Big Badass Rig

"You're looking at 2,000 horsepower of nitro-boosted war machine."

When Testosterone Poisoning hits the road.

A Sister Trope to Cool Car, this is the kind where even four wheels isn't enough, you need the diesel fumes and huge smoking pipes and plenty of axles and... well, you have the big rig truck that tends to be a mainstay in action movies and the like.



Comic Books
  • The U.S. 1 rig from the shortlived Marvel Comics title U.S. 1.
  • Spider-Man once fought a trucker who fancied himself a crime fighter named Razorback (who was rather incompetent and had a pretty dumb-looking cowl that looked like a boar's head; the story was written back when CB radios were becoming a fad for motorists other than truckers). Having said that, the modified rig he drove - which he named "The Big Pig" - was kind of cool; he could even drive it using a remote control.

  • The LandMasters from Damnation Alley.
  • The truck from Duel is a humongous (compared to the Plymouth Valiant it's chasing) 1955 "Needlenose" Peterbilt 281, Covered in Gunge, with license plates hanging from its front grill.
  • Maximum Overdrive. Weren't these from before Stephen King's car accident, though?
  • The big rig from Land of the Dead is also a Weaponised Vehicle.
  • Mack from Cars is a rare benign version. The only thing fearful about him is when he nods off to sleep while in motion.
  • The Dreadnought from Death Race The third movie has the hilariously huge trucks driven by Joker and Nero, which, respectively, have a tank turret and an anti-air cannon for weapons.
  • The Joker's semitruck from The Dark Knight.
  • Mad Max sequels:
    • The tanker truck Max and the tribesmen use in the climatic chase scene in The Road Warrior.
    • The War Rigs from Mad Max: Fury Road. The one used by our heroes has two massive supercharged V8s up front, the back half of a vintage sedan stuck on the back of the cab for passengers and two defensive nests made from other cars on top of the tanker trailer. The Gas Town rig has an entire 70s Mercedes limo as its cab, and a functioning mini-refinery on the back to allow it to refuel other cars on the road. Several other equally huge and equally awesome vehicles are present but either not technically big trucks (The Gigahorse is more a monster truck, the Doof Wagon's truck portion is much smaller) or quite prominent enough to count (the car carrier occasionally panned across but never seen doing anything significant).
  • Jack Burton's truck in Big Trouble in Little China.
  • Terminator
    • The finale for The Terminator has the Terminator chasing down the protagonists (on foot) in an 18 wheeler oil tank truck. Reese utilizes a well-timed grenade to blow up the truck, causing the Terminator to burn and reveal his terrifying metal endoskeleton.
    • Terminator 2: Judgment Day has the T-1000 chasing John Connor off the road and into a canal, and only a direct collision against solid concrete stops it. Later on in the film, the T-1000 acquires a tank truck containing liquid nitrogen, which eventually leads into a huge crash and the now iconic T-1000 freezing/melting scene.
  • Transformers Film Series
    • In the first three films, Optimus Prime has a Peterbilt 379 vehicle mode. Unlike most of his animated appearances, his vehicle mode is a conventional truck (with the engine ahead of the driver). In Age of Extinction, because he's on the run from his former human allies he has adopted a rusted old Marmon 97 cab-over design more reminiscent of his classic look. When he decides to stop hiding and get dangerous he scans a Western Star 4900 Phantom Custom and applies his red-on-blue Hot Paint Job to it.
    • For Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Megatron adopts a new alternate mode that certainly fits this trope. A heavily modified Mack tanker truck littered with spikes and chains, it would fit right in on the set of Mad Max.
    • In Age of Extinction, the KSI corporation is attempting to replace Optimus with a superior man-made drone called Galvatron. About the only aspect of Optimus that KSI successfully copies for Galvatron is his alt mode, a sleek gray cab-over semi that contrasts nicely with the boxy, rusted-out cab-over that Optimus starts the movie disguised as.
  • Billy from Beverly Hills Cop II steals a truck in pursuit of a suspect.

  • In The Pushcart War, three truck companies are the villains. The biggest and baddest of their truck models are the Mighty Mammoth, Ten-Ton Tiger and Leaping Lema.

Live-Action TV
  • Power Rangers used this in some of the Disney-owned seasons. Ninja Storm made the most use of their Mobile Command Center, while Dino Thunder brought out a suspiciously similar rig for their final assault on the villain base. SPD went with a new design for the SWAT Command Truck.
  • B.J. and the Bear. B.J. (Billie Joe) McKay drove a big rig truck. His sidekick was a chimpanzee named "Bear".
  • A late '80s action series called The Highwayman involved frontier lawmen traveling the roads in big black rigs. The lead character's cab even turned into a helicopter.
  • The original Knight Rider had one for a mobile base-cum-garage. Also, in a couple of episodes, KITT's Evil Counterpart Goliath.
  • The Supernatural episode "Route 666" has a possessed truck.
  • Thunderstone has “The Beast”, a huge truck dug up by the Protectors and used to do their heavy lifting. It was cool enough to live on long after the Protectors were gone, being used by the Nomads in the second season as a storeroom/Sundance’s bedroom/brig.

  • "Ramp Warrior," the original version of Truck Stop, featured a flame-belching longnose tractor ramming its way past various barricades.

Tabletop Games
  • Ork wartrukks from Warhammer 40,000. Each one is unique to its maker, has guns everywhere they can be strapped on (when not using less conventional but entirely Orky weaponry like a wrecking ball the size of its engine), and of course, go faster if painted red.
  • It is quite possible to create one of these on Car Wars. One of the game's factions, the "Brotherhood Of Truckers", drives nothing but these... and you really don't want to piss them off enough to have them gang up on you..

Video Games

Western Animation
  • Rhino, Outlaw, Goliath and Bulldog from M.A.S.K..
  • Optimus Prime. Tractor trailers would become a mainstay after that, and Optimus would appear as other kinds of vehicles (and animals!), but there's a very good reason he's most associated with a truck.
    • The Decepticons had an equivalent in Generation 1 who also turned into a rig, Motormaster, the leader of the Stunticons and the core component of the Decepticon gestalt, Menasor. He was incredibly tough, but in one episode he dared try to face Optimus Prime in a head-on-head collision; it was a Curb-Stomp Battle with the villain on the curb.
  • King of the Hill - Hank is going to transport a single piece of furniture long distance for his mother, and rents a full-size semi rig for the job. As he justifies his choice to his awestruck friends, Bill sighs "You don't have to explain to us, Hank!"

Real Life
  • "Road trains" in Australia, essentially one truck pulling up to eight trailers at once.
  • Off-road trucks designed for heavy hauling in the post-World War II years, made to become artillery tractors or tank tractors if a major war happened again. All were very similar in basic layout, built around a very large and slow-turning Diesel or gasoline engine, all wheel drive, large tires with strong grip and weight distribution made for towing. While they did saw military use, their fame comes from civilian jobs, towing extra-large loads over rough ground and carrying oil drilling machinery in the wilderness:
    • Soviet KrAZ-214/255 series and MAZ-535/543
      • As the years wore on, the oil prices rose, and the KrAZ' fuel-guzzling gasoline engine became a liability, so in The '80s it was replaced in Russia by the diesel Ural-4320, still in production. This huge 6×6 is still a mainstay of the offroad heavy trucking in Russia and environments,note  even though its replacement is finally getting released.
    • Czechoslovak Tatra 813 series
    • German Kaelble KDV series
    • French Berliet GBO 15 series and the absolutely gigantic Berliet T 100
    • British Thornycroft Antar.
    • Most any gun truck, but the Deuce-and-a-half with the "meat chopper" gets special mention.
  • The ultimate movers, the haul trucks, which are basically self-propelled hoppers designed to efficiently move hundreds of tons of dirt/ore/coal/etc. in the open-pit mines that are still too small to lay a railway in. It's hard to be more badass than a dump truck the size of a large house, carrying 200 tons of coal under the power of two locomotive engines. These aren't to post any speed records, though.
  • In Alaska, rural interstate snowplows are based on big Peterbilt and Mack trucks, with the (obvious) addition of snow-clearing equipment and an Enemy Detecting Radar; the drivers have a heads-up-display which shows a radar display to detect where the truck is on the road for driving in zero-visibility conditions, and will it shake either side of the driver's chair if they start to veer off of the road.