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Trophy T: Steampunk Style with Ultra4 Chops

Inspiration is a funny thing. Having seen Keith Northrup’s Trophy Rat, Tim Odell became captivated with the idea of building a vehicle with that utilized modern technology and nearly forgotten about sheetmetal. As the owner of Vice Unlimited in Lincolnton, North Carolina, Odell has built a reputation for creating extremely unique vehicles. Many of these vehicles have been showcased here, global magazines, and on such shows as Jay Leno’s Garage.  

Turning inspiration into action is no easy task. But, that’s exactly what Odell did with his all-new shop truck build for which he’s dubbed the Trophy T. From a functional standpoint, it’s essentially a 4400 Ultra4 Racing car wrapped in sheetmetal from a 1946 Diamond T. Unlike the Trophy Rat for which this car pulls inspiration, Odell’s build is four-wheel drive. Even with massive 40-inch Nitto Trail Grapplers strapped at each corner, the Trophy T doesn’t resonate as a big truck. 

Maybe it’s the tasteful details that run throughout, the TIG welded chassis, or the steampunk-meets-race-car styling, but the Trophy T seems to supersede any traditional car category. It’s as much art as it is machine. We gave you the first look at the Trophy T nearly 6 months ago. Since that time, Odell has wrapped up his one-off build and took it to its first public showing at the 2019 SEMA Show.

With the Trophy T out west, Odell took full advantage of the Nevada desert, where we were able to get some shots of the all-new build. While we’re breaking down the Trophy T in this feature article, we’ll have a full video breakdown of the build coming to you very soon.



The 73-year-old sheetmetal was sourced from a 1946 Diamond T 404 series truck. This single-cab configuration was the catalyst for which the rest of the vehicle would eventually be built around. Odell spent countless hours in the shop merging the old sheetmetal with the new. This included hand forming the entire firewall and cowl of the truck.


LS Plus Boost

Pumping out 650 horsepower is a 364ci LQ4 V8 engine. Boosting one of GM’s most swapped LS series engines is a ON3 Performance turbocharger. This quick-spooling engine was also fit with a JEGs camshaft, MSD Atomic Airforce intake, PAC Racing springs, and custom stainless-steel headers. Channeling all the power is a 4L80e transmission, which is paired with an NP205 transfer case. For all of the cars lubrication needs, Odell uses AMSOIL.


Modern Control

Opening the door reveals what the Trophy T truly is at heart- a modern race car. Sure, suspension seats and a quick-release Momo steering wheel are commonplace, but the harmony between the handmade panels and 12.3-inch Holley EFI ProDash does an excellent job at brining balance of the hot-rod-meets-race-car mashup. The iPad resting just below the digital dash layout is paired with a Ride Controller module, which works as a switch panel. Standing tall between the custom aluminum center console is a Wilwood hand brake, because why not?


Independent Design

A Trophy Truck style steering rack keeps the Trophy T moving straight, while a Fox coilover and bypass shock cycle harmoniously with the long-travel A-arm suspension. From the Ford 9-inch center section that Odell hand built to the HMMWV geared boxes at the front wheel ends, there’s absolutely nothing usual about this setup. Part of the reasoning behind using this crazy high-clearance IFS design was simple- Odell had spare HMMWV parts and more time than cash to throw at the build.


Trailing Arms

Big wheel travel is critical in Ultra4 Racing. A great way to accomplish this goal, while maintaining a low stance, is utilizing a trailing arm configuration. Odell’s setup uses 2.5 Fox coilovers and bypass shocks, along with a set of 2.0 Fox gas-charged bumpstops. Keeping the axle centered are a set of triangulated upper control arms, while a Currie Antirock sway bar helps increase stability.


Flipped Rear

One of the more interesting things mechanically about the Trophy T is the fact that it utilizes a flipped 14-bolt rear axle. This full-float axle creation has a dedicated belt-driven oil pump to ensure the pinion doesn’t starve for fluid. Like the front, the rear axle is fit with a Detroit Locker to ensure each wheel is fighting for traction.  


Grappler Rod

Odell is no stranger to the Nitto Trail Grappler, and for this build, the KOH-proven 40x13.50R17 was the perfect fit. Given this rig still sees time on the highway (yes, it’s plated!), the balance of the Trail Grappler’s off-road prowess and excellent on-road dynamics have made this tire the go to for many of his personal and shop builds. To ensure he could easily drop the air pressure without a worry on the trail, a set of 17-inch Hutchinson Rock Monster beadlock wheels were used to hold the rubber in place. Unlike a more conventional single external-ring beadlock, the Rock Monster is s DOT Compliant beadlock wheel that locks both the inner and outer bead of the tire from the inside.



There’s a blend of reinforced sheetmetal and 1¾-inch, 0.120-wall DOM tubing that makes up this custom chassis. Every joint on the car is fully TIG welded and coated with a Steel It Stainless Steel Coating.



There’s no shortage of incredible details and custom fab running throughout the rig. This will all be fleshed out more in the video about the rig coming up very soon. If you haven’t already, be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel for the latest video features, tech installs, and adventures.



 VEHICLE  2019 Trophy T by Vice Unlimited
 ENGINE  Turbocharged 364ci LQ4 V8
 FRONT AXLE  Custom Ford 9-inch center section with HMMWV gear boxes, Detroit Locker, 2.50 diff gears, 1.92:1 hubs, 4.80 final drive ratio
 REAR AXLE  Flipped full-float GM 14-bolt w/custom pinion oil pump, Detroit Locker, 4.88 gears
 SUSPENSION (F/R)  Custom A-Arm long-travel IFS w/Fox coilover & bypass shocks/Triangulated upper control arms w/trailing arm lowers, 2.5 Fox coilover & Bypass shocks, Fox 2.0 bumpstops, Currie Antirock sway bar
 WHEELS  17x8.5 Hutchinson Rock Monster double beadlock
 TIRES  40x13.50R17 Nitto Trail Grappler
 BODY & CHASSIS  1946 Diamond T sheetmetal over 1¾-inch, 0.120-wall DOM tubing 

What to see the Trophy T’s inspiration? Feast your eyes on the Trophy Rat.  

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