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  #1  
Unread 12-24-2008, 11:38 PM
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Default Normile Concepts Trophy Truck - Cantilever Suspension

Ok this is one amazing truck here. Off-Road magazine covered it back in 2007 and I would just like to make people more aware of how sweet this truck really is. The website that the article is on is a little whacky nowadays and the formatting doesn't really work that well for some reason... neglect? I dunno. But I'm going to give the original link at the end of this thread so that people can choose to view it if they want. But what I'm going to put here is the article itself with the larger pictures already displayed so you don't have to fiddle with the crappy original webpage. You can't even get to some of the pics from the original story but I can display them here for all to see.

Mike Normile really went out of his way to make this truck come to be. Just looking at the rear suspension alone makes me wince in pain. I can imaging how much that must have cost just for the rear end, let alone the man hours and sweat to build. It's amazing! I might stop by Normile Concepts to see if the truck is still around. I remember seeing this truck through the doors as I would drive past the shop in Atascadero.
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Unread 12-24-2008, 11:50 PM
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Publish date: Oct 29, 2007
By: Matt Emery

After 25 years of treating other people's race frames, Jeff Davis decided he wanted something more. So when it came time to envision his 2003 Ford Ranger in off-road trim, he saw it as a prerunner–a modified rig he could roll through the desert in, without having to give up the finer things in life such as air conditioning. However, Davis' longtime association with Sandy Cone, Baja winner and owner of Cone Industries, helped Davis' thinking evolve even more. A call went out to Mike Normile of Normile Concepts in Atascadero, Calif., and such was the birth of Davis' race truck. Working closely with Cone on the overall design, Normile retained the stock Ford frame rails but supplanted them with a hand-built, 4130-chromoly tubular chassis, resulting in a chassis and suspension system that would be more at home in The Museum of Modern Art than in the desert.

Fittingly, we here at Dirt Sports thought it only appropriate to display one of the trickest Class 7 race trucks we have ever seen as this month's Masterpiece in Metal. With a level of fabrication and design well beyond most Class 7 trucks and usually reserved for the upper echelon of exotic Class 1 Unlimiteds and top-tier Trophy-Trucks, it was an easy choice.



Not only is the design of the chassis impressive, the execution is beautiful as well. Items such as the J-Arm suspension, which also houses the Cone Industries anti-sway bar, features fully safety-wired hardware. Another topnotch element is the quality of welding on each piece; simply beautiful workmanship is found throughout the project.
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Unread 12-24-2008, 11:52 PM
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Looking more like modern art than spindles and Aarms, the front suspension of the truck was designed and built by Mike Normile of Normile Concepts in Atascadero, Calif. Providing 21 inches of travel, the unequal-length arms are made from 4130-chromoly tubing and plate. A pair of King shocks (2 1/2-inch King coilover with reservoir and 3-inch King four-tube bypass) provide the damping and spring action.



Cone Industries hubs have been fitted with 12-inch Wilwood rotors and Superlite calipers, featuring four pistons of stopping power.

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Unread 12-24-2008, 11:53 PM
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Rather than have the King hydraulic bumpstops hang on the outside of the frame, Normile created this trick pivot assembly, which he calls an offset bell crank, to activate the King units while still allowing them to be out of the way.



Designed and fabricated by Normile Concepts, the entire chassis is made from 4130-chromoly tubing. The 2003 Ford Ranger cab and other body parts are Trailer Products fiberglass units, while the paint scheme was applied by Abstract Fiberglass in Reseda, Calif. Graphics were created by Chino, Calif.-based Signs By Tomorrow.



Equipped with a custom Ben "The Professor" Strader EFI unit, the 4.0-liter Ford engine features a custom ground crank, SC-2 heads with titanium valves and an Autotronics ignition system. Built by Zorn Blythe of Paso Robles, Calif., the engine puts out over 300 horsepower.With all that power, the Ron Davis aluminum radiator provides sufficient cooling, even on the hottest desert days.

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Unread 12-24-2008, 11:54 PM
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The rolling hardware consists of 35-inch Goodyear Wrangler tires mounted onto 15x8-inch Walker Evans beadlock wheels. Snaking down the side of the truck is the Borla muffler and exhaust system with a custombuilt header also by Normile Concepts. Rather than having tabs welded to the frame, the inner panels are held in place by creative, little aluminum hooks–invented by the ever-resourceful Mike Normile.



Providing a full 28 inches of wheel travel, this amazing cantilevered J-arm system was designed and fabricated by Normile Concepts as well. Made from 4130-chromoly, the multi-link suspension system holds the Cone Industries rear end aloft. The full floating Cone unit has a gear ratio of 6.00:1, is equipped with 40 spline axles and is capped off with Cone Industries hubs. An Inland Driveline driveshaft connects the rear end to the Mogi C4 transmission. Efficiency rules as the Cone Industries anti-sway bar resides inside the pivot point of the J-arms and out of sight and harm's way.

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Unread 12-24-2008, 11:54 PM
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Providing some creature comforts to the crew are the MasterCraft seats and Parker Pumper system, while the Momo steering wheel, Kevin Bunderson Racing hydraulic steering system, CNC pedals and Winters shifter provide the driver with all the control he can get.Vital information needed by the occupants comes from the Auto Meter gauges, Lowrance GPS unit and Versatex radio. Normile Concepts also fabricated the interior body panels and dash pods.



SPECIFICATIONS: NORMILE CONCEPTS CLASS 7 FORD RANGER
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Unread 02-25-2010, 08:44 AM
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Holy crap there are a lot of people checking out these pictures now that I looked at how many times this thread was viewed. I can't remember the exact story but I saw pictures in a magazine a year later after the truck was built and the truck was crashed pretty hard. Yes, this beautiful truck was rolled and the whole J-arm suspension on the right side was completely destroyed because the rear pivot was slammed into the ground. This effectively just ruined all this custom work so much it was scrapped I believe. I don't even think that re-enforcing that area of the frame would have helped it in a rollover... the corners are just too vulnerable and it can't be deformed at all without messing up the operation of either sides suspension stroke. For competition it was just too complicated so when something goes wrong your totally screwed. You have to put a TON of time into repairing custom suspension and there aren't any off the shelf products to help you out.

This is something I think about ALL THE TIME when it comes to my truck. My rear suspension is pretty safe but I've been thinking of building custom front suspension arms but if I did this and I stuffed the front end or broke something I would be totally screwed. If I buy a Camburg kit or equivalent then I could just buy the replacement parts and be back on the road. Anytime your building something super custom you have to think about "what if it breaks or needs to be replaced from an accident?"

Like Andrew Carnegie (leader of the industrial revolution) said, "Pioneering Don't Pay".
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Unread 05-03-2010, 07:41 AM
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I'm glad everyone appreciates this machine. So much work went into it you almost have to think it's too nice and too costly to take racing.
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