Mishaps with prototype vehicles aren’t exactly surprising. After all, that’s why you build prototypes. So the mishaps—or in this case fiery, terrifying explosions—happen during the testing phase and not after release to the general public.
But the way this prototype 2016 Ford Super Duty went up in flames during a recent test drive in Death Valley, California, wasn’t your run of the mill snafu.
According to Road & Track, the pickup was towing a two-axle trailer loaded up with water tanks when a fire started in the truck’s wheel well. As you can see in the photos above, things quickly escalated from there. Luckily the Ford engineers inside the truck quickly abandoned ship. The spy photographers who caught these amazing images told Road & Track that within three minutes the whole truck was consumed in flames. Just 18 minutes and a few explosions later, the truck had been reduced to a pile of charred parts.
Ford has not yet announced whether or not the production 2016 Super Duty will in fact have an aluminum body like the 2015 F-150, but the spy photographers who captured these images said that this particular prototype did.
Ford told Automotive News that it had not yet determined a cause for the fire but is investigating the incident.