Well here’s something you don’t see every day: A prehistoric-themed monster truck rocking a futuristic, hydrogen Dart engine producing 1,000-plus horsepower and zero emissions.
While the company that owns this Triceratops-themed truck has a handful of different dinosaur rigs sitting in its stable, this “Jurassic Attack” hydrogen-powered vehicle marks a first for Team Throttle Monster Truck.
Forever looking to learn a little bit more about the future of the internal combustion engines (ICE), we did a little digging, to see what this over-the-top project can potentially offer the rest of the world. That, and because we like watching big-ass trucks crush cars and fly through the air.
Hydrogen Lends a Helping Hand
We first encountered Jurassic Attack during its debut at SEMA 2023 and were a bit taken aback by the whole notion of a hydrogen-powered monster truck. It’s just not a combo we ever considered seeing in our lifetime, which kind of made us wonder, why bother in the first place?
But when we discovered that this project was the brainchild of none other than hydrogen specialist Arrington Hydrogen, it all began to make sense. Apparently, Arrington Hydrogen’s CEO, Mike Copeland, had been in search of a new test mule for further advancing his company’s development of hydrogen-powered ICEs and wanted to go big. REALLY BIG.
Some of you may recall our coverage of Mr. Copeland and “Zero,” his hydrogen-powered 1948 Chevy Truck, with its supercharged 6.2-liter LS from a feature we ran back in 2022. Running exclusively on hydrogen, this rig has garnered a ton of attention for Arrington Hydrogen since its debut and served as proof that hydrogen power can function as a “green performance” upgrade and still be kick-ass at the same time.
Working on this project with Mike Copeland has been so exciting. Arrington Hydrogen is changing the landscape for internal combustion and Team Throttle Monster will be leading the sport with zero carbon emissions that bring all the noise and excitement the fans expect. — Paul Jenson, owner of Team Throttle Monster
After making the Jurassic Attack truck its primary project, Arrington Hydrogen took much of what was learned from Copeland’s first two hydrogen engine builds, and then turned it all up to “monster mode.” With a single monster truck tire/wheel combo weighing 645 pounds a pop on average, you can see why Copeland instructed his crew to go all-in on this engine build.
But to safely and successfully get to the point where enough power was present, some additional contributions had to be made; and in true aftermarket support fashion, some of the biggest names in the engine building world stepped in to help out.
Futuristic Fuel Injectors and One Big-Ass Short Block
To make an engine that could produce the power that this sort of vehicle requires, meant going with the best, which is why Dart Machinery was tapped to provide an engine for this build. Built in-house at Dart Machinery’s headquarters, this 540 cubic-inch big-block Chevrolet relies upon Dart’s Pro2 cylinder heads, and the company’s “Big M 540 short-block package.”
When Dart learned of Arrington’s interest in upping its hydrogen developments into a bigger and more hardcore iteration, they knew that a whole lot of other mods were going to have to be made outside of a Big M 540 short-block package and some Pro2 cylinder heads. An internal combustion engine fuel delivery system that could allow hydrogen to replace gasoline was required, but one that could be dialed up even further, as needed, was also on the requirements list.
In an interview with Hemmings, it was illustrated that an array of industry movers and shakers were then brought in to help advise (and build) Team Throttle Monster Truck’s hydrogen-upgraded “Jurassic Attack” rig. One of these names was PHINIA Inc., which up until 2023 was known as Borg-Warner. Being that hydrogen requires specialized fueling solutions, the company provided a specialized set of hydrogen injectors to give the team (and the heavy-ass chassis) the power to compete.
While we more often see our technology being used in the commercial vehicle market, it is exciting to now see it in action as part of this collaboration, to build this impressive custom vehicle. Our M3.5 PFI H2 injectors have been used successfully to demonstrate the performance and versatility provided by hydrogen injection. — Todd Anderson, Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, PHINIA Inc.
Additionally, Total Seal AP piston rings were utilized inside to help achieve zero emissions and produce maximum power gains. COMP Cams and ProCharger also played a crucial role in the build, as well as a slew of other aftermarket engine modification brands, including, but not limited to: Edelbrock, Fragola Performance Systems, FTI Performance, Haltech, Jesel Valvetrain, and Red Line Oil.
Can Hydrogen Ever Be Considered Cool?
By placing a 1,000-horsepower hydrogen-powered engine in something as hardcore and purposeful as a monster truck, instead of a show car or a concept vehicle, the conversation suddenly shifts from, “Oh that’s different…” to, “Holy crap, that thing’s a beast!”
And while we doubt that a single platform in an American-exclusive oddball motorsport like monster trucks can capture the world’s attention and make us all reconsider hydrogen as a viable fueling option, at least it’s a start. This will be especially true if the vehicle and its driver do well in the upcoming season, as it may open doors for future race-oriented opportunities for the hydrogen-supportive companies behind this build.
So, hats off to Copeland and his Arrington Hydrogen team, as they were able to make their third hydrogen-powered proof-of-concept far more formidable than anything else crafted to date. Furthermore, this proves to the world that this alternative fueling option has the ability to reliably power off-road performance vehicles and that it has the chops to put down some serious performance figures.