The DS Centipede – 10 Wheeled Tire Testing Monster

In 1972, Michelin needed a way of testing its truck tires at high speed, but was worried about the danger involved with big-rig blowouts.  The answer was this massively modified Citroën DS.
Its official name is the Poids Lourd Rapide, which loosely translates as the ‘fast truck,’ but the French nicknamed it ‘milles-pattes’ – ‘centipede’.

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Michelin owned Citroën at the time, so they raided the parts bin to create it.  Most of the bodywork is from a DS Safari, while the wheels (11 if you include the wheel in the center) and hubs are from an H van.

Naturally, with so many wheels on the ground, a lot of power was needed.  This came in the form of two 5.7-litre Chevrolet V8s.


One of these engines powered the rear six wheels, while the other powered the mid-mounted truck rim that was fitted with a test tire.

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The front four wheels were responsible for steering.  The Centipede’s top speed was 179 kph (111mph), which isn’t bad considering it weighed an incredible ten tons.

See it action in this french Michelin film:


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