How to Build a Trophy Truck

The off-road truck or “trophy truck” is an off-road racing vehicle that looks like an upgraded pickup truck. This vehicle is like an offshoot version of the original road buggies in dune the movie that was used during the Southwest and Baja Mexico, which shares quite similar characteristics. It will be easy to identify an off-road truck because the suspension is for a long travel with relatively soft springs. To achieve what you want, you should know how build a trophy truck.

Trophy Trucks

This off-road truck has a tube frame chassis equipped with a powerful engine which is mounted in front which has 2 rear or 4 wheels. Since the suspension is for long travels and the spring is made for absorbing big bumps, jumps, and dips on the road even when you are going fast. The chassis has a composite body work and normally uses the same storage space found in pickup trucks.

The racing events usually in desserts, dirt roads, and terrain that comes with the most popular races that happen in Mexico and Africa.

Features of a Trophy Truck

  • Trophy trucks are equipped with V8 engines that are 700-1000 horsepower
  • The majority of trophy trucks are 2-wheel drives but there are also 4-wheel drives
  • Trophy trucks normally have a weight of between 5,000 and 6,000 lbs.
  • Trophy trucks can normally reach the speed of 120 mph
  • Since they are meant for long travels, they normally carry 65 to 100 gallons of gas, spare parts, 2 extra tires, poker pumpers to get fresh air, and GPS and radio

Weight Distribution

Normally, there is more weight in front/rear because of how the front-engine is configured. The weight distribution at the left/right is ideally going to be 50/50 in order to give predictable cornering.


Getting the most out of the contact patch tires with excellent suspension geometry should be given a lot of importance. Since there is a long suspension for travel, the camber change would be significant. Some camber may be beneficial for cornering but having excessive chamber would most likely mean there is less traction. Since there is a soft independent suspension at the front, body roll is controllable using anti-roll bars.

Suspension, tire weights, and wheel have an impact on the suspension compliance, which affects handling, which means that keeping all components very light is good. Although, since durability is important when you are going on a lot of terrains, it can be difficult to practice. Springs and dampers should be a good match to the suspension’s geometry and forces.


Since trophy trucks have a heavy weigh, it is important that individual components are lightweight and strong. The top trophy trucks use a design that is assisted by computers to create a design that is more efficient to build from.

The 4130 which is Chromoly plated and has tubing is the best base for trucks that weigh between 5,000-6,000 lbs. This tubing is popular for:

  • Extraordinary strength
  • Great formability
  • Excellent surface quality


Shock absorbers have to be large and can hold a lot of oil so that it will not fade that comes with heat because of suspension cycling for longer periods of time. In order to make this possible, trophy trucks need a combination of different shocks.


Weight distribution can be heavily affected by the engine’s position, and the 2 fronts and engine designs in the middle range have been made. The cooling and the exhaust both have to be considerate in relation to the chassis design, aerodynamics and bodywork, especially when the environment is hot and sandy.


Increases when there is less drag from an off-road truck which might be more important especially on long stretches to consider if shaping the bodywork produces less drag. The design can also have the cooling and exhaust.

Wheels and Tires

Cast wheels

  • Cast wheels are made by molding molten or even liquid metal. When the metal cools down, it hardens and becomes the shape of a wheel.
  • Cast wheels are made by molding molten or even liquid metal. When the metal cools down, it hardens and becomes the shape of a wheel.

Forged wheels

  • These are created using mechanical energy to change a billet’s shape or a solid piece of metal into a wheel.
  • Forged wheels are stronger and weigh less but cost more


It is important that there is enough crash/rollover, occupants’ safety cell, racing seats, and harnesses. Fuel storage protection, fire protection, and impact protection at the front or side are essential for racing vehicles.

Cost to Build

A lot of the components for suspension and powertrain for an off-road truck that is amateur built can come from aftermarket parts for off-roads. This is going to lessen the total cost. The chassis design of the spaceframe makes the vehicle weigh less compared to production trucks. For instance, suspension components were 1st designed for pickup trucks with a full-size, which is more durable.

Those who want to build a pickup truck on a budget might have to spend an additional amount of money on components that are lightweight, adjustable, and durable.

Build Effort

Since the off-road truck is built from scratch, there will be a great amount of effort that needs to be designed and constructed. The off-road truck is the biggest, has the most details of buildable vehicles made by an amateur and the biggest suspension and powertrain. It also has a large bodywork in relation to most of the race vehicles out there.

Although, there is a great amount of satisfaction and accomplishment when you get to build your own trophy truck because it is not commonly done.

These are what you need to remember how to build a trophy truck because it is not an easy task. Although, once you are done, the fulfillment will definitely be a lot greater than anything you have ever done. Remember that you also need to have the right budget to sustain it.

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