The History of BIGFOOT.
BIGFOOT all began in the mid-1970s. Bob Chandler, the creator of BIGFOOT with his wife, was a construction contractor working in St. Louis, USA. Bob used his Ford 250 4X4 Pickup Truck for both works and also off-road family fun at the weekends. After breaking the toughest of trucks it soon became apparent that there was nowhere close by for him to get 4X4 parts and spares. Seeing the gap in the market, Bob and his wife Marilyn started up Midwest Four Wheel Drive. The Chandler’s used their truck as a work vehicle, as well as using it for promotional purposes. They tried out new parts on the truck and kept on making it bigger and better. It escalated so much that the truck actually became an attraction in its own right. In 1979, at the Denver car show, the Chandler’s used their truck in its first paid event. The truck pulls in arenas and stadiums were soon to follow.
Two years later in 1981 Bob changed the whole concept of Monster Trucks. Just for fun he thought he would try and drive over a couple of scrap cars. He soon duplicated his stunt in a stadium show a couple of months later. That was the birth of car crushing Monster Trucks. In 1983 BIGFOOT (named after he was told the reason he kept on breaking parts was because of his “big foot”) began its sponsorship deal with Ford Motor Company, which still stands today. Many more BIGFOOT monster trucks have been built since then, BIGFOOT 17 is currently being built for use in the UK and Europe.
Inspired by the success of BIGFOOT, an explosion of imitations came forth in the mid 1980’s. In America car crushing became a staple of major truck pulling and mud racing events. After many years of just car crushing, the audience in 1987 were given a more exciting show, with monster truck racing. It is a full blown sport in America today, with multiple points series taking place across the country, and millions watch it weekly on television.
The creator of BIGFOOT soon emerged at the forefront of monster truck technology. With the use of computer aided design packages he created a new breed of monster trucks designed with racing in mind. Radical new tubular chassis along with patented cantilever-based suspensions represent the state of the art race trucks design. BIGFOOT 8 was the first BIGFOOT to be born out of the new impressive mold. In 1992 BIGFOOT 8 became world champion, 1992 saw Bob and his team place 1 and 2 in the series. 1994 saw the team place 1, 2 and 3, winning 11 out of 13 races. 1995 saw teams limited to two trucks, the BIGFOOT team took first and third, and won 10 out of 15 races.
The History of BIGFOOT 17, Europe’s BIGFOOT.
Nigel Morris, the owner of L.A. Supertrux, started building his first real Monster Truck in autumn 2000. This project which later was given the name Wild Child was inspired by long time friend Tim Barks, who’s own project was well under way at this time. As Wild Child neared completion, Nigel had the chance to go to America as a crewmember for another friend, Joe Ellis who was going to be running his race tuned Lotus Carlton in the famous Silver State Challenge road race near Las Vegas. Nigel saw this as his chance to visit the Holly Grail of Monster Trucks, BIGFOOT. Nigel invited Tim to help with crew duties on Joe’s car so that they could both extend their stay in the USA to include a visit to Dan Patrick, at his Samson workshop, and then on to BIGFOOT.
Whilst visiting BIGFOOT Bob Chandler extended an invitation for the lads to return in December for the MTRA annual conference. 2000 saw Nigel & Tim make the trip to be the first Europeans EVER to attend the MTRA conference and also the Tech School. Nigel was very proud to pass the technicians exam, and become one of a very small band of people who are qualified to carry out technical, and safety checks on Monster Trucks. The membership of the MTRA voted unanimously to set up a European division, and Nigel was elected president.
During 2001 Nigel worked to fine tune Wild Child and to get used to driving a Monster Truck at speed. Wild Child also appeared in music videos and television adverts, as well as the Granada TV series Men & Motors.
In December 2001 it was back to St Louis for the MTRA conference, and for Nigel’s first speech to the MTRA membership. It proved to be a momentous occasion with Nigel reporting on the first ever side-by-side Monster Truck racing in the UK. Tim and Nigel had staged the event at the TIR Prince raceway in north Wales during September.
During his MTRA visit Nigel had discussions with Bob Chandler about the prospect of brining BIGFOOT back to the UK, and maybe touring Europe. It was during these discussions that the idea was formed to have a BIGFOOT permanently available to the European public. Further discussions led to the plan being finalised for Nigel and his L.A. Supertrux company to build and operate BIGFOOT 17 “The UK BIGFOOT”
That process is now well under way, and the fans will only have to wait a short while longer to see BIGFOOT for real. BIGFOOT 17 is planed to be available for events midsummer 2002.