Frankly, we're surprised this doesn't happen more often, especially given how much testing each of the truckmakers do in some horribly hot places. This just happened when Ford was hot-weather testing its next-generation Super Dutys in Death Valley desert in California. Here's what our spies sent to us about the incident.
"First things first: The two engineers inside this Super Duty prototype got out fine and no one was injured.
"The 2016 Ford Super Duty prototype wasn't as lucky. It caught fire, burned, exploded multiple times, melted and was totally destroyed in short order.
"Starting with the second photo in this set, the photos appear in chronological order.
"We don't know the exact cause of the fire, but we can see from the photos that the fire began in the front wheel well on the driver's side. From the moment our cameras caught the first flames, to the front end being fully engulfed, took only 3 minutes. The entire truck was destroyed in about 21 minutes.
"Several of the photos show explosions with large fire balls, as well as a bright white explosion, with parts flying off the truck.
"While the photos are dramatic, prototype vehicles are, of course, made to fail. Not only that, they are tested in extremely harsh conditions such as the 120-degree desert where this Super Duty suffered its cataclysmic failure. Whatever happened, we're quite sure Ford will figure it out.
"The fire also appears to end any debate about whether a large portion of the body would be made from aluminum or steel. The forgotten blobs of melted aluminum left on the side of the road are easy to see. The only major recognizable parts of the truck that remained were the frame and engine block.
"Watch for the new Super Duty to start production in March of 2016."
Chris Doane Automotive images