It looks like a mix between the Batmobile and a vehicle out of a Mad Max movie.
Made out of mild armour plate steel for small arms fire protection, the Screaming Eagle weighs in at around 8,000 kg (18,000 pounds) and gets around three km per litre (seven to eight miles per gallon) in the city.
The monolithic vehicle — 8.5 metres (28 feet) in length and around 1.8 metres (about six feet) tall — was created by Jack Holt.
The Red Deer man created the Holt Tree Spade in 1957 and has more than a passing knowledge of all things mechanical.
Holt first designed the vehicle in 1999, after being contacted by a stuntman from Ventura, Calif.
The stuntman wanted a bullet-proof car that he could drive through buildings, haystacks or just about whatever else came his way.
Holt had already designed the vehicle, done the engineering for it and looked into parts and supplies, when the man couldn’t come up with the money to build the car. A couple years after that Holt decided to built it himself, making it from scratch.
“This is the only one in the world,” Holt said. “Nobody else has designed one.”
It took 4,000 hours, over an eight- to nine-year period, to complete the unique transportation.
The Screaming Eagle has a two-cycle diesel engine, built by Detroit Allison, a division of General Motors.
It is known as a heavy-duty emergency engine and is the same one that is used in fire department boats. The supercharged and turbocharged engine is capable of 1,020 horsepower and speeds of more than 300 km/h (200 miles/hour), but Holt has set it lower for licensing and insurance purposes.
The engine inspired the name because a Detroit diesel two-cycle is often called a Screaming Jimmy as a result of the noise it makes.
Holt said the engine can be quite loud when revved, but out on the open highway, driving normally, it isn’t overly loud.
The vehicle is street legal, with it being built according to highway standards. It has been inspected by the Alberta Department of Transportation and is licensed and insured for the road.
The two-seater is built in a cockpit style, with the cab lifting up like the cockpit of an airplane.
The engine is located midship — meaning it sits in the middle of the vehicle — with a 2.4 by 2.4 metre (eight by eight foot) engine room. There is a 2.1 by 1.8 metre (seven foot by six foot) wide bunk in the back of the car.
Holt started the construction with one solid plate of steel on the bottom of the vehicle, with just two holes for oil pans, then built the body and the rest of the car.
He has created it so that it is virtually theft proof. All the wheels and brakes lock so it can’t be towed away. He can shut off the entire system with a remote so that nothing will work.
Both of the axles are air ride, meaning that rather than springs the vehicle uses airbags to cushion the bumps. As a result the vehicle is particularly smooth riding.
Wherever Holt takes the car it causes a commotion.
Even while parked on a side street in Red Deer talking to a reporter, people constantly stop to take a look.
He has driven it in parades, taken it at auto shows and displayed it so that charitable organizations can make money.