Streamliner Ford F-250 Built for Spacecraft Aero Testing Could Be Your Drag Racing Hero
A bit unconventional, sure, but that's the point.
Launching one-percenters into the thermosphere aboard a private space shuttle ain't easy—just ask the handful of firms that have ve tried and failed due to one common snag (hint: it's money). Still, that hasn't stopped some of the most ambitious brains from dreaming up complex spacecraft to ship you and yours into orbit for a mega paycheck and endless bragging rights. Texas-based startup Xcor was one such company that, like the others, ultimately went bankrupt without ever sending a human to infinity and beyond. It did, however, leave behind one helluva test truck—dubbed the 1999 Ford F-250 "Trunnel"—and now it's for sale.
Built specifically to test the aerodynamics of downscaled Lynx spaceplane models, the pickup-turned-streamliner is anything but average. Since it was developed with such a particular purpose in mind, Xcor threw out all the non-essentials and replaced them with bits that could help improve its personal 'craft in the mid-2010s. The metal roof was chopped as a result and promptly replaced by a lightweight, see-through unit with essentially zero headroom, and the old bed was swapped for a boat-tail rear that would look at home on most Bonneville salt flat racers.
Once the truck and model spaceplane were dropped off at a patch of vast wide-openness, Xcor would then theoretically fit the latter on a specially built rig atop the Ford. Workers used key marker points to ensure there was little to no flow disturbance from the Trunnel, allowing a more realistic and usable simulation that could help them make tweaks to the Lynx spacecraft where necessary.
There were multiple tests performed, many without the actual Lynx model in place, which contributed to its development.
The super-slippery workhorse essentially eliminated the need for a costly wind tunnel, therefore giving the truck its "Trunnel" moniker. When the visionary company consequentially shut down and filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2017, though, it was left without a real reason to stick around. After all, how are you supposed to develop multi-billion dollar space rockets catered to the uber-rich without any funding?
Luckily for us, that means the Ford is now for sale to the general public; just be prepared for the caveats that come with it. It probably isn't road legal anymore, and even if it were to somehow pass a state's regulations, it couldn't perform any normal truck tasks since it doesn't have a bed or receiver hitch. Still, its 7.3-liter Power Stroke turbodiesel is known for its longevity and, with the right exhaust, could also make plenty of jet turbine sounds.
Power is sent to the rear wheels only, making this the perfect candidate for a drag racing hero tour. With the right amount of tuning (and some safety upgrades), the Trunnel could be a star in the world of quarter- or standing-mile racing. Heck, maybe even throw in some real rocket boosters. You do you, boo boo.
According to the eBay listing's AutoCheck report, the truck currently resides in Arizona. Surprisingly, it's never even been wrecked, at least in a way that would've caused the airbags to deploy or leave a mark on the title. All in all, its clean two-owner history does all the convincing someone would need to go pick it up for themselves—so long as the auction doesn't reach taller heights than Xcor ever could.
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