Since their first appearance in the 1980s, monster trucks have remained a popular form of family entertainment. The phenomenon of monster trucks began at motocross and tractor-pulling events, but the trucks soon became popular enough to headline their own shows.
The official Monster Jam series of shows as well as other monster truck events are still held worldwide today. Some of the trucks that were most popular during the sport’s heyday are still among all-time fan favorites decades later.
Avenger was created in 1997 and still appears at Monster Jam events. Driven by Jim Koehler since the beginning, Avenger won its first Monster Jam World Freestyle Championship title in 2003 and has won three titles overall. Jim Koehler and Avenger have competed in every Monster Jam World Finals event since 2004.
One of Avenger’s most interesting features is how often its appearance has changed. Avenger was originally created with the body of a 1997 truck but was quickly changed to a 1957 Chevy Bel Air, which became its most popular design. The color scheme and patterns change yearly to debut a new look at each world championship event.
Monster Mutt first appeared in 2003 with a custom body and a paint job that gave the appearance of teeth showing out of a dog’s muzzle on each side. This truck has had several different drivers over the years and has competed in every Monster Jam World Finals from 2003-2019.
Monster Mutt’s unique appearance and its popular theme song, “Who Let the Dogs Out” by the Baha Men, was such a fan favorite that it spurred spin-off designs like Monster Mutt Dalmatian, with a black and white Dalmatian design, that debuted in 1997. Two other spin-offs, Monster Mutt Rottweiler and Monster Mutt Junkyard Dog, appeared in 2011 and 2015, respectively.
El Toro Loco
El Toro Loco has never missed a Monster Jam World Finals since its debut in 2003. This truck is a spin-off of the retired monster truck Bulldozer. Bulldozer featured two bull horns that stuck out from the top and teeth painted on the side. El Toro Loco, which means “the crazy bull” in Spanish, had a similar appearance but was designed and named to appeal more to Spanish-speaking fans.
With a whopping 79 event titles in its long career, El Toro Loco remains one of the most popular monster trucks still in operation today.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
This monster truck, often referred to simply as TMNT or Turtle by the announcers, was designed after one of the most popular children’s cartoons of its day, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. It featured a green body with a brown turtle shell and eyes peering from behind a mask.
The cartoon it was named after had four masked superheroes, but this truck was based on Raphael, the turtle who wore the red mask. In 2006, it was given a color change to appear as Michelangelo, the orange-masked turtle.
TMNT was a favorite of children because of its appearance and its theme song, which was the theme song for the cartoon it was named after. This truck competed from 2003 to 2012. Hot Wheels produced toy cars in all four Ninja Turtle designs even though the monster truck only appeared as two of them.
Blue Thunder, with its bright blue body crisscrossed by lightning, first appeared in 2001 and spent over ten years as a sponsor truck for Ford before it debuted as a Monster Jam truck in 2013. Many of its drivers have also helmed other popular trucks like Grave Digger and Wrenchhead.
Though its chassis has remained blue throughout its entire run, each time the body has to be repaired, changed or repainted, it boasts a new lightning pattern with no two patterns ever the same.
The Destroyer is a popular monster truck that has unfortunately been on hiatus since 2016 because of financial issues and personality clashes behind the scenes. It’s one of the few monster trucks that appeared and competed for as many years as it did, from 2009-2015, that hasn’t had a long list of drivers.
Only two people have driven The Destroyer. Dan Evans, the original driver, helmed the truck at six different World Finals until he took over to drive Team Hot Wheels Firestorm in 2009.