'Storm Chasers' Tornado Car Found in 'Some Dude's Yard' Being Restored

A heavily modified storm-chasing vehicle featured on TV several years ago is being restored after it was reportedly found in someone's yard.

The vehicle, called the Tornado Intercept Vehicle 1 (TIV1), was located by storm chaser Robert Clayton, who tracked it down using Google Earth—an internet service that allows users to view satellite images of our planet.

Clayton discovered that TIV1 was parked on some land in Liebenthal, Kansas. According to Kansas news outlet KSNW, the landowner didn't even know it was there and Clayton took it off their hands.

"We started going on Google Earth, and we found it on Google Earth in some dude's yard," Clayton told KSNW.

According to a video uploaded to Clayton's YouTube channel, he has been in possession of TIV1 since at least September 2020. At that time, he gave a video tour of the vehicle, which showed it looking a bit out of shape.

'Hulking Monstrosity'

Describing the car as a "hulking monstrosity," Clayton said the vehicle is actually a modified heavy-duty 1997 Ford F350 pickup truck. Inside, TIV1 appeared to have been gutted with only some seats remaining.

When it was operating, TIV1 was used to get close-up shots of dangerous tornadoes. Designed by filmmaker Sean Casey, it featured in the Discovery Channel series Storm Chasers.

The modified truck was fitted with an armored steel shell as well as hydraulic claws that helped attach the vehicle to the ground. It also features bullet-resistant windows.

Clayton's plan now is to rebuild the vehicle with the help of mechanics who worked on it in the first place. Getting the motor running properly and upgrading the windows will be some of the improvements made, while replacing the claws and adding scientific instruments are also planned, according to KSNW.

TIV1 was succeeded by another vehicle, TIV2, which is still in use today by storm chasing team Live Storm Chasers, who upload videos across various online platforms.

Tornadoes occur in many parts of the world, with about 1,200 hitting the U.S. every year. They are narrow, violently rotating columns of air that extend from a thunderstorm to the ground. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Severe Storms Laboratory, tornadoes can be among the most violent phenomena that occur during atmospheric storms.

Some violent tornadoes can last for more than an hour and have wind speeds between 200 and 300 miles per hour, according to the NOAA's National Weather Service.

Anemometer
A file photo of an anemometer, used to measure wind speed. Storm chasers sometimes use specially designed vehicles to track storms. Pixfly/Getty