Sometimes you run across something so bizarre, so outlandish, you just have to cover it even though it isn't all that relevant to new cars.
So what do YOU think is the purpose of the rather, errrrr, unusual looking vehicle shown here? And is that horse really pulling the ... whatever-it-is? Hmmmmmmmmmm.
OK, would it help answer the questions if we mentioned that the vehicle has its roots in the fabled Roush tuning firm, birthplace of numerous rip-snorting, tire-shredding,hot-rod Mustangs?
No, we didn't think so.
The answers (and the photos) comes to us from British auto-industry analysis firm Just-Auto. We're fond of them, not only because we've written for them a time or two, but because they have a weakness for the unusual and the surreal.
We found the photos reading through their perfectly standard interview of two executives from an automotive consulting and engineering firm. As the introduction says,
UK-based engineering firm Revolve Technologies was formed by [a management buyout] in 2007 when Roush Industries (an engineering arm of the Roush empire perhaps best known for Roush Racing and NASCAR) decided to divest its European operations.
Dave Leggett, editor of Just-Auto, interviewed Revolve's managing director, John Mitchell, and chairman, Andrew Williams. Among many topics, he asked about general engineering projects--including any that were "a little different". Voila!
"The one that springs to mind," said Mitchell, "is the horse trainer that we did for Kurtsystems in Turkey." Yes, that horse inside it is real. But why is the horse surrounded by the vehicle?
The client firmly believes that you should not put a jockey or saddle on a horse until its legs are strong enough. Without going into great detail, he had a prototype trainer vehicle and we took that concept and developed it further, fully engineered it.
Weighing in at around 4 tonnes, the vehicle effectively provides a moving enclosure similar to a starting stall, in which the animal can walk, trot or full gallop freely in a controlled environment, whilst being monitored and trained to optimise race performance.
It's a highly complex mobile race trainer which enables continuous monitoring of the animal at speeds of up to 60kph. Effectively, it's a data capturing laboratory on wheels.
So there you have it. It's a one-of-a-kind, 4-ton, self-propelled laboratory. Thankfully, it operates independently of the horse it's monitoring.
With typical British understatement, Mitchell admits, "Yes, it is a rather unusual bit of equipment, as the pictures testify."
Ah, the British.
UK-based Revolve Technologies developed this moblile race-horse trainer for Kurtsystems