DIY Trophy Truck Tips

Trophy trucks are built to be unstoppable off-road machines. This truck category was invented in 1994 as an off-road racing vehicle. Trophy trucks look like upgraded pickup trucks, but they don’t “pick up” anything – they’re off-road racers.

These racers are very easy to identify as they all have a distinct look. The typical off-road trophy truck will have crazy modifications. The types of modifications you add will depend on what types of capabilities you want your trophy truck to have.

However, there are a few rules regarding part sizes and quality that all trophy truck owners need to follow. For instance, trophy trucks can only have tires with 40-inch-diameters or less. Similarly, if you want to race your trophy truck in professional competitions, you can only use a specific number of engines.

Most importantly, your trophy truck must have high-quality off-road truck parts. Trophy trucks typically reach the speed of 120+ mph. Without high-quality truck parts designed for off-road travel, your vehicle will suffer. Adding the right parts to the truck you want to modify is also equally important.

What are the “right” parts for your trophy truck? Let’s assess some common characteristics of trophy trucks –

  • Trophy trucks are typically equipped with V8 engines. These engines typically offer 700 to 1000 horsepower.

  • Although most trophy trucks are 2-wheel machines, newer ones have 4-wheel drives.

  • These vehicles typically weigh between 5,000 to 6,000 lbs.

  • Trophy trucks usually carry 70 to 100 gallons of gas

  • Trophy trucks are designed for long-distance traveling. Hence, these trucks are loaded with spare parts like extra tiers.

  • All trophy trucks have radio and GPS connections.

Can you picture your dream trophy truck? The weight distribution in these vehicles will give you a clearer picture. In most trophy trucks, the front engine is configured to be bulkier (to provide more energy). That’s why there’s more weight in the front of these trucks.

The left-right weight distribution of these front-heavy trucks is usually 50-50. This makes cornering easier for drivers. Bear in mind - trophy trucks are very heavy machines. All the individual components you add to these vehicles need to be strong, durable, and yet lightweight.

How can you get such parts? By buying heat-treated parts and components.

Heat-treating the components helps truck engineers reduce the weights of the components without reducing their overall strength. If your trophy truck will have 40-inch tires, minimizing the total weight as much as possible is vital. It helps create more agile trucks.

Now that we know the key characteristics of these vehicles let’s review the types of off-road truck parts you’ll need to kickstart your DIY trophy truck building project.


Improving the suspension is a critical modification for trophy trucks. Trophy truck drivers use flawless suspension geometry to get the most out of the vehicles’ contact patch tires. A trophy truck will have a long suspension for long-distance travel. Hence, the camber change would be substantial.

Camber gain is the variation in camber angle per amount of vertical movement of the wheel. Some camber is helpful when cornering the vehicle. But your truck shouldn’t have excessive camber gain either.

Adding springs and dampers could improve the suspension’s geometry. Using anti-roll bars is also helpful as there’s a soft independent suspension at the truck’s front side and body roll is manageable.

The weights of your tires and wheels will also influence the vehicle’s suspension compliance. This, in turn, will affect handling. Hence, using light components is always the better choice. These components must also be durable as you’ll be driving your trophy tuck on harsh terrains.


Believe it or not - the automatic Turbo 400, first introduced in 1964, is still the ideal transmission for trophy trucks. Despite being rather primitive compared to today’s standards, the Turbo 400 offers one thing that other transmissions don’t - ultimate durability.

Plus, you can use underdrive kits, torque converters, and other parts to modify this transmission. Even without any modifications, the Turbo 400 can handle over 1,000 lbf·ft of torque. However, a stock Turbo 400 will typically max out second gear around 50-60 mph. By updating its gearing, you can increase this figure to 75-80 mph.

Wheels and Tires

Trophy trucks typically feature cast wheels that are made by molding molten/liquid metal. When the molten metal cools down, it stabilizes and obtains the shape of a wheel. In the past decade, the use of forged wheels on trophy trucks has also become quite popular.

That’s because forged wheels weigh less despite being stronger than cast wheels. However, these wheels are created using mechanical energy, so they’re more expensive. Transforming a solid piece of metal into a wheel-shaped object involves more costs.

Shock Absorbers

Your trophy truck will need a combination of different shock absorbers. These absorbers need to be large enough to carry a lot of oil so that it doesn’t fade due to heat. Bear in mind - suspension cycling for long periods generates a lot of heat. To manage this heat, your trophy truck will need a variety of different shock absorbers.

Exhaust or Mufflers

Contrary to belief, even off-road trophy trucks need exhaust. Mufflers will help dampen your truck’s emissions and engine noise. Without them, the race will be unbearable for you. Mufflers also help dampen irritating frequencies at certain engine speeds. Ultimately, these components help drivers drive better and feel less fatigued in long races.


On average, a trophy truck’s engine will run at high speed for 8-12. Hence, your trophy truck’s engine must have one critical quality – the ability to withstand severe abuse. Only premium-quality engines offer this quality.

So, make sure to only buy engines that are industry-leading in terms of resilience and long-term quality. Or else, your truck will struggle to deal with the harshness of professional trophy truck racing.

How Much Will It Cost to Build a Trophy Truck?

Building a trophy truck from scratch will require a grand amount of effort. But, with lightweight, adjustable, durable, and high-quality off-road truck parts, you can accelerate this process. To lessen the total cost of your DIY trophy truck building project, consider shopping in markets that specifically offer parts for off-road trucks.

Building a trophy truck is not an easy task. But, the sense of fulfillment you’ll get once you build your trophy truck makes it all worth it.



Date 1/13/2023

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