Race Changing Vehicles – The Terrible Herbst El Tiburón or “The Land Shark)”


Herbst Landshark TruggyEvery style of racing has it’s game changing vehicle. Audi showing up at LeMans with a Diesel prototype. Tajima bringing Electric to Pikes Peak. Turbo F1 cars in the 1980’s. Off road racing has had many of these game changing vehicles because of the “unlimited” nature of the top classes of the sport but the Terrible Herbst “Land Shark” is one of the most successful vehicles of the past 20 years. It came on the scene in 1998 and took the Class 1 Championship which it won every year through 2003 and again in 2006. It won the Baja 2000 overall(yes it was double the length in 2000) and followed up with back to back overall Baja 1000 wins in 2004 and 2005 and then again in 2007.

Herbst Landshark Truggy

The design appeared relatively simple but the engineering was well founded. It was built like a tank and crushed the competition. It took nearly a decade for the competition to catch up. Take a look at the competition history at the bottom of the page and you’ll see how dominate this vehicle was. Or watch this video and the Land Shark’s suspension in action:

If you want more Land Shark porn take a look at this video that Mad Media put together! This is why desert racing and unlimited race classes are so awesome.


Build Details

Herbst Landshark TruggyOwner: Terrible Herbst Motorsports
Builder: Mike Smith Fabrication
Date completed: 1995
Top Speed: 150 mph
Chassis: Mike Smith Fabrication
Frame: 4130 Chromoly Tube
Weight: 5,900 lbs
Wheel Base: 125″
Track Width: 96”Front, 91” Rear
Engine: Patton Racing Engines, 454in small block, Ford V8
Cooling: Ron Davis Radiators
Exhaust: R.E.F. Unlimited, Stainless
Plumbing: Brown & Miller Racing Solution
Transmission: Culhane Racing Transmission Turbo 400
Driveline: Driveline Unlimited
Torque Converter: Coan Converter
Brakes: 13” Brembo 4-piston calipers
Fuel Cell: 64 gallon Harmon Fuel Cell, Weldon fuel pumps
Tires: 39 x 13.5 R17 BFGoodrich KR
Wheels: 17” Ultra Xtreme Wheel
Paint/Graphics: Airbrush- Gator Graphics / Vinyl – Patrick’s Signs
Body: McQueen prototype
Front Suspension: A-arm, Mike Smith solid piston Bypass shock, Mike Smith coilover, Mike Smith Racing shocks, 30” travel
Rear Suspension: Solid axel, 4-link, trailing arm designs, Chrisman 11” third member, 34” travel, Mike Smith Solid piston bypass shock, Mike Smith coilover, Mike Smith Racing Shock
Steering: Steering box, Power Steering Solution pump, Smith ram
Paneling: Carbon, Aluminum
Wiring: Tom Oliva, American Wire Harness
Lights: KC HiLites
Navigation: Lawrence GPS, Leadnav Systems
Communication: Racing Communication
Seats: Cobra Technology
Safety: Simpson harnesses, Mastercraft Safety window nets

Herbst Landshark Truggy