Get in,” said Benn Milne, driver of the Demon Energy monster truck, motioning towards the passenger side of the massive vehicle sitting quietly on the gravel. I stood there for a while, craning my neck upwards towards the door, well out of reach of my six foot frame. I could tell everyone was watching, I could feel the smirks.
“Climb the tyres!” someone yelled from behind. The pressure mounted as I rued my decision to wear skinny jeans that morning. Apparently, I had to do the splits and climb up the massive 66-inch high tyres with a foot on each. I did eventually get up and into the cab of the Nissan Navara, but to say it was an ugly ascent would be a serious understatement.
HB Monstertrucks’ Navara has a lot of history here in New Zealand, first built in 1987 and known as Kiwi Thunder. New Zealanders grew up watching this machine crush cars and fly through the air, so when the beast came up for sale on Trade Me, interest was strong.
“I saw it online,” says Benn. “I just thought ‘why not? You only live once’.” Picking up the Navara without a engine, transmission or wheels, Benn and his HB Monstertrucks team spent the next year putting it all back together, the cost of which, as you could imagine, is just as super-sized as the 3.5-metre tall truck itself. (more…)