Bouncing off rocks the size of houses and pinning it through the unforgiving desert at maximum speed, the vehicles competing in California’s King of the Hammers race have to be the absolute toughest in the world — all while still being fast enough to be competitive. After interviewing Sam Dobry of Dobry Designs recently at SEMA, we knew we needed to get him on the podcast so we could dive much deeper into this brutal form of motorsport.
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Sam specialises in designing and constructing high-end 4400 Ultra4 Class race trucks — this isn’t a form of motorsport that a huge amount of people have a good understanding of, so this conversation has been an enlightening one.
We first dive into exactly what’s involved in this form of competition, which is essentially a mix of two polar opposite disciplines — high-speed desert racing and extreme rock crawling. This presents some unique challenges when it comes to creating a vehicle that can do both things well, as they each require very different abilities.
What is universal, though, is the need for extreme levels of strength, performance, and reliability, and with an attrition rate of around 80 percent each year, the King of the Hammers event is designed to break even the toughest engines, drivelines, and suspension. Building anything to take this sort of punishment and make it across the finish line while still being fast enough to get there before everyone else is a unique exercise in mechanical engineering, and Sam has some very interesting takes on everything from engine building, to chassis design, to diff and trans longevity.
This conversation also covers how Sam got into this line of work, his thoughts on 3D modelling and validation, working with Chromoly steel, heat treatment, proper TIG welding techniques, and much more.
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Don’t forget, you can use ‘DOBRY25’ for 25% off our HPA Motorsport 3D Modelling and CAD course here: https://hpcdmy.co/cadb