Blame It on Monster Garage
One day, self-described gear-head Jan Polewaczyk spotted a 1942 half-track light armored vehicle in a farmer’s yard. He envisioned the vehicle restored to its World War II glory days — and then some.
“My dad was a mechanic and I grew up constantly taking things apart and putting them back together,” says Polewaczyk. “But really, I think I’ve watched too many episodes of Monster Garage.”
The result? Liberty Bell, that same half track, now boasting two Chevy 454 engines — and a C-1610, 4000 horsepower Lear jet engine, all toward Polewaczyk’s goal of someday setting a speed record for the fastest armored vehicle.
Liberty Bell will be one of the featured military vehicles at this year’s Pacific Coast Dream Machines Show, April 30 at Half Moon Bay Airport.
“It’s kind of a Frankenstein project,” he says. “It was pretty much in bits and pieces when I first got it. I knew I’d be modifying the back, but I really wanted to keep the cab and front part as original as possible.”
Having already reached speeds over 100 MPH, Liberty Bell is street legal –– and not just all about muscle.
Staying true to the half-track’s original mission as a major Allied asset in World War II, the truck has a patriotic theme, with graphics of the US Constitution, all the amendments, and original art from a World War II bomber.
At this point, Polewaczyk says Liberty Bell is more about speed than handling.
“To state the obvious, that jet engine has a lot of power. Our next quest is to figure out how to achieve the speed while still being able to maintain control.”
He works on the half-track with Karl Schunk, who isn’t just the crew chief, but also Polewaczyk’s brother-in-law.
“The question we are asked most often is ‘why three engines?’” says Polewaczyk. “I just smile and say ‘because we couldn’t fit four.’”