By Jack Scagnetti
From the March, 1977 issue of Popular Science.
One of the largest and most ingenious vehicles ever built to perform in a motion picture will play a leading role in the sci-fil thriller Damnation Alley, a Twentieth Century-Fox film.
The Land Master, an 11-ton, 35-foot-long military machine, is used to transport survivors of a nuclear ware easward from Arizona in search of other humans. In an attempt to reach the East Cost, where they think some remnants of civilization may exist, they battle a continent ravaged by the holocaust and bombarded by freak weather conditions in which only a special all-terrain vehicle such as the Land Master can manuever.
The Land Master was build by Dean Jeffries of Studio City, California, based on the patented invention of Robert W. Forsyth and John P. Forsyth, of the Vehicle Development Corporation. Its most outstanding feature is a system of 12 wheels arranged in triagnular sets that enable the machine to run easily through sand, mud, and water. The triagnular wheel assembly, gear-driven at all times, operates with two wheels on the ground and one above. If the LandMaster hits a rock or a hole, the top wheel rotates into position to force the Land Master over or through the obstacle. Highly manueverable, the vehicle can turn at 30 degrees and make a complete circle in 35 feet. Farm=equiopment tire, 38 inches in diameter and 24 inches wide, are mounted on special 16.1-inch wheels.
The body is build of steel, sheet metal, and aluminum. "On a high speed run of 55 mph, with a 25 foot drop, the Land Master suffered no damage." Jeffries said.
All doors are weather-stripped, and the lower part of the machine is waterproffed iwth a sealer similar to undercoasting. In one scene, the Land Master floats across Flat Head Lake, Montana.
Mounted on the Land Master are six cannons operated by remote control, and a pair of armor-piercing bazookas. The vehicle is eqiupped with closed-circuit television, a radar scanner, two bunk beds, shower and bathroom.
Powering the huge machine is Ford 391-cubic-inch industrial truck engine equipped with special headers by Cragar and an intake manifold by Edelbrock.
Jeffries said that it took his shop newarly three months to build the Land Master -- "the biggest and toughest challenge" of the car builder's long carer. His most difficult project before that was the moon vehicle used a few years ago in the James Bond thriller, Diamonds Are Forever.
If you think a Land Master might come in handy and wonder about its cost, Jeffries would only say that it was in the six-figure category.