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What Is a Trophy Truck?

Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari

A trophy truck is a certain type of off-road vehicle designed to operate at extremely high speeds over rough terrain. These trucks generally feature a significant amount of suspension, lightweight frames and bodies, and large engines designed to propel the light vehicle forward at high speeds. The trophy truck class of racers must meet certain specifications to be considered for entry into races, though some variations of equipment and performance may exist from truck to truck. The design of these vehicles is similar in aesthetics to pickup trucks, but that's about where the similarities end; these trucks are not designed for hauling or driving on roads.

The wheelbase of a trophy truck is likely to be wider than that of a street-legal truck; this is done to improve cornering stability and handling over rough terrain. The frames of the trucks are usually custom built from lightweight composite metals, and the bodies are generally made of lightweight fiberglass. The engine of a trophy truck is usually a V8, which is exceptionally large for such a light vehicle. This allows the driver of the trophy truck to reach high speeds even over rough terrain or in adverse conditions.

Building a trophy truck can be quite expensive.
Building a trophy truck can be quite expensive.

Racing is the primary function of the trophy truck, though some versions are also simply used for off-road recreation. Purely recreational trucks are less common, since the cost of building a trophy truck can be quite high. In most cases, the engine of the truck must be made from the same company as the body; this is, of course, only a regulation for racers, and it can be ignored for recreational drivers. The tires of the truck tend to be wide and will feature an aggressive tread designed to enhance stability and handling even through rough or muddy terrain.

The high speeds often attained by these trucks necessitate a significant amount of suspension. The truck is likely to leave the ground at certain points, meaning the suspension and frame will need to be durable enough to handle the weight of the vehicle as it comes back down to the ground. Trophy trucks will feature very long suspension units, which can affect the handling of the truck in corners and at high speeds, so drivers of these trucks often need a fair amount of practice and training to drive the trucks safely. Even with a significant amount of training, racing is dangerous and accidents are likely, so the driver must wear the appropriate safety equipment at all times while in the vehicle.

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    • Building a trophy truck can be quite expensive.
      By: Grafvision
      Building a trophy truck can be quite expensive.