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The Farm Truck Challenge, Complete Results Announced!


I honestly thought "Either he's used the 50's pickup, one of the old 40's bodies in pickup mode, or the big 50's coupe-truck."

Running into costs is probably the only thing that kept me from trying it, as I know from experience that, and I'm not afraid to say this here because I know it'd cost too much in the next round to do it, it's the only body I've found so far that has room for a maxed-size V12. (16286 cc, for reference) Of course, I know this because I wanted to find a car that could do it for... other reasons.


i definately feel kinda ashamed scoring better than yours with my ugly slider-abusing averagish truck. i would love to see a looks vote being included in the scoring of these competitions! having said that, thanks for the great effort, klinardo!


Dont be ashamed at doing well :smiley: Be happy you did great :smiley:


[size=200]5th Place[/size]
Zabhawkin, O11 - 734.03 Points

The sun was just beginning to crest over the vast expanse of pine trees that make up the barrens surrounding the farmland of southern New Jersey. We were standing squarely in Blue Anchor, NJ at the original headquarters of Boss Motorsports. I had just been handed a set of keys to our 5th place vehicle following the tallying of our testers' reviews. I walked out to the stiffly packed down dirt of our packing house lot where many semi-trucks, tractors, and, of course, pickups had passed thousands of times, packing down the dirt into a believable substitute for concrete under my work-worn boots. Sitting there was the first truck I was to operate over this weekend of reviews. As I unlocked the truck, all I could really say about my first impression is that the truck struck me as rugged. It's not the first truck I've called that, and it certainly will not be the last. It looked like it had been purposely built for work. You could sense that this truck knew it would only get washed when it rained; that it was designed to drive through the rough, be scratched, dinged, and nicked in a good day's work, and not look the slightest bit worn from the efforts.

Under the hood I found a perfectly square, all cast-iron 5L V8 with a 4-valve DOHC set-up. On paper it made 323 HP @ 6500 RPM and 318 Ft-Lbs of torque @ 3800 RPM with a redline at 7000 revs. I laughed to myself when I read the bore and stroke measurement of 3.65" x 3.65" noting that it was identical in stroke and 0.02" of bore different from Ford's Coyote V8 design. Whether this was intended or not, I was not surprised by the choice to utilize this design in particular. Hey, if you can't beat them, make your engine incrementally bigger than theirs just to have bragging rights in true American automotive fashion, then join them. The 5.0 Coyote is one we at Boss Motorsports are very familiar with. I resisted the urge to tune the motor before I drove it, and decided to start her up so that I could get moving.

Before getting in, I did a brief walk around. This truck had a decent sized crew-cab, massive wheels, and a nice large bed that left plenty of room to load her up, while still being able to close the tailgate, which I truly appreciate. This truck screamed traditional design with MacPherson Struts upfront, a solid axle and leaf springs in the rear, and a completely steel body on frame construction. The chassis was AHS steel and the panels corrosion resistant to ensure that the mud, stones, and dirt we would encounter would have a hard time rotting this beast away. So far, I hadn't been surprised, except for the gargantuan 335/70R17 front and 395/60R17 rear tires. I was glad I wouldn't have this truck long enough to replace them, and seriously wondered about where one would store a spare, but I knew there was no curb, hill, or uneven terrain that could stop me.

Inside the truck I was all smiles. 6 seats with enough room for the whole crew (like day-laborer, union-having crew, not size-of-a-12-year-old crew), with premium material, premium infotainment, and power steering, ABS, and traction control surrounded you in a comfortable setting to get to and from your work locations. I wouldn't mind being in and out of this truck all day long. The quality wasn't anything to write home about, but it was sufficiently robust to match the rugged exterior. I don't think the interior would last as long as the body and frame of the truck, or take nearly as much abuse, but it certainly wasn't going to start giving you issues as soon as the warranty expired. It was a work truck after all, you could only expect so much. Safety seemed to be the one area where the O11 (that's Oh-11 by the way, not Zero-11) wasn't winning any awards however. There were the standard front airbags on both sides, good seat belts, and plenty of truck on all sides of you, but rollover risk seemed to be worrisome with 5786.3 lbs of weight and a very stiff frame that certainly wasn't likely to give way during a collision. There was going to be plenty of energy coming through the passenger compartment, and I wish some rugged safety had been placed inside. Resolving to not do any aggressive cornering, I set off.

My first observation was that the truck was very easy to turn. I was worried about cranking the wheel with the monstrous front tires and relatively small rims. I was certain you could unseat the tires if you forgot to keep your pressures up since there was so much sidewall. I laughed at the thought of people actually going out to find bigger tires to put on this truck. I passed people in lifted trucks who probably thought 35.433" tires were still just too small, but that certainly wasn't me. Once I got it out onto the road and pointed straight, I let her have it. She didn't give me much back though.

This thing is winning precisely 0.0 sportiness awards. I was practically leaning forward in my seat trying to get the thing to pick up the pace. I went through 5 of the 7 gears on my way to 60 MPH. That's absurd. 7th gear wasn't even fully overdrive, which explained the 10.6 MPG I was getting on my LCD display. I knew this truck had the displacement and rev range to make some decent power. I was left disappointed. It took 9.3 seconds to hit 60 MPH and an absolutely embarrassing 6.8 seconds to get up to 75 MPH from 50 which made overtaking on these two lane country roads impossible. It was lethargic enough to make any fleet manager happy and to make "How's my driving?" stickers useless when it came to speed. The truck had a theoretical top speed of 108.8 MPH, but I didn't have enough tarmac or free time to get there.

Gripes about speed and acceleration aside, you were wishing to get into trouble if you ventured above 20 MPH on even the smoothest dirt road of my farm back in the day. Therefore, I wasn't concerned about not being able to move the speedometer needle much. What I was concerned with was how was the truck designed when it came to handling the rugged trails of the Pine Barrens and Wharton State Forest. So once I got deep into the pines and out past the ghost town of Batsto Village, I hit a trail and I hit it hard. I had some preconceived notions about this truck and offroading, and I wasn't wrong. On paper, it was third highest in offroad capabilities coming with skid-trays standard for when those 35" tires somehow didn't give you enough clearance. I might as well have been in a monster truck. This thing was a blast in the dirt. The short gears kept me in the high end of the power band and the wide tires helped me blast through the loose sandy trails. Mud bogs and standing water were no match for the O11 as it simply owned everything in front of it.

Sadly, I had to get back on the road and do some real-world testing. Back at the farm we had a trailer loaded with 8,000 lbs. of dead weight. We hooked up, connected our safety chains, and plugged in all of our towing lights and we set off. The truck was nicely designed to accept various plug designs for trailer lights and even came with trailer brake controls. With 4 short tons hooked up, the short gears proved useful again and the 0-60 time didn't really slack off much (although how much longer could it get before she stalled during a shift), even with the weight of the overall vehicle more than doubled. The practically flat torque curve really made its presence known with a load hooked up. Amazingly, it wasn't any harder to drive. The mirrors were large enough to look back, the brakes were over sized to provide excellent stopping power when empty and plenty of effort when heavily loaded. I wasn't afraid of someone cutting me off or a light changing in front of me. This truck did the hard work well. Not to mention, the springs barely sagged when we dropped 1000 lbs of payload as far back as we could in the bed. This thing was as tough as it looked.

So that leads us to ask, why second? Well, have you ever heard of the phrase "second to none"? Well let's just call this truck "second to one" in just about every category. It was truly an amazing truck, but the O11's enemy was its overall goodness limiting its potential greatness. It was the second most utilitarian, third most practical and offroad ready, and the second most drivable of the Top-5. It just wasn't the best at anything, and the competition up here warrants at least one area of exceptionalism, especially when you tank in sportiness, struggle in safety, and are low in reliability by the competition standards. Then, add the fact that the quality of everything on this truck was completely average, but it was designed and engineered to extract every possible point out of those average components. For that, the O11 is rewarded with a relatively low $32,340 MSRP. Don't get me wrong. This thing is probably one of the best trucks you can get for under $33,000. It's loaded. It's good quality. It's fun to drive. A couple more bucks could have brought safety up to more acceptable levels and, maybe, have gotten sportiness out of the basement and a worst-tested 0.0 numerical score, but that leaves folks like us at Boss Motorsports room to tinker. If you're looking for a cheap, nice, and utilitarian vehicle, the O11 is for you. For those reasons, it's the 5th best truck you can buy according to our metrics. A well deserved position indeed.


Wow, great work. Such an awesome review.

Man, i really do regred not spending more than 5 min on the looks of my truck, it even has the standard automation red color.

Anyways, cool truck, awesome review.


Really appreciate the comment. I know my challenge design isn't different from most we see here, but I hope the effort I put into writing these up really helps make this challenge little different. Especially for those who didn't "place". I was always disappointed to build an entry and not hear anything about it because I wasn't in the upper echelon. I hope I gave everyone enough to stay interested, even without my fancy calculations like the awesome AMWEC or BRC.


KL, if it helps any from the guy in 21st place, I appreciated the effort. One, it let me know that my time was appreciated for building the truck. Two, you did something very rare in the blurbs: you pointed out faults that prevented the entry going further. I don't know how many challenges I've gone into where I've likely made the same stupid mistakes over and over again because no one tells you "Hey, turbochargers on cheap cars are a really, really bad idea" or "Don't use double wishbone suspension on pickup trucks" when they review.

I appreciate the one-liner blurbs as a "Consolation prize" because it lets me know I participated, and they do help the bitter taste of defeat go down a little easier. What you did, on the other hand, was above and beyond the call of duty. Not just did you offer what some would call a full review as a consolation prize, you told us the faults of our trucks. Unusable power bands, improperly configured suspension, lack of safety, you name the fault, and thereby we can learn from it. On top of that, you went beyond that and also mentioned praise for some of the trucks. You made small stories in the reviews, compared trucks to each other, and in general, gave everyone that "I feel good" feeling because we got more than the usual, "This truck had tons of power, but was let down by its other faults," type reviews. It rewarded everyone for trying.

So, KL, I do appreciate the effort put forth into the mini-reviews, as well as the effort that goes into the full reviews. It's enough to keep me interested, unlike some other challenges I've been in, where I looked, saw I was in last or second-to-last place with a number by my car, and never came back for the reviews of the top group of cars.

As for those who did the one-liners, or weren't doing much for those who didn't place well, don't take this as bitter criticism. It's not meant as angry finger pointing, nor meant to call you out. I understand that it takes a lot of effort, and that a blurb for the losing cars slows progress toward the actual reviews.

To be fair, I've seen a lot of challenges where the one-liners were great. I appreciate them on their own level because it acknowledges, "Hey, you participated in this!" It makes me feel more like the challenge operator was actually looking at the cars, instead of pure numbers in a spreadsheet.

At the same time, I can understand some challenges are purely about the numbers. I've got nothing against those who just put up track times when that's what the challenge was about. I've got nothing really against those who post the numbers for the 'after-the-math' portion of their contests. I just wish that more would do the little bit more to tell people, "Hey, maybe in this type of challenge, this wasn't the best idea," yet do it in a gentle way.

Anyway, I know I've gone on a bit, and I apologize for that, KLinardo. As I said, I appreciate the blurbs. I appreciate the one-liners. I know it's a bunch more work to do either, but it really does improve the ending of a challenge for me, at least. I don't feel left out because I built the car, truck, or van that ended up doing poorly.

If it's not too much work, I'd love to see the blurbs return in the Stage 2 part of the challenge.


Now the jury is still out on that one. It took a loooooooooooooooong time to get to our most recent post. I enjoyed doing the blurbs though. Time constraints though, man.

I may do the blurbs after I do the reviews. I may not do them at all. I may say "screw it, I hate my personal life enough to pull this stunt twice consecutively."

Comments like yours, though, certainly make the time worth while and I'm really glad you enjoyed the competition and the blurbs thus far. Hopefully I don't disappoint in future challenges. Seems as if I set myself a really high bar. :smiley:


Even if you cut the blurbs down by half and kept it to the strengths and weaknesses, they'd be good. I think the biggest thing with challenges is that those of us who lost end up trying to figure out what we did right and what we did wrong. Prime example being my double-wishbone suspension, rather than McPherson+Solid Coil, causing my load capacity to be way too low for a truck in this challenge. Things I did right, well, one could argue that I picked the right engine for the job, if only I'd backed it up with reasonable suspension.

At the same time, I can understand cutting the blurbs out until after the main reviews, or just not doing them at all.

It may be a high bar you've set for yourself, but then again, maybe it will inspire others? I know if I ever do a challenge, I'm going to try my best to do a similar thing, because, as you said it yourself, it is disappointing to enter a challenge and just not hear anything because you weren't in the top three. Even one-liners make it worth it at times, because if nothing else, they let you know that your entry was looked at as more than a set of numbers in someone's spreadsheet.


I can *totally *relate to that :laughing:

That review was pure gold (as well as the blurbs), I read it like it was a TV car show review :smiley:


well, at least I didn't embarrassed myself, I made a cheap truck that did okayish.


[size=200]4th Place[/size]
TheTom, AMW Buffalo - 735.59 Points

After grabbing an early lunch with some of the FTC testers at a local diner, (It's a Jersey thing...) I was handed the keys to my second vehicle of the day. I had surrendered my O11 keys for a set to the Buffalo produced by well-known Austrian manufacturer AMW. I was pleased to see this truck be entered into the competition and I was curious to see if a company with such a wide lineup could manage to bust into the American Pickup market. I was sure that AMW had plenty of engineering experience, but did they have what it takes to make an American Pickup?

By the looks of things, the answer to that question seemed to be "yes." From the outside, though, you could tell that this truck was a bit of an foreigner. If you look at a Ford, GM, Dodge, or many of the trucks entered into this competition, they tend to go with a large, imposing, yet relatively simple grille design. The Buffalo certainly had a presence, but I'm not sure if it fit the American Pickup mold. I also hated the tail light placement. Their molding required the tailgate to have a cutout to accommodate them. It also meant that you couldn't load wide items like plywood, or a couch, or your ATV straight into the bed. You needed a crane to get wide items over the bed rails and that's just a foolish mistake. Not to mention, you reduce the surface area of the external bench seating you have available, which is particularly important to me for farm use. Of course, after a few minutes of griping to the team about an innocuous blunder on the behalf of the design team on a pre-production model, I realized that I was complaining about a side dish while the main course was getting cold in front of me. So I decided to move past the non-scored issues I had, and dug in.

My first taste of the mighty Buffalo was under the hood where I found an all-AlSi 5.7L MOHV V8 with Direct Injection. It was a modern twist on a classic pushrod design. The motor was also massively under-square with a bore measurement of 3.642", but a stroke length of of 4.173" which warranted a rev limiter at a mere 5200 RPM. The motor managed to produce a modest 345 Ft-Lbs of torque at a very early 1600 RPM and a sub par 248 HP at 4800 RPM. The torque was quick, but it slowly trailed off and dropped to almost 250 Ft-Lbs at the rev limiter while the HP built steadily, leveled off, and stayed constant for the last 400 RPM. The engine's cam set-up coincided nicely with that early torque and the DI helped optimize fuel usage where the engine was making the most of its stroke. I must be honest though, I was expecting more out of a 5.7L V8, although the engine was pretty bulletproof but cheap despite the expensive alloy and use of good quality components in its construction. Not to mention, you could barely hear this thing run. I could see American buyers looking into aftermarket exhausts or taking a hacksaw to the stock setup to get rid of one of those pesky mufflers. I decided to reserve final judgement until my foot was firmly planted against the firewall.

Before I put the motor to the test, I wanted to do my walk around to see exactly what I'd be launching down the country roads and backwoods trails. The Buffalo was a little smaller in the cab area than the O11, but it still had 4 doors, although I hesitated to call the rear two "full doors" even though that's what they were supposed to be. The bed was plenty long to load up, much like the O11 (minus my tailgate issues from earlier.) The truck was an all-corrosion resistant steel body on frame construction with MacPhearson Struts up front and a solid axle and leaf springs in the rear. This thing had a completely active suspension though in order to maximize ride comfort. We would definitely have to see how that worked in practice. I was also again surprised by the OEM wheel choice. For starters, I wasn't a fan of the rims, but that's not important. What caught my attention was how narrow these wheels were. 215/75R20 up front and 225/70R20 in the rear was all you had in the way of rubber. I was stunned to then see a rim offset of 1.575". I would have rather had that in rubber all the way around. I was concerned for offroad capabilities as well as how much traction this thing would have under braking. The 20" rims were going to give me plenty of braking power, but could the tires transfer it to the pavement? I decided I might need to be a little more cautious with this truck than the O11.

Inside, the truck was fitted with 6 standard seats and the slightly smaller cab was making itself apparent. I was curious as to who AMW used to decide how wide each seat needed to be. They certainly didn't use my girth as a benchmark and I had to fight the seat belt a little to manage to get it around me. (For reference, I'm 6' 1", 280 lbs. with 52" shoulders/chest. I'm big pretty much everywhere.) The seats were okay and the radio only had a CD player. The safety consisted of 2 airbags and the 6 seat belts with the middle of the bench seats being lap belts only. The seats did not recline because they were a bench and moving them back far enough for me to comfortably situate my legs was a pain. If I had a guy in the middle of the front bench, we would definitely be fighting for legroom, especially with the transmission tunnel of the 4x4 being very apparent in the middle of the truck. I also just personally hate not having a console, and this wasn't helping my pleasantness. The quality of the interior was pretty much on-par with the O11, albeit standard. What stood out to me though, was the safety rating. This was the least safe truck of the Top-5. Mostly due to the lack of good safety equipment and the longer stopping distance. The tire size certainly didn't help much here with a braking distance of 147' 9" which was one of the longest we tested. This was despite very good brakes, but more on those later. Caution was going to be paramount with this truck. I didn't want to be on the receiving end of any collisions in the Buffalo.

The truck was pretty easy to drive. It was a little lighter than the O11 and weighed in at 5366.0 lbs. You could feel that weight savings in the steering as well as in the drive line. I was infuriated at this trucks acceleration though. I know I complained about the O11, but I was instantly wishing I was driving that again. 10.1 seconds for a 0-60 sprint. Are you kidding me? 50-75 MPH wasn't much better with a time of 7.3 seconds. This truck had a 6-spd auto and the truck just didn't have any power once you were out of the low gears. Although, it got a decent fuel economy of ~14.7 MPG, give or take a tenth depending on how you drove it and how you calculated it based off of miles driven, and gallons pumped when you filled it up next. There was no info display in the Buffalo, just analog dials and an odometer. The truck also barely registered 0.7g on the skid pad and ran a 17.73 at the strip which was the second slowest of all the vehicles tested and the slowest of the Top-5.

At this point you may be saying to yourself, "Kyle, how in the world is this truck 4th? You've only complained thus far." You're completely right good reader, but fear not, for I have run out of things to really gripe about. When we loaded up for the utility testing, the Buffalo showed its might and earned plenty of points. To start, this truck was the second most reliable of the Top-5, it had the best utility rating of the Top-5, it was the second most practical overall and missed the honor of most practical by 0.1 raw points. It also had the second highest environmental resistance. It was also decent offroad, and the median of the Top-5 as far as drivability went. It wasn't really prestigious or comfortable, but it was cheap. How cheap say you? Well if you were good at negotiating, you could probably walk out with the model, as tested for less than $30k. Yes, that is less than $30,000. The MSRP is an astounding $30,030.00 with the 5% profit. Have you ever heard the saying "you get what you pay for"? Well with the Buffalo, you also do not pay for what you don't get. While that may be a whole laundry list of things you can read above, this truck is cheap because of it. The only truck we tested that hits you less in the wallet is the Repreni and you do not get nearly as much truck with that design.

So, why 4th place? The Buffalo is remarkably cheap, much more so than much of its closest competition, and it does astoundingly well in the areas that mattered most to our testing. In exchange, you give up speed, comfort, and safety. That seems like a decent trade off right? Well, not really. The problem is, that in search of being a superior bargain, the designers at AMW really missed the ball on the fact that this is some people's office and some families' only means of transportation. You certainly wouldn't want to drive your kids around in a truck that clawed and scratched its way to a 3-star overall safety rating. It was probably the worst modern body truck we tested when it came to safety. It also goes to show that the little things matter in a exercise of building a truck. You can't just say that your the best value for the price. That will really only work in fleet sales. People are looking for something to draw them into the interior of their vehicles. The truck was amazing in extracting the full utility and practicality out of a budget. I really did not think a truck with such a low price tag could score this high. The truck did everything that it needed to do, but nothing more. It was that "more" that separated it from the podium finishers. In all honesty, I had actually liked my time in the O11 more than I did in the Buffalo, and I think that speaks volumes.

Now like I indirectly stated, this is by no means a bad truck. The Buffalo is probably the most accessible pickup that can get work done that I've ever seen. You don't even have to settle for a V6 base motor, and I know there's more to be had in that 5.7L power plant. Towing, the truck did well with early torque that encouraged you to stay low in the rev range. Not only is the motor durable, but in everyday use, you're not going to wind out the gears and keeping the tachometer low will add miles onto your engine's wear parts' lifespan. The brakes had plenty of power left in them, even when under heavy braking with a trailer. Vented discs that measured 375mm in the front and 350mm in the rear exerted so much force, that the ABS was often times put to good use when the narrow tires just gave up. It also wasn't a terrible interior and you had every driver assist save for launch control (which you would never need in this truck anyway). It was an average standard truck otherwise. Like I said, fleet managers will be all over this thing. Not to mention, if you were looking for a bargain in the Repreni, you have so much appeal on tap from the Buffalo to try to convince people to save their money to just buy a better truck for another few thousand dollars. With the right sales and financing tactics, this truck will own the budget truck market.

The final prognosis was that this truck just couldn't be the best on the budget. The podium finishers decided to spend a little more money and find points that were simply out of the reach of the Buffalo's budget. Had the money spent and points gained been perfectly linear and negatively associated, the Buffalo would probably sit atop the leader board. However, if we learned anything from the Buffalo, it's that buyers will value some stats more than their monetary costs. Thus, the budget champion brings home 4th place overall.


When Sportiness and quarter mile time are two of the most lightly weighted criteria, you shouldn't complain about lack of acceleration :smiley: This really was designed to be a working man's truck. Lots of early torque to help with towing, great utility and practicality, reasonable price tag and low running costs, comparatively speaking. Also, a safety stat of 56 is not bad by any means. If you have a frontal accident with, say, a Vauxhall Astra you will certainly be coming out on top because this truck has a long nose and a big V8 for absorbing the crash before you get hurt.

Anyway, nice review and I'm happy to be 4th :smiley: I never expected to do this well and I'm looking forward to stage 2of the Farm Truck Challenge!


You don't understand the frustration Americans would have with a slowly accelerating truck. Just trust me lol.

I think that came through in the review. If it didn't, I meant for it to.

Consider yourself graded on a curve. The competition ranged from the high 40s to the mid 80s and there weren't many folks in the 56.5 range, especially for those using thecarlover's body.

It was a really good truck overall and it earned its position. You definitely made some great design choices. Hope to see the sporty Buffalo make up for the lack of acceleration in FTC Stage 2.


[size=200][**Click here for the 3rd Place Review!**](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Q0hFM0Xowg#t=0m00s)[/size]


You must be kidding... :smiley:


We have an expression here in Norway that goes "å hoppe etter Wirkola" which roughly translates to "like jumping after Wirkola". Wirkola was the worlds best ski jumper by far for several years. So for us petrolheads it comes to something like "driving after Ayrton Senna", you're just not going to be as good. Well, I think you just set the bar for feedback/reviews after competitions on the forums, great work!


Holy sh*t dude. I am speechless. I am not through the video yet but this is AMAZING.


You guys did an amazing job.

I really threw the truck together in a short time, that is why there was a difference between the model and the trim fixtures, some illogical choices like the 7 gears, aluminum wheel, and VVT. And yes, hydropneumatic was the only way to get those offroad sway bars.

I was not expecting much, therefore i am super happy i made it the 3rd. Even more happy now that i am 3rd, because the wait for my review would have killed me :smiley:


Every times it gets betters, first the blurps, then the full review, and now the video review :astonished: ... next time it will include stop motion of a clay-model of the second place with an special apperance of Jason from Engineering Explained and his white board :laughing: Seriously, great work!

You can also have offroad sway bars using Air suspension. Which (I think) is only available using Double wishbone.