First Look: Vice Unlimited's Trophy T
Over the years, we’ve had the opportunity to feature an assortment of incredible vehicle builds. More often than not, we’re only able to show you the final product. This leaves the months and sometimes years of hard work and build progress undocumented. It was with this in mind that we jumped at the opportunity to take a look at a build that’s taking place now (but very close to completion).
It’s called the Trophy T. A hat tip to the famed Trophy Rat, it's something that blends the spirit of a hot rod, tech of a race car and art for art’s sake. Built and owned by Tim Odell of Vice Unlimited, the Trophy T is a hand-built four-wheel drive rig that merges used parts and new technology in a way few vehicles ever do. While we recently got a chance to sit down with Odell and chat (watch that video here), we wanted to give you a glimpse of what will soon be hitting the dirt (and street).
Don’t worry. We’ll have a proper feature breakdown with all of the details coming once the Trophy T is finalized. For now, we encourage you to check out this amazing build.
Diamond T Cab
The Trophy T moniker is derived partly from the 1946 Diamond T 404 sheetmetal that surrounds it. While nearly every panel has been modified in some way, much of the 73-year-old body has been well preserved.
Looking to achieve a more balanced rig, Odell placed a 364ci LQ4 GM V8 just behind the truck’s cab. Feeding the ON3 Performance turbo are a set of custom stainless steel headers, which in addition the PAC Racing springs, a JEGs camshaft and MSD Atomic Airforce intake, create the 650hp it’s putting out.
For builder Tim Odell, it’s often easier for him to build what he needs versus forking over thousands of dollars to buy a new part. This is how his custom 9-inch centersection came to be. Since his entire front suspension would be built from scratch, he was able to fabricate a housing that would tuck neatly into the front of the chassis.
The custom front diff commands a set of gearboxes that came off of a retired HMMWV. While these portal boxes were originally designed to work with an independent suspension, pairing them with the long-travel A-arms took some serious fab work. Aside from being readily available, the ground clearance afforded by the portal boxes was a major draw.
The rear axle would be another custom creation that was the result of necessity and having parts on hand. Starting off with a full-float 14-bolt rear, Odell chopped up the legendary heavyweight rear axle and created an off-set diff that would now have the housing flipped upside-down from its traditional configuration. Like the front, the 14-bolt is fit with a Detroit Locker.
Flipping the 14-bolt was necessary to have the tires turning in the correct direction thanks to the mid-engine layout. (The portal boxes upfront took care of that issue there.) While Odell isn’t too worried about the differential's strength, he wanted to make sure oiling wouldn’t be an issue. This is why there’s now a belt-driven pump sitting next to the yoke. This custom fluid pump should ensure that the pinion bearings stay fed at all times.
Taking a look inside the cab you’ll find a Holley EFI 12.3-inch ProDash sitting above the mount for his iPad. This iPad setup will be paired with a Ride Controller module, which will work as a digital switch panel for the vehicle. Shifters for the 4L80e transmission and NP205 transfer case, along with the Wilwood hand brake can been seen peaking through the handmade aluminum center console.
There’s a blend of reinforced sheetmetal and tubing that runs throughout the build. The primary chassis however is comprised of 1¾-inch, 0.120-wall DOM tubing. The entire chassis was notched, cut and formed in-house.
Welding is a bit of an art form in itself. This is especially true for TIG welding. While using a MIG would have been a bit faster, Odell has taken the time to TIG weld every single piece on the Trophy T.
While there are still adjustments being made to the suspension, the overall set up is slated to stay the same. The rear is currently setup with trailing arm lowers that use a Fox 2.5 coilover and bypass shock. To keep the axle on center, the upper control arms have been triangulated. A Currie Antirock sway bar has also been paired with a set of custom arms to add stability to the mix.
The A-arm suspension up front is using a coilover/bypass setup as well, along with the help of a Fox 2.0 nitrogen bumpstop. Though Odell says he’ll probably have a little shock tuning to do to have it all dialed in, he’s happy with the overall travel and ride height he has planned.
Putting the power to the ground will be a set of 40x13.50R17 Nitto Trail Grapplers. These will be mounted on a set of Hutcheson Rock Monster double-beadlock wheels (not shown). The reason for going with the Trail Grappler was two-fold. First, he needed a tire that wouldn’t compromise off-road performance, and he knew the Trails could deliver on that front. Second, he wanted something street-friendly since this vehicle would see plenty of pavement as well.
This isn’t just an Ultra4 car, nor is it some single-use rat rod. The details than run throughout are outstanding and we look forward to showing you this project in its entirety once it is complete. For now, be sure to check out more photos of the build in the gallery below.