bigfoot monster truck
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How a Custom-Built Ford Pickup Became the First Monster Truck


The Bigfoot monster truck is no ordinary pickup truck. At its core, it was a Ford F-250 modified by its original owner, Bob Chandler. Of course, the legacy of the Bigfoot 4x4 off-road legend goes far beyond that first Bigfoot. In fact, they are currently on Bigfoot 21. And, you might even say that the legend of the Bigfoot monster truck has grown well beyond just the physical parts that make up these massive reincarnated trucks.

Here, we'll take a look at the Bigfoot monster truck and its accomplishments. You might be surprised just how far this custom build made it, as Bigfoot is largely responsible for the entire monster truck racing phenomenon.

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What Makes the Bigfoot Monster Truck Special?

Bigfoot isn't just a monster truck. It was the first monster truck ever built. Bob Chandler, currently a member of the Off-road Motorsports Hall of Fame, began modifying his truck in 1975 when the axle on his F-250 broke. By 1979, the custom-built truck had gained a reputation as the original monster truck.

Chandler decided to sell the parts that he, his wife Marilyn, and friend Jim Kramer had made. They used the original Bigfoot truck to demonstrate that these parts were extremely durable, and in '79, he was invited to do his routine for the Denver Car Show.

A couple of years later, a primitive edition of Monster Jam formed when Chandler decided to see if he could crush two crap cars with his massive Bigfoot creation. Turns out, he could.


Given this first car crushing success, he decided to take his act to the public. After a few local events, Chandler added more modifications to his massive truck and took it to Detroit, Michigan, where he performed in front of 68,000 people at the Pontiac Silverdome. Bigfoot 2, as it was known in this iteration, had a 640-cubic-inch engine and was the first monster truck to use 66-inch tall tires.

In 1986, now on his fifth Bigfoot, sponsored by Firestone, and having performed countless times at Monster Jam events as a member of the St. Louis, Missouri-based Bigfoot 4x4, Inc. racing team, Chandler was riding high. The Bigfoot team ended up setting the world record for the largest pickup truck ever that year, with the Bigfoot 5 measuring in at 15 feet, 6 inches.

There hasn't been a new truck iteration since Bigfoot 21 came out in 2014, but these days, Bigfoot is still a household name and an icon in the monster truck community. Over the years, it's dominated in everything from mud runs to tractor pulls and has impressed spectators with not only its racing skills, but also long jump and wheelie stunts. Bigfoot iterations have been featured in such movies as Take This Job and Shove It, Tango and Cash, and Police Academy, and the truck has also been a mainstay in television and video games. How's that for the legend of Bigfoot?

This post was originally published on November 22, 2019.


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