Herbst Landshark Truggy
The Herbst Truggy was a vehicle that truly pushed the limits of off-road desert racing. It helped redefine the concept of “Unlimited” restrictions in Class 1, and in some ways it truly embraced the idea that a pretty looking race car has about the same value on a race course as a blown engine.

The Herbst Truggy, “Lank Shark” or “El Tiburon” if you prefer, came on the scene and challenged the conventional thinking and conventional class rules of the time. The classic war plane styling on the nose of the race car, accented with shark teeth ready to chomp on anything that gets in the way, is one of the most recognizable off-road race vehicles of the last 25 years. But El Tiburon was known for far more than looks as it earned back-to-back Baja 1000 victories, a number of Baja 500 wins, and multiple championships along the way. Aside from taking the Class 1 cars by storm, it also put a serious hurting on the Trophy Truck class.

Herbst Landshark Truggy

Herbst Landshark Truggy
The race vehicle was first built for Jerry Herbst to race Class 1. The idea behind the Mike Smith-designed Truggy was a simpler, stronger design that eliminated the plunged rear axle in favor of the tougher solid rear axle of a Trophy Truck. The Truggy blend truck and buggy features and sported a 37-inch tire that eventually were swapped out for 39s.

Smith not only helped design the truggy, but he also was an innovator in shock design since he hand-built custom oversized shocks before these larger shocks became standard by which everyone designed their trucks and buggies. The late master fabricator Mike McQueen is the originator of the Land Shark livery. When he punched holes in the front of the rig to allow airflow to the header, he stepped back and noticed it looked like gills on a shark… and the rest is history.

Herbst Landshark Truggy
Although the Herbst Truggy burnt to the ground during a NORRA Mexican 1000 race, the Herbst family and Mike Smith say they will rebuild it to race in Baja again.

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To celebrate this iconic off-road race car, Dirt Co. created a limited-edition run of El Tiburon shirts and a cool 18” x 24” poster. Click here for more info on getting your own.

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