As automotive journalists, we see a lot of varying racecars and racing trucks, so only a few actually make us do a double take and think “what the…” Well, the 2011 Ford “Bronco” Trophy Truck is one of those vehicles that we just cannot walk away from.
This beast was built by Marshall Madruga in honor of the classic road-racing truck, the “Big Oly.” This off-road racing version of the “Big Oly” made its debut in 2009 at the Off-Road Expo in Pomina, CA. It also made a cameo in the Bilstein booth at SEMA, in 2009 and has been in a few magazines, including DirtSports, Off Road, and Bronco Driver.
So how realistic is it to drive this pickup on the road? Check out the full review to see if this is a feasible mode of transportation, or just eye candy to take to the dunes every now and again.
Hit the jump to read the full review.
This “Bronco’s” exterior is one for the ages, as it looks about how the Bronco should look, if Ford ever brought it back without messing it up. It features a fiberglass body that is strikingly similar to the Broncos of the 1960s, but with modern touches and a good bit larger.
The roof on this “Bronco” pays direct homage to the original “Bog Oly,” as it is just one large wing, just like “Big Oly” had. Being a one-of-a-kind truck, there is only one color, and that is gold with white accents. Also, being a Baja-style truck, there is no exterior glass, so hopefully you like the taste of bugs as you fly down the highway.
You also get the obligatory six-lamp light bar across the top of the pickup, for those annoying folks that don’t dim their high beams… That’ll teach ’em.
The “Bronco” Trophy Truck is a big boy indeed, measuring 205 inches long and 75 inches tall, with a 125-inch wheelbase. It weighs in at a mammoth 5,950 lbs. You can see its drastic difference between the original Bronco, which measured just 152 inches long, 69 inches wide, and had a 92-inch wheel base. Plus, the 1966 Bronco weighed in at just 3,200 lbs. Quite a difference, huh?
Surprisingly though, the “Bronco” Trophy Truck is well balanced, as it has a perfect 50/50 weight distribution. Not too shabby for a truck just south of three tons.
On the inside you have a racer, plain and simple. There are enough Autometer gauges and various switches strewn throughout the cabin to make Paul Walker drool. The seats and harnesses are custom–built by PRP. There is no mention of the type of roll cage, but by our count, that looks to be a 10- or 12-point roll cage, which is likely made from high-strength steel.
Just in case you take this beast out into the desert and get lost, it also comes with a Lowrance GPS system. This isn’t your typical turn-by-turn GPS, but it can help you find your way out of uncharted areas. It also comes with a pair of fire extinguishers, in case things get a little out of control.
Engine and Drivetrain
Ah, now onto the parts that really matter, the things that make this beast tick… The block is a 351 Windsor Dart block, but there is no mention if it is the aluminum or cast iron block. Given the desert temperatures, one would assume it has to be cast iron. This block was bored out from 351 cubic-inches to 438 cubic inches.
The guts of this engine are quite impressive. It features Ross 11-to-1 compression pistons and Ford Performance Custom CNC heads, which have 2.25-inch intake valves and 1.710-inch exhaust valves. The crankshaft is forged steel and the connecting rods are H-beam style.
To help fight off heat sink and possible warping, the pistons, skirts, crankshaft, connecting rods, combustion chambers, valves, and exhaust ports are all ceramic coated. A Bassani custom stainless steel exhaust system allows the exhaust to flow freely out of the engine.
Add in a Comp Cams Fast Fuel EFI system and this overgrown 351 Windsor cranks out 725 horsepower at 6,800 rpm and 650 pound-feet of torque at 5,200 rpm. This bad boy doesn’t require rocket fuel either; it runs off of regular old pump gas.
Transferring all of this power to the rear end is a custom built two-speed Powerglide transmission. Speaking of rear ends, this beast has a Gearworks Trophy Truck 3rd Member rear differential with a 10-inch polished ring and pinion.
What good is 725 horsepower, if you can’t control it? Under the front of this off-road performer are brass-plated Sandco upper and lower A-arms, a set of Bilstein Blackhawk shocks and 2.5-inch coilovers, Hypercoil springs, and PRP limit straps, which keep the shocks from overextending and failing. This gives the front end an impressive 24 inches of wheel travel. On the rear end, there is much of the same, except a set of brass-plated four-link Dirt-Tech trailing arms replace the A-arms. This allows for up to 31 inches of rear wheel travel.
14-inch brake rotors on the front and rear help resist brake fading, making for a consistent and quick stop every time. Add in the fact that this big boy has four Outlaw 9000 four-piston calipers, which are needed to bring this nearly 3-ton machine to a halt.
On the corners you have a set of American Racing forged aluminum custom rims. Champion beadlocks keep the tires’ beads secure on the rims’ beads, even on rough landings. Wrapped around the A/R rims are a nasty set of BFGoodrich 39-inch KTR Project tires.
The lowly Raptor SVT , on the other hand, comes in at a base MSRP of about $42,000, less than 10% of that price.
Well, it’s a one-off custom trophy truck, so there is honestly no competition. However, if you want to push the definition of “competition” a little, you can consider the Ford F-150 SVT Raptor as the closest to it.
The Raptor’s 6.2-liter V-8 engine cranks out a respectable 411 horses and 434 pound-feet of torque, but it’s a far cry from this customer Trophy Truck. The Raptor’s 35-inch tires come in about 4 inches shy of the “Bronco” Trophy Truck, but the Raptor has four-wheel drive, making it better for low-speed off roading, as well as mud and ice.
However, the Raptor does have all of the items that a buyer would want on an on-road truck. Things like hill decent control, AM/FM CD player with MP3 capability, air conditioning, and cruise control all make the Raptor a more road-friendly option.
But as we said, we are talking about a one-off racing truck, so why compare it to a production model?
Well, if you are looking for a half-million dollar machine to go racing in or just as a very expensive toy, this is the truck for you. It is relatively cheap for its features, has a storied history and is extremely unique.
However, if you are looking for something fun to cruise the streets in once in a while, look other places, as this truck is not a street machine, despite its “street legal” title. The 24 inches and 31 inches of wheel travel are way too much on any street-driven vehicle like this, it is way too large to park anywhere and its two-speed transmission is not designed for street travel.
Yeah, it’ll get you a lot of looks, but it’s just not a street-able vehicle.
- 725 HP Goodness
- Exterior styling is what the Bronco should look like
- Interior is lacking in entertainment features