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The (Awesome) Anatomy Of A Monster Truck

These mean machines of mayhem have supersized parts to handle all that pounding!
by John Paulo Aguilera | Jun 19, 2015
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Ryan Anderson really knows his monster trucks.

Son of the legendary monster truck pioneer Dennis Anderson, the 25-year-old was born into the sport, with his father already bringing him on the road for shows and races while he was still in diapers. So it wasn't that surprising that Ryan easily developed a liking for the motorsport and also imagined himself taking one of those monstrosities for a spin.

However, despite growing up with the best monster truck mentor one could ever have, and being around the Grave Digger (the iconic monster truck built by his father 34 years ago) for basically his whole life, it apparently took quite a while before he was given the chance to ride the behemoth he is now using for some hard-nosed steamrolling, the aptly named Son-uva Digger:

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"My dad made me work on the trucks before I could drive. He wanted me to have respect for the truck and understand it more, so he made us work on them as kids," Ryan shared to us in an interview during Monster Jam's media day. "And once we were old enough to drive, he made us crew on them, fix them, so when we go out there and wreck it, we know what we're doing, why we're doing it," he added.

True enough, Ryan has stockpiled enough monster truck knowledge en route to being hailed Monster Jam's Rookie of the Year in 2010 and coming out on top in freestyle competitions, steadily making a name for himself outside the shadow of his father and older brother, Adam Anderson, who in his own right is another monster truck champ.

And with him currently in town for our country's first-ever monster truck event happening this weekend at the Mall of Asia Arena (June 20-21), he's glad to pass on some first-hand info on the physics of these colossal dirt buggies, particularly on what parts of a monster truck make it truly monstrous.

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And we, the curious cats of FHM, were more than happy to soak in all the monster truck deets we can. Read on for our one-on-one interview with our man, Ryan!


FHM: First things first, those tires are effin' huge!
Ryan: The main thing to a monster truck is gotta be the tires. They're humongous; 700 pounds, custom-made just for us. They're gigantic, (even) as tall as I am. That's the main thing that makes the monster truck look like a monster truck.

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Surely these massive machines of mayhem pack a ton of power, right?
The average car here in the Philippines probably has 150 to 200 horsepower; these (monster trucks) have 1,500 horsepower. Humongous motors, they got this crazy supercharger that pushes the air into the motor and (generates) crazy power—super loud and really fast. So it just makes it insane.


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How do these heaps of metal execute those sick stunts and astounding altitudes?
We have 30 inches of suspension travel, while the average car probably has five to six inches. A lot of suspension, so we could jump in the air and do all the crazy stuff we do!


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Your chassis looks huge and totally rad! How can it handle all that roughhousing?
All are custom-built racing chassis: it's all tubed, all 100-percent, custom-built just for us. The chassis design is all the same from the bottom down. For the top, we have to build them differently to fit the skin, the body. So they're a little bit different in sizes, but all basically the same thing; the structure, so we all sit in the same place, all the motors are in the same place, everything is interchangeable.


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What keeps you from tumbling around like a rag doll inside?
The seat is a 100-percent custom-measured to (each driver). So if I sit in there, I fit perfect. Same thing with our neck restraints, helmets, everything... And we have seven seatbelts that connect altogether to hold us in—same thing that a fighter jet has.

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Photography Paul Mondoc
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