Leo Terrizzi of Huntington Station, New York, doesn't know the meaning of the word traffic. But, then again, neither would we if we drove a truck like his. "For some reason, whenever I drive my truck down the road, people just seem to move out of my way," he told us. Tired of not being able to launch his off-road vehicles into the air without inflicting deadly consequences to the suspension and steering components, Terrizzi decided the only type of vehicle that could sustain his type of abuse and driving was a monster truck. Once he had decided to dedicate his '94 Chevrolet 4x4 to the cause, this fabricator by trade embarked on a mission to create the ultimate street-legal monster truck.
With the help of Steve Combs of Knight Stalker Suspension, Leo was able to contact some of the monster truck industry's best fabricators and designers to get the low-down on just what it took to create a functional and driveable machine for street use. With his research complete and his plans and designs in hand, Leo embarked on his creation. Since nothing would be stock on this rig, the frame had to be created from scratch. Using 2x3-inch steel tubing as his main framerails and 4130 chrome-moly tubing incorporated as support pieces and braces, he was on his way to success. With a new foundation to build upon, the fragile factory axles were swapped in place for a modified, trussed, and hardened GM 14-bolt in the rear with a 5.13 gear ratio and a modified Dana 60 up front with a limited-slip differential. To achieve the extreme lift necessary to be classified as a monster truck, a suspension lift kit had to be fabricated to accommodate the enormous 46x21.50R16.5 Goodyear tires mounted around custom-made 16.5x18-inch wheels. Looking no further than Knight Stalker Suspension, 20-inch leaf springs were created for the front and rear axles to provide the required height. Assisting with ride quality, vehicle control, and vehicle stability are custom-fabricated 3-1/2-inch Knight Stalker bypass shocks complete with external reservoirs. To reduce the wear of some key steering and suspension components, certain factory items, such as spindles and some linkages, were replaced with items from a 1-ton '94 Chevrolet truck.
Stopping the 5,600-pound behemoth is no easy task, which is why the braking system was upgraded with one from the 1-ton Chevrolet truck. Also, to ensure that the weight distribution of the vehicle was somewhat balanced, the batteries were relocated to the bed area. The 15-gallon fuel cell, which replaced the factory gas tank, was moved back a few inches and placed between the ramerails to further assist with the weight distribution.
Following the notion that it takes a monster to power a monster, Leo used a '69 Chevrolet 396-cid V-8, which was bored 0.060 over to create a new displacement of 408 cubic inches. The internal items of the engine were upgraded with custom-machined pistons, which create a compression ratio of 10.5:1, a Pete Jackson geardrive, Competition Cams pushrods, and roller lifters. Looking as though it had come directly from either Grave Digger or Bigfoot, the motor plate keeps everything in place securely. Providing additional power are the custom-milled, oval-ported iron heads, which were also polished. Mounted atop the Weiand Team G manifold is a custom-jetted 750-cfm Holley double-pumper carburetor. Delivering the spark to this engine is the sole responsibility of the GM Performance Products HEI distributor with ACCEL spark plug wires attached. Providing the sound and some added ponies is a pair of Hooker headers attached to a 4-inch Flowmaster exhaust system. To dress up the engine compartment, carbon-fiber valve covers were installed along with an ARD head stud kit.
Keeping all 525 horses contained at 5,200 rpm under the hood is a feat in itself. Assisting with this task is the stock TH400 transmission, which was reworked by Sargents Transmission of Northport, New York. Added to the TH400 was a TCI converter with a stall speed of 3,500 rpm. A manual-shift, reverse-pattern valvebody was also installed. Mated to the transfer case are two 1-ton driveshafts, which were balanced, blueprinted, and lengthened by The Drive Shaft Shop in nearby Islandia, New York.
Turning his attention to the rig's exterior, Leo applied a fresh coat of factory red paint to the fiberglass GTS bed sides, the front smoothed bumper, and the rear ZR-1-style roll pan. To achieve a more Euro appearance, the front grille was color-matched as well. Key suspension components also had the red paint applied on them, while the remaining suspension and steering items received a black clearcoat finish.
The interior of the rig has retained a somewhat stock appearance. For safety concerns, a 4130 chrome-moly rollcage was installed throughout the entire cab. The 1,000-watt Clarion sound system is enough to attract just a few looks here and there.
The next time you are in traffic and are wishing you had a monster truck, just pick up the phone and give Leo Terrizzi a call so that he can begin a custom version just for you.
|Owner/hometown ||Leo Terrizzi/Huntington Station, New York |
|Make/model ||'94 Chevrolet 4x4 monster truck |
|Suspension ||20-inch Knight Stalker Suspension custom leaf springs (front and rear) |
|Tires ||46x21.50R16 Goodyear |
|Wheels ||16.5x18-inch custom |
|Transmission ||TH400 modified |
|Engine ||Chevrolet 408-cid V-8 |
|Additional features ||750-cfm Holley carburetor; ACCEL ignition |
system; 15-gallon custom-made fuel cell;
GTS fiberglass bed sides; GTS ZR-1–style
roll pan; 1,000-watt Clarion sound system