Inside LookMonster Truck

Inside Look – Tad Goad’s Awesome Kong Build

Hello world, meet Awesome Kong. Recent winner of the 2018 King of the Monster Truck’s Show and Shine contest, Tad Goad’s recreation of the popular Awesome Kong is definitely a show stopper and a true work of art. The attention to detail and craftsmanship is unreal and we’re excited to bring you this truck’s Inside Look!

Having seen Awesome Kong back in 89′ and 90′ in person, Awesome Kong builder Tad Goad, has always loved the designed and look of the truck. The leaf spring suspension, the super custom skinny Chevy Silverado body, that ultra eye-catching blood-red paint, really stuck with Tad through the years. So when it came time for a truck build, Tad wanted to challenge himself with something that wasn’t really done before and build it to a level that he would be stoked about. Mission accomplished.

The original Awesome Kong monster truck was driven and owned by Jeff Dane from Killeen, Texas. The mass appeal and signature of Awesome Kong was the unique 1988 Chevy Silverado “skinny body”. After having a massive roller during a race, Jeff was pressed for time and patched the truck with sheet metal to make the next race. When asked by TNT to use a real truck body and not just sheet metal, the skinny body Awesome Kong was born.

While Tad enjoys the build process, he turned to his friend Dan Wyatt, for the bodywork. Dan took the JConcepts 1988 Chevy Silverado body and removed a strip down the middle and rejoined the body to reproduce the “skinny body” look Awesome Kong. The body was carefully seamed and taped back together and done in such a masterful way it’s hard to tell it was ever even cut. The “Awesome Kong” logo on the door panel adds a nice hand painted signature touch adding to the real-life realism.

At the front of the truck, you’ll notice the authentic looking fuel cell and how much it looks like the real thing. To create this, Tad had an aluminum cylinder machined down to look like a miniature clone of the real fuel cell. Final touches were added by using a thumb screw to mimic the fuel cell cap. The beauty of the fuel tank lies in its simplicity and execution making it look like a spitting image of the real working unit.

One of the pieces on the body that really has a lot of pop is the front grill. To create this, Dan Wyatt took flat lexan pieces and custom painted it black and chrome to achieve the look of the exclusive Awesome Kong grill. Then, Dan used a bit of heat to shape the grill and mounted it with screws to secure it to the body to get it flush and tucked. It’s creativity and beauty at it’s finest.

Taking the most time to get right on the build was finding a simple way to replicate the roll bars. By using brass tubing and solder, Tad paid close attention to the fine details and lined everything up to ensure the final product looks like the real thing. Overall, the handy work and craftsmanship are excellent and the overall cost was rather inexpensive making the roll bars a double win for Tad and Awesome Kong.

Peek in the back of the bed of Awesome Kong and you’ll notice the realistic model motor placed midship and low, much like that of the real monster truck. This piece was borrowed from a Muscle Machine model and with a bit of fine tuning and fitment, this dialed engine model equipped with belt and blower is nearly a drop fit.

The JConcepts Tribute Wheels are in a class of their own. Made from durable material and customizable with different hexes to adjust offset widths from 11mm, 18mm, and 25mm really allows you to get that proper stance and look. Although the Tribute Wheels comes in white, grey, yellow and black, you can always paint or dye them to match your ride. On top of that, you can also choose to run them with or without the planetary caps or deck it out with the black anodized aluminum caps for ultimate bling.

The highly sought after MT tire, the JConcepts Golden Years MT, isn’t released yet but have already started to gain fame among the MT racer and builder crowds all across the world. Classic looks, full lugs, and rounder profile make this tire highly sought after. As the release date is more likely towards winter, they will surely make a lot of Christmas wish lists!

Here is a closer look at the real working leaf spring suspension that Tad took a lot of time to test and tune. Having seen other examples out there, Tad wanted to create a leaf spring suspension system that works and works well. The leaf springs themselves are borrowed over from an RC4wd drive setup and while it did take some time to get the system working properly to Tad’s content, he was very pleased with the end result.

Looking at the underside of the Awesome Kong, you can clearly see the burly MIP X-Duty C-Drive Shafts installed for extra strength and durability. This particular set is designed for the Axial SMT10 that formerly carried the part number #16200, but is now known as the MIP X-Duty™, Center Drive Kit, 120mm to 145mm w/ 5mm Hubs part number #18190 according to MIP’s part number conversion chart. You can also see the custom center motor bash guard for extra protection keeping the gears well protected.

Having strong, rugged servos is extremely important in the monster truck world. Hard landings and freestyle crazy flips can really test the servo gears and on this build, Tad used the Protek 160T Low Profile High Torque Servo. Tad commented that he has really enjoyed the operation and smoothness of the Protek 160T and at 6.0V’s these mighty units are fast at .08 seconds and 216 oz of torque. Bump of the BEC output voltage to 7.4V and we’re looking at a lightning .06 sec and a monstrous 274 oz! That’s huge for a low profile servo!

Here is a closer look at the leaf spring system that’s attached to a fully custom chassis machined from aluminum. With details like this, no wonder Awesome Kong won the Show and Shine at the 2018 King of the Monster Trucks!

Using a model driver can really add some character and dimension to your build. However, depending on the model and the execution, it can really make or break the overall look you’re trying to achieve. With Dan Wyatt in charge of the body and body details, the driver here is properly sized and positioned giving it a race feel that looks completely awesome and natural.

One thought on “Inside Look – Tad Goad’s Awesome Kong Build

  1. Remember watching Awesome Kong truck had so much horsepower and also it had a B-51 fighter plane engine in it I never see pictures of it with that motor in it

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