Read the Big Oly article from the November 2011 issue of Off-Road magazine

Want To Own The Big Oly?

Its has been forty years, since the original "Big Oly" roared onto the then-small stage of off road racing. The original "Big Oly", owned and driven by racing legend Parnelli Jones, captured the hearts and imaginations of a generation. Today it remains the most iconic vehicle of the sport. This 1971 / 2011 FORD BRONCO TROPHY TRUCK, California registered, smog exempt, "STREET LEGAL", one-off, one-of-a-kind, unlimited class, Baja 1000, Trophy Truck. represents the year that Parnelli Jones won his first Baja 1000 in the famed original "Big Oly". The looks and sound of this 723hp racing machine going down the road, turns heads like no other. The all chromoly tig welded chassis is powder coated. Everything is of show quality: being brass plated, nickel plated, or anodized.

This Trophy Truck has appeared in the following magazines: DirtSports Feb. 2008 and Jan. 2012 "Masterpiece in Metal", Off Road Nov. 2011, Bronco Driver Nov./Dec. 2007 and Nov./Dec. 2009.

BROKERS AND DEALERS WELCOME

$575,000

Big Oly Rides Again
Parnelli Jones, Marshall Madruga and PJ Jones

It’s been nearly forty years since the original ‘Big Oly’ roared onto the then-small stage of off road racing. Owned and driven by racing legend Parnelli Jones, the fiberglass bodied “Bronco” captured the hearts and imaginations of a generation. Proving its timeless appeal, it today remains the most iconic vehicle of the sport.

Big Oly was the equivalent of the first Trophy Truck in the early 1970s, resembling the the early Ford Broncos in production at the time. However, that’s where the similarities ended. Oly was a 2WD truck with a tubular frame and a fiberglass body with aluminum interior panels, a far cry from the 4WD production Broncos.

Though he was only in diapers when Parnelli Jones and Bill Stroppe were piloting Oly through the desert, Marshall Madruga fell in love with the Bronco and all it represents growing up in southern California in the 1980s. Marshall collected magazines with pictures of Big Oly, built several early Broncos in high school and one day dreamed of racing in the desert himself.

Marshall’s first off road racing vehicle was a Class 8 Ford pickup which he raced for several seasons in the mid-2000s. While he enjoyed racing his pickup, Marshall had started to formulate a plan in his head to build the ultimate off road racing vehicle for himself that combined the technology of modern Trophy Trucks with an esthetic nod to the past – in particular, a tribute to his favorite off road racing vehicle of his youth – Big Oly.

And thus the idea of the Big Oly Trophy Truck was born. Madruga considered many factors before cutting one tube for the chassis. What engine to run? What would the body look like? What would the suspension configuration be? What visual cues would be incorporated into the design so that enthusiasts would recognize the lineage back to the original truck?

Marshall met with Parnelli Jones in early 2007 and construction began a few months later. Marshall soon realized that with his limited resources of time and finances, this build would truly be a labor of love. He actively courted sponsors throughout the build to offset the costs of building his dream truck.

Starting with a Sandco chassis, he learned to cut, fit, bend, and weld tubing. To the completed tubular framework, he added a custom Dirt-Tech rear end and Bilstein coilovers and Bilstein Blackhawk shocks at each corner

Powering the beast is a 438 c.i. Dart 351 small-block Ford engine with Yates-style aluminum heads sporting 11:1 compression. Oil courses through its veins via a Petersen 5 stage dry sump system. Pump gas is fed to the engine through a Retrotek EFI system. Horsepower tops out at 725 with 650 ft lbs of torque. A Powerglide 2 speed automatic transmission backed by a Gear Vendors overdrive channels the power from the engine to the rear wheels.

In keeping with the original gold Olympia color scheme from the original truck, American Racing made some custom wheels for Marshall sporting gold center sections. 39” BFG Project tires are wrapped around the custom wheels.

Drawing on his past experience shaping surfboards, Marshall designed and fabricated a fiberglass body for his Trophy Truck that pays homage to the original Bronco shape but is larger to fit the Trophy Truck-size chassis. Brilliant gold and white colors cover the body in much the same fashion as the original Big Oly. And in the ultimate tribute, Marshall fabricated a large metal wing to sit atop the passenger compartment – mimicking what is probably the most unique feature of the original truck.

The finished truck’s debut was at the Off Road Expo in Pomona, CA in 2009. Marshall received much positive feedback at the show and after three years of working on the truck, the positive reception from the show’s attendees buoyed his confidence and gave him extra determination to finish the truck.

In early November 2009, the truck was the featured vehicle in the Bilstein booth at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas, Nevada. The truck was, simply, one of the stars of the show. This was the first time Parnelli Jones had seen the truck finished and Marshall was extremely honored when Parnelli and PJ Jones stopped by for a visit and sat in the truck for awhile. Marshall also enjoyed the positive feedback he received from other racing stars at the show including Walker Evans, Robby Gordon, and Andy McMillin.

A few weeks after the SEMA Show, Marshall took the Big Oly Trophy Truck south of the border to contingency at the SCORE Baja 1000 off road race. Again the truck was displayed in the Bilstein booth and again it received and enthusiastic reception from the throngs of racing enthusiasts that swarmed the city of Ensenada for the carnival-like atmosphere of tech inspection and contingency prior to the start of the race.

Big Oly rides again!