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Storm Chasers' GMC Sierra TWISTEX Probe Tornado Chase Truck – Click above for high-res image gallery

Chasing tornadoes is an endeavor that few individuals willingly undertake, but the nutjobs meteorologists on the Discovery Channel's Storm Chasers are clearly a breed apart. They hunt for storms and point their wheels toward deadly weather, all in the name of science and adventure.

A few years ago, we got a peek at a vehicle designed to venture directly into the path of serious weather conditions. Dubbed the Tornado Intercept Vehicle, it can withstand a direct hit from a passing tornado. It's since been scrapped for the more powerful and capable TIV2. Now, not every storm-chasing ride needs to withstand a tornado in order to learn more about it. For this season's storms, another group of chasers has prepared a custom GMC Sierra quad-cab that's ready to tackle some serious weather-related situations, and even though it doesn't look like it's been designed to go into the heart of a tornado itself, there's some pretty amazing equipment aboard. Click through to the jump for more information on this customized GMC.


TWISTEX Probe Tornado Chase Vehicle
  • TWISTEX Probe Tornado Chase Vehicle
  • TWISTEX Probe Tornado Chase Vehicle
  • TWISTEX Probe Tornado Chase Vehicle
  • TWISTEX Probe Tornado Chase Vehicle
  • TWISTEX Probe Tornado Chase Vehicle
  • TWISTEX Probe Tornado Chase Vehicle
  • TWISTEX Probe Tornado Chase Vehicle
  • TWISTEX Probe Tornado Chase Vehicle
  • TWISTEX Probe Tornado Chase Vehicle
  • TWISTEX Probe Tornado Chase Vehicle
  • TWISTEX Probe Tornado Chase Vehicle
  • TWISTEX Probe Tornado Chase Vehicle
  • TWISTEX Probe Tornado Chase Vehicle
  • TWISTEX Probe Tornado Chase Vehicle
  • TWISTEX Probe Tornado Chase Vehicle
  • TWISTEX Probe Tornado Chase Vehicle
  • TWISTEX Probe Tornado Chase Vehicle
  • TWISTEX Probe Tornado Chase Vehicle
  • TWISTEX Probe Tornado Chase Vehicle
  • TWISTEX Probe Tornado Chase Vehicle
  • TWISTEX Probe Tornado Chase Vehicle
  • TWISTEX Probe Tornado Chase Vehicle
  • TWISTEX Probe Tornado Chase Vehicle
  • TWISTEX Probe Tornado Chase Vehicle

[Source: LINE-X]
Tim Samaras and his storm-hunting Team TWISTEX are also featured on Storm Chasers, and the crew regularly experiences extreme weather events that we're happy to experience from the comfort of our sofa via HDTV. To get in and out of such dangerous situations safely, Samaras built a truck that can handle truly violent conditions. The starting platform is a 2008 GMC Sierra one-ton diesel pickup. Unlike the Tornado Intercept Vehicle, it still actually looks like a production truck, but it's quite a bit more complex than that.

TWISTEX Probe frontThis particular GMC Sierra, called the TWISTEX Probe, is fitted with a dizzying array of gear related to both scientific research and survival. A massive brush guard sits up front and is equipped with four HID driving lights, including one that was already tested thanks to a courageous deer that gave its life in the name of science. (Click through the gallery and you can see the results of that impact). A winch with 8,000 pounds of pulling power and an air compressor are also mounted up front.

Sitting on top of the hood is a hail research plate that was custom designed by Tim Samaras. It utilizes carbon composite sample and piezo impact blocks to collect data on hail impacts. The lights mounted up the A-Pillars are used to illuminate the impacts, which are captured on high-speed cameras.

In the back of the truck, behind flip-up side doors of the specially constructed bed cap, sits an assortment of data logging devices, auxiliary batteries,VHF radios and the extremely important tornado probe. The tornado probe weighs 400 pounds and is accessed using a 1,500-pound capacity lift. That weight comes from the six cameras, five anemometers, smoke generators and 3D wind profile instrumentation that's all attached to a steel base. The hydraulically-powered rear lift deploys and recovers the heavy probe.

Besides making room for research gear, one's safety must also be considered. Tim Samaras needed to protect not just himself and his team, but the truck as well. Regular paint wouldn't do, so Samaras turned to Line-X for protection he sought.

LINE-X being applied to the TWISTEX Probe

Typically known for its spray-in bedliners, LINE-X coated the entire truck, and the result is a virtual force field of material that withstands the common impacts experienced storms. Kevin Heronimus, CEO of Line-X Protective Coatings said,
"This was the ultimate field test to prove the rugged capabilities of Line-X Protective Coatings. There was no damage from hail, debris or high force winds and we are very proud of our products."
The XS-100 material used in this application is a polyurethane and polyurea formulation that was chosen for its durable, long-lasting and high-performance qualities. XS-100 protects from abrasion, corrosion and impacts making it ideal for use on the TWISTEX Probe tornado chase truck.

If you think your truck is tough because it can handle a snowy New England winter or rainy Northwestern shower, think again. The GMC Sierra TWISTEX Probe is designed for people who look at dangerous weather on the horizon... then smile, fire up the diesel, and floor it into the eye of the storm.

Show full PR text
LINE-X® SELECTS 2010 SEMA SHOW TO OFFICIALLY LAUNCH ASPART-X™ AND TO SHOWCASE ITS NEW INVOLVEMENT WITH DISCOVERY CHANNEL'S STORM CHASERS

-- LINE-X Highlights its Recent Durability Successes on Discovery Channel --

HUNTSVILLE, Ala., October 20, 2010 - LINE-X Protective Coatings, the nation's leading developer and provider of high performance protective coatings, is gearing up for the 2010 SEMA Show November 2-5, 2010 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. This year LINE-X brings not only its full line-up of products showcasing its many uses for spray-on truck bedliners and industrial coatings, but will also highlight its involvement with Tim Samaras and the LINE-X coated GMC Sierra chase truck from the Discovery Channel's Storm Chasers. LINE-X will also be featuring its newest product, ASPART-X, an industrial polyaspartic polyurea protective coating for flooring. Although widely known for its bedliner coatings, LINE-X has broadened its product offerings and is now using LINE-X and ASPART-X for many different industrial applications.

Samaras is well known from the Discovery Channel hit series Storm Chasers – a documentary series that follows extreme weather enthusiasts on the hunt to catch rare footage and data from the world's most violent tornados. This past spring,
LINE-X was invited to be a part of Storm Chasers by spray coating the entire GMC Sierra "TWISTEX Probe" tornado chase truck with LINE-X Protective Coatings to help shield the vehicle from the extremely high force winds and severe weather present in tornado conditions. "This was the ultimate field test to prove the rugged capabilities of LINE-X Protective Coatings. There was no damage from hail, debris or high force winds and we are very proud of our products," said Kevin Heronimus, CEO of LINE-X Protective Coatings. Storm Chasers airs Wednesdays on the Discovery Channel at 10:00 p.m. Eastern.

With the soft launch of ASPART-X completed, LINE-X selected SEMA to make the official announcement of its newest product. A ZERO VOC, aliphatic polyurea, ASPART-X provides superior U/V stability and is a versatile coating with virtually limitless possibilities. From residential decks, patios, garage/basement floors - to commercial & industrial applications - ASPART-X provides unsurpassed protection from the elements.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 27 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      Tornado proof floor mats?
      • 4 Years Ago
      And the last horse crosses the line...

      You guys are a bit behind on showing this.

      Oh and also, nice job on calling then nutjobs after one of team members on the TIV committed suicide. That was REAL heartfelt./sarcasm
        • 4 Years Ago
        Way to take it somewhere we didn't...

        It's a joke. We have nothing but the utmost respect for people who push mental and physical limits to learn more about the world around us all .
      • 4 Years Ago
      Anyone watch the show? Is it any good? Looks interesting.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "RIP Matt...

        Remember people... Nothing is SO bad that you need to take your life."

        I by no means advocate suicide, but I think I can understand WHY Matt may have taken his own life. From my understanding, he suffered from severe depression most of his life, and storm chasing had been a passion of his for years. A week before he apparently took his own life, he was responsible for the team's greatest tornado intercept. If you saw the episode, you could just see the utter joy he experienced at that moment. Maybe he thought that was as good as it was going to get and that nothing else was ever going to make him that happy again??

        Regardless of the reason, or lack thereof, it's tragic.
        • 4 Years Ago
        It is a great show.

        It has been "Season Pass" status on my TiVo ever since it first aired with season one.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Agreed! VERY interesting show. I've watched it since day one! It's DVR'd every week.

        RIP Matt...

        Remember people... Nothing is SO bad that you need to take your life.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Good thing they have a smoke generator to hide from the tornado.......just kidding.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Congrats to these guys on having the least goofy chasing truck out there.

      Coating your car with plastic coating isn't really how you make a vehicle more tornado-proof.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Never send a truck to do a Sierra's job.....
        • 4 Years Ago
        This GMC isn't meant to drive into a tornado. The others are, hence the goofy shape and air suspension that allows it to be lowered onto the ground.

        KEY difference that you missed right there....
      • 4 Years Ago
      I worked with some guys from Line-X in Ohio for the student project team I was on in college...those guys will seriously coat any and everything they can get their hands on. At the facility I went to, they had a pop can, a hard hat, and a few other random items they sprayed just for the heck of it. That stuff is strong!
        • 4 Years Ago
        brb coating my truck in line-x
      • 4 Years Ago
      Im surprised the LineX coating hasn't caught on more, would be great for something that goes off road frequently.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @ spin cycle

        You completely missed the point of the coating, didn't you?

        It wasn't to SAVE the paint, it was to protect the vehicle itself from hail damage and keep the panels straight and dent free for longer.
        • 4 Years Ago
        A coating like these guys are using will only protect the paint, not the occupants. And in this case, you end up destroying the paint to save it.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I don't see how it's a stretch to call these people crazy.

      After the first season of just Sean fighting with the radar guy and the 2nd season of just Sean showing giving an IMAX camera to him is a waste of time and money, they finally got tired of artificial conflict and went out and got someone who is dumb enough to not even have a proper sense of self-preservation (Reed Timmer).

      I do give Timmer credit for coming up with the idea of the skirt to keep the vehicle on the ground, beyond that the only thing he really brings is being more foolish than the other people.

      The show isn't really much about the science, even as much as it once was. They're just going to push it to the edge until they found out what you really can't get away with inside a tornado.

      The smoke generator came from seeing a lot of smoke in a tornado, but the amount of smoke this can generate is so small you won't see it after it gets about 10 feet into the tornado, it'll just be too thinly spread to see.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I wondered what that surface was... Factory GM paint jobs aren't that rough. I kid, I kid.

      RIP Matt Hughes
        • 4 Years Ago
        Haha.

        And yes, RIP indeed..
      • 4 Years Ago
      am i the only one who thinks they should have gone with a raptor crew cab
      • 4 Years Ago
      Needs more lights....
      • 4 Years Ago
      Thant is one hell of a chase vehicle and the details of the preparation behind it are outstanding. Good luck to the chasers, I hope these people catch all of the data they are looking for and don't forget to stock up some diesel exhaust fluid in a can because LOW power when it runs low!

      Onstar, we received your signal you need some assistance?!?
      When is the next storm chasers on TV please?
        • 4 Years Ago
        No DEF fluid, it's a 2008 model.
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