TopGear.com01 November 2013

This Australian mine truck is awesome

Move over, Marauder: Industrea's Mine Cruiser is our new favourite post-apocalypse SUV

This is an Australian mine truck and it is awesome

If your office is several hundred metres under the earth's surface in the coal-filled depths an Australian mine, how do you commute to work? In one of these.

This is the Industrea Mk 7.0 TIER 3 Mine Cruiser, designed to transport 14 miners through the sweaty maze of tunnels within the world's biggest coal mines. Top Gear has no desire to work in a dusty Australian pit, but we want one of these very much.

Styled in the post-apocalyptic safari idiom, the Mine Cruiser packs a special 4.3-litre four-cylinder diesel engine that's specially designed to prevent sparks and excess heat.

See, coal dust ignites if it reaches 163 degrees Celsius. Which, underground, would be very bad news. Industry regs mean every external surface on vehicles has to stay under 150 degrees Celsius so, inside the Mine Cruiser's engine, spark "arrestors" and pressure-tested components work in tandem to contain the combustion process, and as exhaust leaves the cylinders, a water jacket around the manifolds cools it down.

The actual exhaust pipe then goes through a water bath to remove particulates and cool the gases, so when they leave the Cruiser they're below 77 degrees C and thus incapable of turning the mine's tunnels into a Michael Bay action scene.

Far more importantly, the Mine Cruiser resembles an unholy blend of riot wagon, Citroen Mehari and the Meccano project of a very troubled child. We love it.

When the apocalypse comes and mankind must descend below the scorched earth, would you rather be driving this, Hammond's Marauder or that Mercedes Zetros?

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