10 Best Monster Trucks

Jan 06, 2011 12 Comments by

Monster trucks make everyone smile and they have been around in the RC world for a long time. What makes them so cool is their big size and ability to cover any type of terrain. We’ve been lucky enough to have a lot of monster trucks to choose from, even though some have come and gone. We all have our favorite monster trucks and there might even have been a few that you don’t know about. Here’s our top 10 list of the greatest monster trucks ever to be produced. In in alphabetical order, here they are.

HPI Savage

The HPI Savage was one of the first nitro-powered monster trucks to use a twin vertical plate chassis. It also uses the longest shocks ever used on a monster truck. Several versions of the truck have been available since its release and through the years it has been equipped with different sizes of big-block nitro engines and brushless motors. You can find this monster truck on racetracks, pulling tracks and bashing in the backyard.

Kyosho USA-1 and Nitro USA-1

This wasn’t Kyosho’s first electric monster truck but definitely its most popular. It was modeled after the full-size USA-1 Monster truck but featured independent suspension. There was also a nitro version that was based on a Kyosho 1/8-scale buggy chassis. The body was molded out of Lexan but used regular plastic components such as a grille, roll cage and bumpers to enhance the look of the truck.

Losi LST

We never thought we would see a monster truck coming out of the doors of the Losi office and in true Losi fashion, it was radically different from anything in the hobby shops at that time. The mammoth size of the shocks stood out on this monster truck and it was packed full of unique features such as a multi-disc slipper clutch, two-speed transmission and compact reversing transmission. This truck was also equipped with lots of wheelie-popping torque thanks to the shaft start big block engine on board. Today, Losi offers the LST in XXL form and you can even pick up a budget version of the truck called the Aftershock.

Tamiya Blackfoot

If you wanted a monster truck back in the mid-80s, this was the truck to get. It shared a chassis and suspension with the Tamiya Frog and an injection-molded body topped it off. Aftermarket items such as a ball differential and dogbones were offered by a few companies to increase its durability and performance. The body is still sought after today by scale guys and we have our fingers crossed that Tamiya adds this one to its re-release list.

Tamiya Clodbuster

At the time of its release, the Clodbuster blew everyone away with its size and awesome scale looks. It didn’t take long for hobby shops to be flooded with aftermarket components for this truck. It was used to build pulling trucks, rock crawlers, race trucks and scale trucks. You can still buy the Clodbuster today, but with the Super Clodbuster label and it features blue suspension components. One of the most popular mods for this truck is to ditch everything but the axles and convert it to a four-link suspension with lightweight chassis.

Tamiya Lunchbox

The Tamiya Lunchbox was the smallest monster truck in the Tamiya lineup at the time, but one of the most fun out of the box. The front used an independent suspension while the rear solid axle gearbox pivoted in the chassis, which helped it produce lots of wheelies. This truck borrowed components from the Tamiya Hornet and its body was unusual because it was a van instead of a pickup truck.

Team Associated MGT

The MGT was also a truck that we never thought we would see because Team Associated was always known for its racing vehicles. The extruded aluminum chassis stood out and it is a super strong base for the rest of the components that are mounted to it. This truck can be set up with two different exhaust configurations and the engine features a shaft starter and a pull-starter to get it fired up. Today, the MGT is offered in three different forms; you can pick up the MGT 4.6, a Mini MGT which is a 1/10-scale version, and the insanely overpowered MGT 8.0. The 8.0 uses a .50 cu. in. engine, which is the biggest engine available in any monster truck.

Traxxas Revo/E-Revo

The nitro-powered Traxxas Revo is one monster truck that stands out in every way; the monocoque chassis and inboard mounted shocks won’t be found on any other monster truck. The suspension is also the most adjustable around; you can change shock springs, shock fluid, rocker size and you have optional mounting holes for the pushrods. The electric version called the E Revo borrows the same suspension and the molded plastic chassis stores the batteries on each side and they are protected on all sides.

Traxxas Stampede/Stampede 4X4

The Traxxas Stampede has been around longer than most of the trucks on this list and has also been the base of many projects. This high-riding 2WD monster truck can be set up for jumping, bashing or all-out speed. You were even able to pick up a nitro version of this trick truck. One popular mod to this truck was to convert it to a 4X4 and now Traxxas has answered the call and produced the Stampede 4X4, which is an all new platform with lots of tunability.

Traxxas T-Maxx/E-Maxx

The Traxxas T-Maxx can easily be credited for the monster truck explosion in the early 2000s. There were nitro-powered monster trucks out there, but none could be compared to the T-Maxx. Its plush suspension, high-riding stance and power were unmatched at the time. This truck also lead the way for RTR vehicles; it was one of the first high- performance vehicles to come out of a box. Soon after the release of the T-Maxx, Traxxas introduced the electric-powered E-Maxx. Both trucks are still available today in updated forms.

Honorable mentions

This article covers our top10 picks when it comes to monster trucks, but there are several  others that deserve a mention.

Tamiya TXT-1

Marui Big Bear

Varicom Big Grizzly

MRP High Roller

Tamiya Monster Beetle

Kyosho Double Dare

Kyosho Big Brute

Tamiya Juggernaut 2

Well, there’s our list of the top 10 monster trucks of all time. Was your favorite truck on the list? The cool thing is, if you keep an eye out, you can still buy a lot of these trucks today. A lot of them can be found on eBay, at tag sales, and even in your local newspaper.

Monster Trucks, Online Exclusives

About the author

Simply put, I’m all about nitro. Well, almost. I’m down with electric for crawlers and some indoor racing, but if you really want to get my attention, it better make some smoke and noise. I’m a regular racer and I usually go with 1/8-scale buggy and truggy. When I’m not racing, I am usually fabricating custom parts and even entire vehicles.

12 Responses to “10 Best Monster Trucks”

  1. JEREMY JACKSON says:

    KYOSHO MAD FORCE

  2. cobracomander says:

    I had and still have Blackfoot trucks. They were so well built that just last! I all so have the Lunch Box, TxT-1, Clod Buster, 2 USA-1 trucks., the old Emaxx, 2 Wheely Kings, But I had and loved the Varcrome Big Grizzley. I had to get rid of it as i could no longer get parts and miss this truck badly. The 1980′s and 1990′s were the best years i say!

  3. RODENT ROCKCRAWLER says:

    Totally miss my lunch box ,and not the one i left @ work with the rotten remains of last weeks bagnasties.I’m talking about the truck that got me hooked on rc, you know the one with the evil twin sporting the skin of an mid 50′s ford pickup.Man I had alot of fun with that truck,and just alittle side note to all these young kids today who never have had the joyfull experience of whatching your pride and joy go up in flames as the mechanicall speed controller gets hung up and destroys everything you’ve skrimped saved,and worked so hard for . ….great memories,Lunchbox—-Midnight pumpkin you got my vote.

  4. pghkid says:

    The Super Clod has also been recently discontinued, and all that is available now is the Metallic Special and the axle sets individually.

  5. Aaron says:

    I think the Tamiya Terra Crusher was the first 1/8th scale monster truck. It was sligthly underpowered but indestructible. While everyone else I knew was making regular trips to the hobby shop to replace broken parts I was always out bashing. I still have it although the engine is toast.

  6. Simon says:

    This article is nothing short of atrocious. It way supposedly a top 10 list of best R/C monster trucks yet it only contained two or three of them. Oh and by the way its Varicom Big Grizzly not “Varcrome Big Grizzley.”

    • Matthew Higgins says:

      Thanks for pointing out those typos, Simon. We’ll fix them. It sounds like your opinion differs from our opinion. We’d love to hear your top 10.

  7. Pooch says:

    Yo Simon!!! What are your top ten picks? I’m interested to know too. I happen to love the Stampede but would love to hear another opinion or two. Bring it!

  8. Darryl Martin Barnes says:

    I was wondering if there are any up dates on the clod buster?

  9. Andy says:

    While I don’t think this article is atrocious, I do agree with Simon that this Top 10 list really isn’t all “monster trucks.”

    To me, the r/c monster truck era was ruled by the High Roller, Big Grizzly, Big Brute, Big Bear, Clod Buster, USA-1, Blackfoot and Lunch Box/Midnight Pumpkin. As Simon points out, this list includes a lot of “Race” trucks. Sure, those trucks are fast but they were designed for was racing. They’re more akin to stadium trucks, not monster trucks.

    I look at the trucks I mentioned above as the true monster trucks. These were designed to mimic the Bigfoot’s and Awesome Kong’s of the late ’80′s and into the ’90′s. They were meant to “crush” cars, do tractor pulls, etc. Racing was secondary with them. It was all about power, size and intimidation.

    I recall an issue of R/C Car Action from the ’80′s that tested ten or so of those trucks I mentioned above in various categories (I don’t believe Kyosho had released the USA-1 yet but the Double Dare may have competed). Those were the days, my friends. Those were the days.

  10. Monster Models says:

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  11. James says:

    Just bought the MGT 8.0 SE IT’S AWESOME!

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