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Building a Winner

0510or Trphy 01 Z
Bob Ryder | Writer
Posted August 23, 2005

Team Gordon Trophy Truck Buildup: Part 1

Robby Gordon, one of the most talented drivers on asphalt or dirt, was long overdue for a big Baja win. Robby has been close to that win several times, only to have it slip from his grasp. That all changed when Mr. Gordon dominated the field at the 2005 SCORE Baja 500. On a Baja 500 racecourse that many felt was one of the most brutal ever, Robby simply applied his driving skills and his throttle foot to the terrain and guided his Trophy Truck home for the win.

Famous for his no-holds-barred driving style, Robby's philosophy was to build a truck that could handle whatever he chose to dish out. A well-built truck meant that there was no need to slow down to "save the truck" for the finish line. The combination of Robby's philosophy and the inhospitable Baja terrain meant that in-house building was the only correct way to tackle the task. From the CAD designing to the CNC machining to the meticulous fit-up and welding, each critical element of the construction was tackled by Team Gordon staffers using Team Gordon equipment. We were fortunate enough to gain permission to document Team Gordon as they took Robby's 2005 Baja 500-winning Trophy Truck from concept to creation at Team Gordon's shop in Anaheim, California, during the months that led up to the truck's debut at the 2003 Baja 1000.

During this one-of-a-kind seven-month buildup, weekly laps up and back on the 57 Freeway were like seat time at Martinsville. During construction, our persistent appearances at the shop at least twice a week to record current updates nearly caused shop manager Roger Willis to issue us timecards to punch.

Team Gordon Trophy Truck
In this day and age of high-tech computers, there's no such things as T-squares, protractors, and slide rules anymore. Team Gordon's Trophy Truck was conceived from a computer's CAD program. From the computer to the tubing rack, material was pulled, then cut, bent, fish-mouthed, and tack-welded in place. Suspension components such as front A-arms, rear trailing arms, shock absorbers, spindles, and brake rotors were all designed and built in-house by Team Gordon. Even the body molds were CAD-designed. After the molds were prepped, they were gelcoated and hand-laid, and the body components were cured then pulled. Each body component was located, mounted, and secured using Dzus fasteners on the all-tube chassis.

The body was then removed, allowing access to complete the trophy truck's construction. The design and fabrication continued, including installation of the engine, transmission, V-drive, driveshafts, steering, fuel delivery and cooling systems, interior, electronic components, wiring, seating, safety equipment, and so on.

Our mission was to record on film the progression of the No. 31 Red Bull, Chevy CK 1500, trophy truck, from the computer to the desert.

Sources

Robby Gordon Off Road
Anaheim, CA 92806
Dept. 4WDSU
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