The First Monster Truck Ever

The Picture that started it all. Bigfoot 1 in 1981 Photo: Blue Oval Trucks

The Picture that started it all. Bigfoot 1 in 1981
Photo: Blue Oval Trucks

Monster Trucks have been around since early 1981 when Bob Chandler decided he wanted to make a promotional video for his 4×4 performance shop so he took his 1974 F-250 that he had been building up over the years that had been significantly lifted and was running 48 inch tires and he drove it on top of some old beat up cars parking the big old truck right on top of them. There was some controversy as to who was the first person to crush cars by driving a big truck on top of them but chandler was the only one able to provide evidence of it. Chandler had no idea what that picture and video of him driving that truck crushing those cars would start a Monster truck craze that would turn into the massive attraction it is today. Chandler just used the tape to play in his show room but it just so happens that an event promoter saw the video and from that point on Chandlers life would change forever.

Photo: volnation

Photo: volnation

In 1979 Chandler installed what is said to be the first rear steering system on a truck allowing him to make much sharper turns than he could normally pull off, and when you have a vehicle that big its really hard to turn it. Also in 1979 Bigfoot made its Hollywood Debut in the film ” Take this Job and Shove it” where it plays a key role as the main characters truck. The original Bigfoot was still a regular truck using leaf spring suspension which meant for a pretty rough ride especially with 48 inch tires. Bigfoot was so popular that a few other big trucks started to become popular so Chandler knew he was going to have to raise the bar a little bit. The truck was used to perform at a few small venues but its they got a major break when they were asked to perform at the Pontiac Silverdome in 1982. For that show Chandler took off the 48 inch tires and installed the new 66 inch, super wide tire that we know now as a Monster truck tire. This blew everyone’s mind and all the sudden Bigfoot was becoming one of the most poplar trucks in America. It wasn’t long until there was Bigfoot merchandise everywhere. Kids lunch boxes (I had one myself as a kid) plus all the toys and there was even a Bigfoot cartoon if I’m remembering right.

Who Remembers this Bigfoot Toy? Photo: Pinterest

Who Remembers this Bigfoot Toy?
Photo: Pinterest

The engine in the original Bigfoot was as big as the rest of the truck, using a custom built 640 cubic inch motor with a blower attached to it this thing could put out some serious power. I was’t able to find any exact power specs for it but we have to assume it was at least in the 500-750hp range. Which granted is nothing compared to the 1800+ hp that we see in today’s Monster trucks. Bigfoot went on to make many different variations of the truck over the years, I believe there is four different Bigfoot trucks running in the current Monster Truck Championships which should be up in the Bigfoot #20. But it is nice to take a look back at how it all started.