These are the world’s insane custom monster trucks and robots

One can be called an engineer without having to take an engineering course, perhaps even finish high school. You only need to be passionate in whatever you tinkle with in your garage, yard, or room.

That is the case of Tim Willis who hails from Cleveland in Ohio. He has a yard filled with cars, trucks, and robots which were products of his hard work over the years.

Because Willis did not have any formal technical education, he had to learn everything on his own through reading books and taking machines apart. It could be any machine – lawn mowers, motorized wheelchairs, cars – that land on his yard. Willis is going to disassemble them all and figure it all out.

It all started when Willis was a kid. He loved trucks so much, the Tonka toy trucks in particular, but it’s unfortunate that his parents could not afford them. Still wanting to play with trucks, he bought off-brand toys and made them look like the originals.

“I said, ‘When I grow up, I’m going to make my own Tonka toys.’ And it all got started from there,” Willis said.

These are the world’s insane custom monster trucks and robots
These are the world’s insane custom monster trucks and robots

Photos by Rustbelt Voice

At 18 years old, he got to build monster trucks while doing motocross and mud racing. It did not take long until Clear Channel Entertainment and IMG noticed the talent of Willis and gave him a job as an opening hype man at large truck shows and Monster Jams in the 80s and 90s.

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With this job, Willis was able to save up money which he invested in banks. Up until now, he does not have to work because his investments are able to pay for his bills as well as the trucks and robots he makes in his yard.

As of posting, there are 27 monster vehicles and 8 robots sitting in his yard, all of which are ‘branded’ by Willis because of the prevalent color scheme: red and yellow.

His inspiration? A hot dog that he got at a baseball stadium with ketchup and mustard on it.

Video by Cleveland.com

The first robot that Willis made was a mechanical spider. It was sometime in 2008 that the Transformers movie became a hit and he said to himself, “I’ve got to do that.” From there, he started building robots to add to his monster trucks.

Most of his projects take around 5 to 10 months to complete, working 16 hours per day. In between, he had to travel to find and get different parts.

These are the world’s insane custom monster trucks and robots
These are the world’s insane custom monster trucks and robots

Photos by Freshwater Cleveland

These are the world’s insane custom monster trucks and robots
These are the world’s insane custom monster trucks and robots

True to being an engineer of his own right, Willis did not want that any of his masterpieces to be seen as ‘a statue or a piece of art.’ He wanted them to be functional.

In that case, all of his creations can legally stroll the streets. But he always makes sure that the route is clear before he sends them rolling on their own outside.

Moreover, Willis takes them to nearly every parade, fair, and show in Northeast Ohio, all without charge. He only wants to showcase them, especially to kids, so he could inspire them to build their own.

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Willis is already 58 years old. And he said he has no plans to stop.

“The thrill is the journey when I’m building it. When I’m finished, I just start on something else,” he said.

Source: Cleveland.com


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Dion Greg Reyes
A young civil engineer finding his place in the industry. Pilipino.

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