Michelin's 10-Wheel Citroen Centipede Is a Moving Tire Tester at 110 MPH

How many tires do you need? The Citroen Centipede: Yes.
Chris Young

We've written about several Frankenstein car creations in the past few months, such as the jetplane limo and the Mustang-Toyota hybrid, and this Citroen Centipede is certainly a worthy addition to the list.

The French car, which is also known as the Citroen PLR, was recently brought back to our attention via The Drive and several social media posts highlighting the absurdity of this unique creation.


Michelin's 'fast truck', the Citroen Centipede

The official name for the custom Citroen Centipede is the Poids Lourd Rapide (PLR), which roughly translates to "fast truck." The impressive machine was built by a team of Michelin engineers in 1972 in order to test the company's commercial vehicle tires.

Believe it or not, the 10 wheels visible on the outside of the vehicle aren't the ones being tested: inside the Citroen Centipede is a contraption used to test larger truck tires. The extra wheels are actually there as a safeguard for the driver.

Michelin's 10-Wheel Citroen Centipede Is a Moving Tire Tester at 110 MPH
Source: Kike Mustang/Facebook

The Centipede was built using a Citroen DS with front-engine, front-wheel-drive as its platform. As per The Drive, adding bodywork from the DS Safari, the modded car eventually ended up with a wheelbase nearly 23 feet long.

Out of the ten wheels used to drive the vehicle, the front four are for steering and the rear six are the drive wheels.

Going the extra mile for safety 

In order to get this beast going at speeds a little higher than 110 mph (177 km/h) the team installed two GM-sourced 5.7-liter small-block V8s, each of which produces approximately 350 horsepower.

However, only one of the engines sent its power to the vehicle's drive axles. The other one was used to power an 11th wheel hidden inside the Citroen Centipede.

The impressive design was devised so that Michelin could place a large commercial tire for testing inside the PLR without having to worry a blowout would cause the vehicle to lose control — the ten other wheels made the thing pretty stable.

As in-factory testing became more advanced over the years, the Citroen Centipede became obsolete — there was no need to test truck tires out on the road thanks to new treadmill-like testing machinery.

Today, it stands as a testament to the lengths engineers have gone to test vehicles for safety over the years. To see the vehicle in action, have a look at the video below.

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