Tony O'Kane | Jun 4, 2009

IF THERE EVER was a prize for the most ballsy vehicular stunt ever, we'd be willing to bet American modfied car guru Jesse James is well on his way to winning it.

James, the face behind the popular Monster Garage series, is in the midst of preparing a land-speed record challenger fuelled by hydrogen, which he will take to the salt flats of California later this month in an attempt to rewrite the record books.

Based on an old streamliner that harks back to the 1960s, James' car will use a Chevy 572ci (9.37 litre) V8 engine in lieu of the streamliner's original Chrysler motor, and will run it on compressed gaseous hydrogen rather than liquified hydrogen.

Yep, there's no namby-pamby fuel cells here, just a honkingly-big V8 with more litres than cylinders.

Oh, did we mention it's twin-turbocharged? With a pair of huffers cramming 50 pounds of boost into those voluminous cylinders, Jesse James should have no trouble eclipsing the streamliner's previous top speed of 381km/h.

It'll be a wild ride though, and with the hydrogen stored in 10,000psi storage tanks things could end extremely badly should something go awry during a high-speed run.

Hell, things could end badly with the thing just sitting still. Fitting then that the TV show featuring the record attempt is titled Jesse James is a Dead Man.

Let's just hope that title doesn't turn out to be prophetic.

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