Berliet and the "Giant of the desert"

Berliet designed the T100 nicknamed the "Giant of the desert"

Berliet y el “Gigante del desierto”

In 1956, Shell exploited several oil concessions in Algeria that were a logistical nightmare. The trucks that managed to get around the dunes could not carry the cargo and those that were loaded were trapped in the dunes. Paul Berliet realizes that it is not feasible to build roads to the wells and that there are no trucks for this type of work. So he got down to business with it. He commissioned André Biliez to create a truck capable of carrying 50 tons of cargo through the dunes without having to step on a track or road. Billiez returns from Africa with the idea of ​​creating a gigantic truck.

In January 1957, the design of the T100 began, it all started with the largest tire made by Michelin and nine months later, in October a 103-ton baby was born, baptized as T100 and exhibited at the Paris motor show before being sent to Algeria. Nicknamed the "Giant of the desert."


This T100 measures 15.30 meters long, almost 4.5 meters high, each wheel weighs almost 1,000 kg and its V12 weighs as much with the Mercedes AMG G 65, that is, 2.5 tons. A V12 that, by the way, drinks from two diesel tanks of 945 liters each.


Under the hood, large as an SUV, it beats at a smooth pace, a 29.6-liter, 600-hp turbodiesel V12 of Cummins origin. Berliet preferred to buy an engine rather than develop his own for cost reasons (and finally got it right). The pair is sent to the six wheels - yes it is four-wheel drive - via a Clark semi-automatic transmission with four forward relationships and as many to the rear. The steering is logically assisted and has its own engine. A two-cylinder Panhard boxer. This is started to move the wheels if necessary and thus avoid turning on the V12 just to turn the wheels.

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