/Monster Trucks – Passion for Off Road Adventure

Monster Trucks – Passion for Off Road Adventure

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Life changes its gears every second. With due passage of time, sports lovers evolve new tastes. Vintage car rallies are more boring than ever now. People want some real fun these days which is thrilling and pumps up the adrenaline level of the audience to a whole new level.

What are Monster Trucks

A trend which started in the 70s’ has become a whole new sport these days. This marks the beginning of an evolution in the era of motor and adventure sports. Many of you might have guessed correct by now. We are talking about Monster trucks. The dashing and highly robust giant trucks that took the audience and sports world by surprise around 30 years ago are now a thrilling & eye-catching event across the globe. History is a witness that sports such as these have always gained mass popularity where action packed drama and races are an integral part.

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Though most of you are aware of this wonderful machine on the race tracks, yet some of you might be confused with this new terminology. So the very first question that haunts a reader’s mind is about the existence of this new automobile. A monster truck is actually a pure derivative of a pick up truck or a construction site truck. The difference lies in the physical appearance and objective for which it is built. A monster truck has overwhelmingly large tires and a powerful suspension designed for all terrains. If you ask me the creator of such a truck, I would owe it to the creative mind of USA where monster trucks took the first big leap towards Sports entertainment. This adventurous sports is very famous in the United States of America where people love to see this giant trucks compete against each other, crashing and diving into muddy hills and even eating cars and crushing them to death.

Nowadays many toy companies such as Hot Wheels and Leo have come up with mind-blowing monster truck toys for kids which have increased the popularity of these vehicles. Statistics and surveys show that the craze for monster truck events matches the baseball nights and sometimes the American football game weeks. It comes as no surprise that the new busy lifestyle of people across the globe have forced them to divert their interests towards the shorter and more adventurous format of sports like these.

Many of you would be surprised to know that there are more than 500 different types of monster trucks which are head to head in the popularity list. Some of the famous monster trucks which have gained applaud and appreciations across the globe are present in the following list:

  • Executioner
  • Grave Digger
  • Bigfoot
  • Eradicator
  • Tropical Thunder
  • Equalizer
  • Virginia Giant
  • Pure Adrenaline
  • Nitro Fish
  • Snakebite
  • Tonka
  • Black Stallion
  • Carolina Crusher and many more.

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The new versions such as the Predator, Nightmare and Gun Slinger are yet to reach the popularity charts. The adventurous sport of giant truck competitions has added innovation to the sport as well. Many times you would see these giant trucks rolling on the tracks while wearing skates and sometimes they end up trying to drift like racing cars. Their ability to provide power packed action combined with some intense humorous stunts has caught the attention of so many audiences.

Monster Trucks are truly a whole new chapter in the history of adventurous sports. It is evident from the trend these days that the trucks and their sport are here to stay for a long time to come.

Monster Trucks History

Monster trucks are regarded as one of the most magnificent automobiles till date. It has caught the attention of kids, middle aged persons and even the old aged folks who are very much enthusiastic about this wonderful sport. The main thing to note about monster trucks is that they are derivatives of pick-up trucks. The concept of modified trucks started long ago in the late 1970’s when the acceptance level for newly modified pickup trucks was gaining new heights. These trucks were getting involved in a newer version of sport which included mud bogging and truck pulling. The first major competition that took place in the history of Monster trucks was the event of ‘The Biggest Truck’. Many trucks took part in this event and many innovators came up with their ideas in the form of superb giants. Bob Chandler’s Bigfoot, Jeff Dane’s King Kong and the Bear Foot by Fred and Jack were instant eye-catchers.

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People are crazy for Car crushing trucks nowadays. Ever wondered when did this sport start? On 14th June 1974, Bob Chandler drove his Bigfoot over dumped cars to establish authority of his truck and start an era of car crusher monster trucks. Such events were hardly attended by any audience in the beginning but the new sport description spread like fire and very soon everyone was anxious to see Bob redo this event. Finally in 1982, Chandler performed this event in front of a massive crowd in the Pontiac Silver dome. The Bigfoot featured a massive 66 inch diameter of its tires. Many of you would be surprised to know that Bob George, owner of a motorsport company was the one who coined the name, ‘Monster Truck’. Seeing the massive size of Bigfoot and its car crushing ability forced him to use this word which soon became a generic. The first car crushing event remains a great debate as both Bigfoot and the King Kong claim to achieve this feat first. Some claim that King Kong had crushed several cars in the 1970s at Great Lakes Drag way.

The diameter of the tires varied from truck to truck but soon it became a trendy feature to sport huge tires. The monster truck shows did not become an individual entity instantly. Organizers of this event had to wait for over 15 years before the monster trucks were given a green signal to hold an individual event. In 1985, major promoters, such as the USHRA and TNT Motorsports, began the concept of monster truck racing which was attended by a huge number of people. These races were quite different from the versions we have today. They were primarily in the form of single elimination drag races, held over a course littered with obstacles. This event prompted many truck owners to change the configuration of these trucks. The trucks were now built with light-weight parts and more power turbo chargers were injected along with the engine to win the drag contest. The year 1988 marks the first major drag event when TNT organized this mega show. Most of the trucks in this race were configured with best performing parts and accessories for the drag race.

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The growing popularity of the event as well as the automobile forced the inventors of this machine to form a regularity authority to form some common rules for events. In 1988, the Monster Truck Racing Association was formed by Bob Chandler, Braden and George Carpenter. In a fashion similar to the F1 racing these days, many companies and automobile owners started thinking on new grounds to develop the most efficient racing truck that had the ability of jaw crushing robustness accompanied with massive speed. Gary Cook and David Morris introduced a whole new breed of trucks in 1988; the Equalizer. This truck had the most common day inventory in the form of efficient coil springs, shock absorbers and powerful suspension. The Bigfoot built in 1989 was a feast for the eyes. It featured a full tubular chassis and a long-travel suspension using cantilevers and nitrogen shock absorbers to control the suspension. The architectural and technical design of this truck completely revolutionized the look and feel of monster trucks. Many competitors carefully studied the configuration to build their own versions of this giant machine.

The year 1991 saw the merger of TNT and USHRA. Though racing always took the center-stage, but USHRA started organizing various events side by side to add wings to this capable, yet unexploited machine. From 1993, various exhibitions were organized where monster trucks showed various tricks and fights. Slowly and steadily the Monster Jam came into the big picture as the main entity behind the show.

Monster Jam is currently the largest monster truck event promoter which takes care of various events in USA, Canada and many parts of Europe. The various initiatives taken by many organizations have helped this wonderful machine establish a very respectable position in the adventurous sports section. In the years to come, monster truck shows will become one of the most appreciated events in the history.

Monster Trucks Design

Monster trucks are the result of an extended version of man’s bewildered imagination. Every now and then people want change which is better, more adventurous and eye-catching at the same time. Audience need innovation on daily basis which is very hard with common games like tennis, basketball, soccer etc. Monster trucks have changed the perspective of sports and redefined the action involved. The real strength of a truck lies in its architecture, its technical design and its physical overlay.

Combining all the factors, we see that the reason behind the success of monster truck shows is the physical strength and the robust structure of these gigantic automobiles which enable them to perform unimaginable tricks and action packed stuff. Let us look the overall design of this wonderful machine which has taken the world by surprise.

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Most of you would be familiar with a common buggy which is very common nowadays. A monster truck is nothing but an extended and a scaled up version of the same. The irony lies in the fact that nothing except a few physical traits like the fiberglass material used, appearance of the automobile and style of movement matches a common truck. The primitive designs were huge and used a lot of steel to withstand the force of collision which they used to take head-on. They used heavy gear and shields. With the coming of drag races; truck designs saw a huge phase shift. They were mow built with lighter materials like poly-silicon fiberglass and light steel. More emphasis was laid in the power boosters and engine strength within the truck which was used for fast racing.

With more and more innovative ideas, the need for an all-rounder arose. After a lot of hard work, the world finally saw the first all round truck in the year 1993 when Bigfoot and King Kong showed their excellence in fields like mud bogging, car crushing, racing and tough collisions. After seeing these jaw dropping stunts, the world knew that a new species of automobiles had arrived.

Nowadays, trucks have a custom built tubular chassis with four-link suspensions which can provide up to four feet of travel. A unique point in the creation of these automobiles lies in the fact that the engines are at the back of the physical structure. Since the engines are supercharged or turbo-cooled; hence the engine has to be in the open to allow maximum cooling. The axles which are used in the monster trucks belong to a special category of heavy military trucks for extreme rough use. The axles have a flexible spring attachment to possess a planetary gear reduction at the hub so that even a 360 rotation of the tires doesn’t unbalance the vehicle.

A very unique thing about these trucks is the central control system of the tires. The front tires are controlled by the central steering wheel while the rear end is completely handled by a toggle switch. The trucks need to have a central hydraulic system so that the pressure on both the tires is applied evenly. Since 1970’s, the engines have undergone a huge change. Nowadays, trucks come with Turbochargers, powerful nitrous systems and even glides. The transmissions have been improved drastically while the brakes have been upgraded to Brake Level-II.

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The trucks which are meant for the spread of Fertilizers are ideal for design purpose. The transmission systems are usually taken from the Fertilizer trucks and sometimes the tires are taken as well. The clutch system in these trucks uses hydraulic functioning gears of Level-III. You might have experienced the powerful fizz in soft drinks. Compressed CO2 cylinders give enough impetus to the trucks which thrive for more power during drag races.

Such monstrous trucks need to have a well geared safety kit as well. Many trucks come equipped with RII Systems which are considered to be one of the best safety gears. RII stands for Remote Ignition Interrupter. If the driver loses control over the steering wheel or the vehicle as a whole; then these remote auto shut-off switches can be activated to turn off the machine. These speed kill switches can be activated remotely while there are two more manual switches which are within the driver’s reach. To improve the driver’s visibility of the track and his protection from useless debris, the trucks use Lexan shields which are nothing but pure Polycarbonates. While belts, helmets and fire-suits are mandatory, neck and chest protection gears are optional safety equipment.

The design of these machines is being improved day by day. The focus is clearly on more protection and better durability of the truck.

Monster Trucks Shows

The concept of Monster Truck shows has been redefined in the recent past by many folds. Gone are the days when people used to enjoy monster trucks racing and competing on normal tracks. The trend has changed completely. It is so much fun to admire an action packed wrestling between two heavy motorized giants. These days, the monster truck shows feature powerful trucks with differently coined names that symbolize the presence of evil in every act.

The beauty of monster truck races lies in the fact they are always unpredictable. Many a times the races conducted at International level seem to amuse the audience by featuring such monster trucks which are not meant for the event. Last year in an event in Mississippi, very lazy trucks were featured which displayed old style wrestling rather than the actual event; the Grave Digger.

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The western culture has accepted the concept of monster truck shows in a big way. People like to gather their family members and enjoy the shorter and crisper form of sports. The adventurous event of wrestling has been slowly withdrawn from the category list since the monster truck drivers feel that the work they perform is of a much higher caliber. Hence comparing wrestlers to professional monster truck keepers is a big insult to their profession profile.

In the recent past, people and game developers have suggested innovative ideas to improve the format of this adventurous sport. People are waiting anxiously to see the NASCAR version of a monster truck race. In some of the monster truck shows, newly launched trucks parade and show their extraordinary abilities in front of the audience. Most of the times these shows are organized to show action packed events like racing, x games and some cool features of these motor giants.

Monster truck shows have been an immediate hit. As the history suggests, people love to watch the exciting tricks since the late 1970’s. The shows in the late 1980’s mostly featured mud bogging activities and some side events like truck pulling and hill crashing. After a few years, came the era of monster truck races. Backed by some huge funds from various sponsors, drag races became an instant hit. The race events brought a major change in the overall getup of the monster trucks. Whereas load-shedding was an inherent property of all major changes, engine power boosters also became an important consideration.

Nowadays, Monster Jam is one of the biggest sponsors as well as the promoter of Monster Truck events. Its major presence is felt in the United States of American and many parts of Europe. With the support of such big guns, the event of monster truck shows is set to become a history as the Olympic Association of many countries is thinking of adding this event either into the National Sports category or an Olympic category after International recognition.

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Monster truck shows have always fascinated audience from all age groups. The prime reason of such a huge fan following is the power packed adrenaline show which is a feast to the eyes.  The time availability factor has also forced people to switch their tastes towards a shorter version of entertainment and adventure.

In times to come, monster truck shows will make their global presence felt at a very high level.

(CEO / Editor / Journalist) – Bruno is the owner and CEO of Motorward.com; he’s responsible for the entire team, editorial guidelines and publishing. Bruno has many years of experience in the auto industry, both managing automotive websites and contributing to the press.