Class 7 and it's many derivatives: past, present and future

DrZero

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THE PAST:

I really enjoyed this article, especially the vintage photos of Class 7 racers in the 1970s and 1980s, with trucks by Isuzu, Mitsubishi/Dodge, and Nissan as well as the more common Ford and Toyota.


Which got me thinking about the state of Class 7 these days, which I haven't really kept up on. It seems to have changed a lot, here's the rough rules. OK, let's see if I have this right:

THE PRESENT:

SCORE Class 7 - Open Production - Unlimited. This is basically a smaller trophy truck - tube chassis with a 6 cylinder engine. 90" inch track width. Unlimited forced or naturally asperated 4 cylinder, And six cylinder Turbo engines up to 3.5 liters - must be sealed. For normally asperated the limit is 4.5 liters and they don't have to be sealed, apparently. 3000 lbs. Stock appearing body.

SCORE Class 7F - Open Production - Mini or Mid Sized Truck "F" stands for "frame" and you have to have a production frame in this class. 87" track width, Six Cylinder 4.5L max for normally asperated, 3.5L for most turbos (listed acceptable engines). Wide latitude, Suspension is open but must maintain stock concept.

SCORE Class 7-SX - Stock Production - Mini Pickups Up to 4.0 Liter naturally asperated engines. Attempt to keep mods down, some suspension mods allowed, stock front diffs required, must use manufacturers transmission, have to have working doors. Basically a pretty stock truck. 12" front suspension travel limit. 3,000 lbs minimum. Lots of stock sheet metal must be retained.

And - oh yeah - this is the category that the car companies like. Chevy ran their high end Colorado off road version in this (with a hired gun pro racer) and "won" "the Baja" - ignore that it was a class win with two trucks in the class, it makes decent ad copy. (One wonders if they have a gentleman's agreement as Ford seems likely to try the same stunt with the new Bronco.)

Flipping over to the Best in the Desert, you again have three mini-truck classes, in ascending order:

BITD Class 7100 - Mini Truck Challenge - Sportsman Mini or Mid Sized Truck Stock Engines up to 4.3L V6's permitted., must retain stock EFI. 300 Horsepower Limit. Limited suspension modification: 18 inch rear travel limit. Stock working doors. 3,250 lbs minimum weight.

BITD Class 7200 - Mini Trick Truck Specific 6 Cylinder engines permitted - "turn key only". (Weirdly) Ford 5.0 Liter V8's and GM LS3 V8 engines ARE permitted in this class. 87" max width. Maximum 37" tire size.

BITD Class 7300 - Pure-stock Production Mini or Mid-Sized Pickup/SUV Very Limited suspension modifications, Stock engine up to a 4.3L V6, stock heads, stock location. Maximum 35" tire size.

Which of these are attractive, and to who?

Back in the golden era (covered in the article up top) class 7 was an everyman's class. Ford Rangers and the various Japanese built mini-trucks were everywhere, could be had cheaply, and looking at the pictures were mostly raced in a pretty stock configuration.

In 2021 we have a number of UTV's that at least appear initially to be a cheaper starting point than buying a stock truck for building a Class 7 racer. Fabrication is probably simpler - no sheet metal to work around and mod. Starting suspensions are higher tech than those on stock trucks which are still leaf springs. Even starting with a cheap used truck you are going to pump a lot of modifications into the vehicle and still end up with something that's not particularly fast or well suspended for it's size. Not to mention the UTV will be lighter and easier to tow to the races. Still, if you have to have a truck to race the SCORE Class 7SX and BITD Class 7300 are the cheapest way to get started. If you are clever you might be able to build one that works in both series. I'm not clear on what the difference of the BITD Class 7100 - Sportsman designation means exactly? More pure amateur I think - lower fees to enter, no cash for winning? (Vague guess, sorry)

At the high end the SCORE Class 7 will certainly permit super capable vehicles being built, but it's hard to understand why someone would not just go ahead and build a full trophy truck. The differences (and therefore costs) are slight. The small-block Chevy and Ford V8s are proven and widely available motors - will it be cheaper to put a V6 in and try to wring high horsepower out of it? Time will tell if there is an audience for this class.

Which strangely leaves SCORE Class7F as what, exactly. Well surprisingly I now sort of get this. If you are ambitious about building a truck for racing, and after doing all the required cage building, fuel cell installation, and probably replacing as much sheet metal with fiberglass as you can you are underwhelmed with the idea of having suspension with a limited 12" of travel and other limitations of the SX class, but you are still trying to keep your vehicle build under $100K this your class.

The downside of all this is that the mini-trucks are spread out all over the place with these different classes, and as previously mentioned the UTV's provide an alternative (and probably cheaper still) option for entry into the sport.

THE FUTURE

What do you think the future holds for the various permutations of Class 7? Will any of them take off and grow participation (the way Class 5 has in the last few years) or is the mini-truck as a desert race platform simply past it's prime. Regardless, we do have some great memories of this class to look back on.

LIke this one: back when Nissan's were Datsun's. (from article link at top)


1616805931408.png
 

DrZero

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SCORE Class 7SX is has a WIkipedia article. |
It's illustrated with this truck, from the 2010 Baja 1000 per the caption.

1616806769724.png
 

jon coleman

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i drove an old Mitsubishi 7 truck testing at PS, they are fun, low horsepower, 4cyl, easy to rally, low to the ground, easy to gather backup, but, my kidneys still be smarting😨
 

Brandt_Anderson

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SCORE Class 7SX is has a WIkipedia article. |
It's illustrated with this truck, from the 2010 Baja 1000 per the caption.

View attachment 224464
Looks familiar. That truck might not be the best representative of SCORE 7sx though, even though it has quite a legacy that probably no one knows about. It won quite a few SCORE and SNORE races and championships in 7s, from the mid 2000's to about 2012, but never won anything in SCORE 7sx. (SCORE combined 7s and 7sx in 2008.) It is/was the first off-road truck that RIGID Industries ever sponsored. (Starting with Holder, RIGID's predecessor.) It was the red-headed step-child of General Tire's return-to-off-road team starting in 2008.

You just have to look at the Mexican race series to see that there are still tons of 7s trucks out there still racing. BITD changed 7100 to a "Sportsman" class. I don't know the story there. SNORE still has 7s, but no one every really races. I was gonna race the "Rage at Primm" in December and then it got cancelled. There were four of us at the Baja 1000, which is pretty good frankly. I doubt any will race the 250, 500, or 400, though I haven't ruled out the 500. I'm definitely racing the 1000.

I have opinions about SCORE and limited classes but I'm not gonna share them here.
 

jon coleman

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there has to be tons o' 7 trucks out there looking for drivers, bet most of them just need the varnish cleaned out of the carb and new fuel cell& lap belts and they probably can still go, plus junk yards still have stuff that can adapt to them for the really cheep racer type's
 

7100AZ

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I am resurrecting an old Class 7 into a Class 7100. I need un-equal wider i-beams for the front and having no luck. Can anyone help and thanks in advance.
 

michael.gonzalez

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You just have to look at the Mexican race series to see that there are still tons of 7s trucks out there still racing.

Agreed. There are LOTS of Class 7 trucks still racing in Mexico.

CODE always has great class 7 entries for great door to door racing!
 

green787

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It was the "mini or mid-sized" rule that killed the mini truck class....4 cylinder Mini trucks had to compete against V6 Rangers with longer wheelbases.....
 

Bro_Gill

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Nope- You could buy a longbed 4 banger Ranger in the second model year for sure. You need to admit what I did back in 1999, Rangers just had better suspension. Period.
 

michael.gonzalez

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Nope- You could buy a longbed 4 banger Ranger in the second model year for sure. You need to admit what I did back in 1999, Rangers just had better suspension. Period.
Twin I beams dominated class 7 no doubt.

Then some sneaky class 7s guys started extending their beams against class rules.
 

green787

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Nope- You could buy a longbed 4 banger Ranger in the second model year for sure. You need to admit what I did back in 1999, Rangers just had better suspension. Period.
I could not come close to a V6 Ranger on any part of the track....
 

green787

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Maybe put a v6 in yours?
For me the fun was building 22r motors.... allowing V6's killed an entire 22r rebuild industry..... And there is still no class where 4 bangers can go head to head racing.... bunch of 4 banger haters out there.....!!!!
 

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Bro_Gill

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For me the fun was building 22r motors.... allowing V6's killed an entire 22r rebuild industry..... And there is still no class where 4 bangers can go head to head racing.... bunch of 4 banger haters out there.....!!!!
You do't have n't have to convince me. I still have a full dual Mikuni set-up for a Ford 2.3 on the shelf in the garage as we speak thinking someday I will do a 4 banger Ranger There is a 2.3 Ford running in 2000 at MORE that does well. You can only go so fast with rear leafs and power runs out of talent fast.
 
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