SEMA 2017: Robby Woods’ Million Dollar Diesel Returns

Last year, we had the chance to check out Robby Woods’ epic Million Dollar Diesel. While it was easily the most impressive off-road vehicle at the 2016 SEMA Show, it was practically bare-bones. This time, however, things are a lot different.

If you don’t remember (or don’t want to read too much), Robby started the Million Dollar Diesel to address the shortcomings in Trophy Trucks. Two-wheel-drive and drivetrains prone to breakage were the main problems Robby wanted to solve. To those ends, he made the Million Dollar Diesel have a custom-built four-wheel-drive drivetrain, as well as use a 6.6-liter Duramax engine.

At the 2016 SEMA Show, the Million Dollar Diesel was a long way away from completion (top). However, it has returned in a near-finished state this time around (bottom).

We spoke with Robby at this year’s Show to see what all has changed on the MDD between one year ago and today. “Not enough,” he quipped. “I was hoping that it would be 100-percent finished for the SEMA Battle of the Builders, but it’s not. I set big goals and swing for the fence, but I still strike out sometimes.”

Nevertheless, Robby has made a lot of progress on the MDD. “We’ve gotten a lot done,” he said. “The engine and transmission are fully built now, and all the accessory drives are finished. We also did the interior sheet metal, the dashboard, the electronics, the seats, that’s all good to go.”

“It looks like a finished vehicle. It just needs plumbing and wiring,” concluded Robby.

The interior has been the biggest change since last year. Now, the MDD has seats, a dashboard, electronics, etc.

Of course, every plan runs into a wall and needs to make adjustments. The MDD is no different. “We made some adjustments to the drivetrain,” said Robby. “We didn’t initially anticipate that we were going to build all of it. The custom front differential was built last year, and after some consideration, we decided to build a better transfer case. Other than that, it’s been all systems go.”

While it’s a shame Robby couldn’t make his goal, he’s still optimistic about completing the MDD. “I anticipate that I’ll be driving it in six weeks’ time,” he said. “All of the parts to finish it are at my shop. It’s really close, and I can’t wait to get it out in the dirt!”

Robby plans to take the Million Dollar Diesel out for some joy riding almost as soon as it is ready. He already has a spot picked out, too: the Spring Mountain Motorsports Ranch in Pahrump, Nevada.

Robby’s choice of dirt, as he told us, is the Spring Mountain Motorsports Ranch in Pahrump, Nevada. “It’s the most prestigious road race track in America, and they have a huge skid pad,” commented Robby. “There’s also a good desert section. So we’ll be out there for a media day with Chevrolet, BF Goodrich, and a lot of our other sponsors.”

It’s awesome to see the Million Dollar Diesel once more, especially in near-complete fit and finish. We look forward to seeing how the truck does once it’s ready for the desert.

Robby stands next to the MDD.

About the author

David Chick

David Chick comes to us ready for adventure. With passions that span clean and fast Corvettes all the way to down and dirty off-road vehicles (just ask him about his dream Jurassic Park Explorer), David's eclectic tastes lend well to his multiple automotive writing passions.
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