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Death on Wheels Tournament – Meet the Drag Race of Doom’s Contenders

A few months back, I wrote a column entitled “Death Drives a Buick: The Top 10 Killer Cars.” It was a simple ranking, based on my opinion, but it got me to thinking — what would happen if these death machines had it out on the open road? Oh, sure, they can kill people (like that’s hard… a frickin’ doll can do it), but can they kill each other?

That’s the question we are going to answer right here and now, my friends. Normally, our tournaments have sixteen contestants, but this time we’ve limited it to eight. These great eight will duke it out over the two weeks, and the victor will emerge based not on my opinion but on yours. Speak your mind!


No. 8: The Landmaster from Damnation Alley
What The Dirty Dozen was to ensemble casts of movie ass-whippers, Damnation Alley was for ass-whipping TV stars. Jan Michael Vincent and George Peppard starred, and who’s that other dude? Why, it’s Jackie Earle Haley, the new Freddy Kreuger. But we’re not talkin’ cast, we’re talking mast, as in The Landmaster. Check out the crazy triangular wheel assemblies on this bad boy! Rockets, heavy armor and a wacky inverted parallelogram shape a-la the Jawas’ rollin’ home base, and you’ve got a vehicle ready to turn any Abrams tank into a punk be-yotch. Pedigree it ain’t got, but mean looks? Hell yeah.

No. 7: 1941 Chevy COE from Jeepers Creepers
Clearly inspired by the sixth seed, the 1955 Peterbuilt, this is another old-school, rusted-out piece of American-made bad-assery. If you melted down Charles Bronson and Lee Marvin then poured their molten awesomeness into a Detroit assembly line, a this truck would pop out — pre-rusted and already dented. Oh… also driven by a monster that eats people. Kick ass!

No. 6: 1955 Peterbilt from Duel
Aside from Samuel L. Jackson’s wallet, nothing says Bad Motherf–er like a rusted-up 1955 Peterbilt tanker truck. Seriously. This thing looks like Chuck Norris’s vehicle for stepping out on the town (oh, sorry Mr. Norris, stepping on the town). A classic vehicle villain, the Peterbilt had speed, mass, and and probably eat machinegun fire for lunch. And don’t worry about the tanker part — it’s not filled with gas, it’s filled with Ghostbusters protoplasm. True story.

No. 5: Dead Reckoning RV from Land of the Dead
A tricked-out RV made to slaughter zombies (and also, shoot fireworks! Yay!), this bad boy could easily be refitted as a highway horror hell bent on turning any opponent into scrap metal. Dead Reckoning can take a beating as well, relying on heavy armor to shrug off attacks from lesser foes before delivering a rock up your tailpipe.

No. 4: Goblin Truck from Maximum Overdrive
While it ranked only No. 5 on the Top Ten list, it gets a boost from the fact that it is a big ol’ 18-wheeler. That means it can run other cars off the road, if not outright possess them and force them to commit suicide (hey, if you can turn a Pepsi machine into a killer, you can get a Ford to frag itself). And be honest, the goblin head sure doesn’t hurt.

No. 3: Stuntman Mike’s 1970 Chevy Nova and 1969 Dodge Charger from Death Proof
The question here isn’twhether or not this car should have a high ranking. The question is whether or not Kurt Russell is driving. If he is, then high ranking. Boom-dead-done. Stuntman Mike’s ride has no supernatural goodness, but the passenger seat is built for killing. If you’ve seen the movie, you know the car can take out other vehicles and leave bloody tire tracks streaking down the highway. Maybe the movie makes little sense, but the car is bad-ass.

No. 2: Frankenstein’s car from Death Race 2000
A surprise No. 2 seed… that’s right, no Death Race 3000 cars made it in, and how could they? Did any of them have a car called Frankenstein with red monster eyes, scales, teeth and a lizard ridge running down the hood? No. But Death Race 2000 had exactly that in a modified Corvette. This bad mutha gets the high seed based on looks alone, and baby, it’s got a lot more than looks.

No. 1: Christine
I think there’s no question but that the mother of all killer cars deserves the top seed. Perhaps a 1958 Plymouth Fury doesn’t have the mass of a semi, or the firepower of an anti-zombie RV, but what it does have is self-healing power. You can beat up this cherry ride until it looks like a scrap yard Volvo, and it will just keep on coming.

And there you have them, killer kar kommandos: Start your engines and cast your votes.


contagious-cover-500.preview.jpgNew York Times best-selling author Scott Sigler writes tales of hard-science horror, then gives them away as free audiobooks at His novel INFECTED was named as Border’s #1 mystery, thriller and horror novel for 2008. His next major hardcover horror/thriller ANCESTOR will be out on May 4, 2010.

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