Nine crazy six-wheeled cars
For maximum impact, four wheels just aren't enough. Here are some of the wildest six-wheelers in motoring history. - By Graham Hope
If you’re the type of person who loves to make a statement in your car, these days there’s a host of ways to do it, whether it’s by way of more power, more bling or a lurid paint job. But if you really want to command attention, there’s one type of vehicle that’s guaranteed to put you centre stage regardless of anything else that may be on the road – a six-wheeler.
While less is often claimed to be more, when it comes to wheels the indisputable truth is that more actually IS more. As you might expect, there have been some mind-boggling six-wheeled creations over the years. Here are some of the best.
Mercedes G63 AMG 6x6
Arguably the most famous six-wheeler of recent times, and with good reason. Originally developed for the Australian military, a production version followed with AMG’s monstrous 536bhp 5.5-litre V8, standard 37-inch wheels and five differential locks. Easily the most extreme Mercedes SUV ever, and at £370,000, it had a price tag to match. One for footballers to salivate over.
Kahn Project Flying Huntsman 6x6
Anything Merc can do, we Kahn do better… That seemed to be the sentiment at play when Yorkshire performance specialist Kahn unveiled a 6x6 version of its Land Rover Defender-based Project Flying Huntsman. As with the Mercedes, it is generously powered, with a 6.2-litre GM V8 that produces in the region of 430bhp. A four-row 'Civilian Carrier’ version with seating for nine is also available if this is too basic for you...
Range Rover SLT
If the Kahn isn’t conspicuous enough for you, perhaps you should consider the Range Rover SLT from Berlin-based T.Fotiadis Design? Described modestly as “a superyacht lifestyle ambassador vehicle for the city,” the SLT is designed to transport superyacht owners and their guests “from pier to hotel or for an exciting night on the town.” Hmmm… Six metres long, based on an Autobiography LWB and observably not a car for the purist.
Townley Desert Ranger
Range Rover conversions are not a new idea. Back in the Eighties, London-based coachbuilder Townley Cross-Country Vehicles produced a series of Desert Ranger vehicles designed for exceptionally rich clients in the Middle East. Six-wheel versions were available, and the lavishly equipped vehicles came with a TV, video and hi-fi and a widened body, to provide the ultimate in luxury. Engine choice was a 3.5-litre Rover V8 or 5.7-litre Chevrolet unit.
Texas-based Hennessey Performance Engineering has a simple purpose – it makes fast cars go faster. But arguably its most startling creation is the VelociRaptor 6x6, which is based on the 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor. The pick-up features a twin-turbo engine delivering in excess of 600bhp, 6x6 locking rear axles, 20-inch wheels and upgraded suspension, as well as some beefy styling add-ons. Fancy it? Prices start at $349,000 (£273,000)....
This astonishing creation, produced by British company Panther, featured an 8.2-litre Cadillac V8 twin-turbo 600bhp engine and a twin front axle, and was available with a detachable hard-top and convertible soft-top. It caused a sensation when it was unveiled at the 1977 London Motorfair, at Earls Court. But with a price tag that was significantly in excess of the most established supercars, this Panther was to remain a rare beast and sadly only two were ever produced.
Another wannabe supercar which went down the six-wheel route was Italy’s Covini C6W. Originally conceived in the Seventies, it wasn’t until 2004 that a prototype finally appeared. Its mid-mounted 434bhp 4.2-litre Audi V8 is unlikely to set too many pulses racing in this area of the market, and it’s not clear how many have been sold. But the C6W still makes the odd appearance at motor shows, and the Covini website suggests it’s available to buy if you feel the need.
Sbarro Citroen Cruise Crosser
This Citroen pick-up was based on the C-Crosser SUV, and both made their debut at the 2007 Geneva Motor Show. The Cruise Crosser was an early hybrid, with the third row of wheels powered by a 20kW electric motor, and a 2.2-litre turbodiesel engine under the bonnet. In this company, it looks almost conventional; proof that you still can still make a visual impact without going completely overboard. Who’d have thought you’d ever say that about an orange six-wheeler?
Ok, we know this countdown is all about making a statement and there’s no way you could take a GP racer out on the road. But no list of six-wheelers could possibly be complete without the legendary Tyrrell P34, which caused a stir in Formula One when it debuted in 1976 with its four, small 10-inch diameter wheels at the front and conventionally sized ones at the rear. The theory was this would improve grip, eliminate understeer and improve handling. And it worked to an extent, with Jody Scheckter and Patrick Depailler claiming a 1-2 in the 1976 Swedish GP. But the success was short-lived and by the end of 1977, Tyrrell’s flirtation with six wheels was over.