinder Radial Engine
I always assumed tractor pulling was exclusive to American rednecks. Clearly, I was ignorant, because a lot of the really good tractor-pulling videos are from Germany, the Netherlands, and Australia, where it’s apparently a really popular sport. And my favorite tractor by far is the German “Dragon Fire.”

As much as I like big engines and weird engines, I’ll freely admit that tractor pulling seems a bit excessive. I mean, no wonder it’s so expensive to get into engines: how can I hunt down a good V8 when there are bastards out there sticking five of them on one tractor? And, while I’m at it, stop hogging all the damn superchargers!


Zvezda M503 Radial Engine
Dragon Fire, though, has a more elegant solution. Well, kind of. It depends how you define “elegant,” I guess. Dragon Fire isn’t powered by a bunch of V8s. It’s powered by a single 42-cylinder radial engine: the Zvezda M503, built for use in Soviet missile boats. The Zvezda (means ‘star’ in Russian) is one ridiculous engine. It does have 8.765Ci (143-litres), and yes, there are bigger ones than this, but having 42 cylinders is just out of this world. The cylinders are arranged by 6 in seven banks. That insane, biggest radial so far is sitting on that Dragon Fire machine – and as far as I know that Zvezda is pretty much the biggest radial engine ever built.

I should mention that the M503 powering Dragon Fire is running on methanol, not diesel fuel. And it, apparently, produces closer to 8,000 horsepower, which is absolutely ridiculous, and which makes me happy.



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