Mad about Monster Trucks??? so here they go!!!

Posted on April 2, 2008. Filed under: Auto |

A monster truck and is an automobile, typically styled after pickup trucks, modified or purposely built with extremely large wheelssuspension. They are used for competition and popular Sports Entertainment and in some cases they are featured alongside Motocross races, mud bogging, tractor pulls and car-eating robots.

Typically, a monster truck show involves the truck crushing smaller vehicles beneath its huge tires. These trucks can run up and over most man-made barriers, so they are equipped with remote shut-off switches, called the Remote Ignition Interuptor (RII), to help prevent an accident if the driver loses
control at any time. At some events, only one truck is on the course at a time, while most feature two drivers racing each other on symmetrical tracks, with the losing driver eliminated in single-elimination tournament fashion.

In recent years, many monster truck competitions have ended with a “freestyle” event. Somewhat akin to figure skating with giant trucks, drivers are free to select their own course around the track and its obstacles. Drivers will often try a ‘Donut’, also called a Cyclone, which involves spinning the truck in a high speed circle, and maybe even deliberately rolling the truck over. Additional items for the drivers to crush – usually including a motor home – are frequently placed on the track specifically for the freestyle event.

Truck design

A modern monster truck is more of a scaled up, four wheel drive dune buggy. As such, they generally aren’t actual “trucks” and only maintain their name due to the common style of fiberglass bodies used on the vehicles. Trucks now have custom built tubular chassis, with four-link suspensions to provide up to four feet of travel. Mounted just behind the driver on most trucks are the engines, which are typically supercharged, run on methanol, and have displacement up to 575 cubic inches. Axles are typically out of either heavy-duty military trucks or road vehicles like school buses, and are modified to have a planetary gear reduction at the hub to help turn the tires. All trucks have hydraulic steering in both the front and the rear (four wheel steering), with the front wheels controlled by the steering wheel and the rear wheels by a toggle switch. The tires are typically “Terra” tires used on fertilizer spreaders, and have measurements of 66″x43″x25″. Most trucks utilize a modified and/or custom designed automatic transmission, such as a Turbo 400, Powerglide, Ford C6 transmission, or a Powerflite 727. A limited number of trucks utilize a Lenco transmission, which traces its roots to drag racing. Most of the automatic transmissions are heavily modified with transbrakes, manual valve bodies, and heavy duty gear sets. Trucks running a Lenco use a centrifugal clutch as opposed to a torque converter, which are used in automatic transmissions. Lenco transmissions are usually found in two-speed or three speed configurations, and are commonly shifted using compressed CO2.

The trucks have many safety features, several required just to run in the small arenas that the trucks frequent. The aforementioned RII is one of three kill switches on each truck, the other two being one within the driver’s reach in the cab, and another at the rear of the truck so that all electrical power may be shut off in the event of a rollover. Many trucks are constructed with the driver sitting in the center of the cab for visibility. Most cabs are shielded with Lexan (or comparable polycarbonate), which not only protects the driver from track debris, but also allows for increased visibility. Drivers are required to wear firesuits, safety harnesses, helmets, and head and neck restraints. Most moving parts on the truck are also shielded, and high pressure components have restraining straps, both in case of an explosion.

Popularity

Monster trucks are also often portrayed as being a form of motorized professional wrestling. Commonly cited evidence is the use of names for the trucks, rather than numbers and sponsors, and often accusations of rigged races, as some trucks (including Bigfoot and Grave Digger) are seen as winning more often in order to please the crowd. However, promoters have widely denied rigging races, and many shows often feature evidence to the contrary when the unpredictable happens. Perhaps more than the redneck stereotype, the pro-wrestling stereotype is hated among drivers and teams, who feel they are regarded with disrespect despite their work to compete at a high level. Likewise, many fans would like to see the sport treated by the media as NASCAR is currently. However, as monster truck events do feature a considerably more show-like atmosphere than most other motorsports, competitions are often considered a form of “sports entertainment”.

The advertising of monster truck events has also become a part of popular culture. A familiar 1980s series of radio commercials for various monster truck races featured a screaming announcer (most famously, Larry “Supermouth” Huffman), blaring rock background music, and heavy use of reverb. These spots began with “Sunday!!! Sunday!!! Sunday!!!”, and ended with an emphatic “BE THERE!!!!!!”. Although commonly associated with monster trucks, the ads were conceived in the 1960s for funny car match races at drag strips. Chicago-area drag racing promoter Jan Gabriel, who produced three television specials about monster trucks in 1985 and 1986, is generally credited as coining the Sunday! Sunday! Sunday! catchphrase. As some promoters of those events also became promoters for monster truck events, the ads were retooled to fit the monster trucks. The ads have been frequently parodied in other advertisements.

Slideshow:

Click on the slide show and open in a new window to download a high resolution image.

Further reading:

www.monstertrucks.net
monster truck racing
Exotic Monster truck picture collection
Bigfoot
Monster Truck Challenge

Australian fan site

Howstuffworks link

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2 Responses to “Mad about Monster Trucks??? so here they go!!!”

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My son loves your webpage. He’s 2!

Thats pretty nice to hear!! 🙂


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