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Bigfoot is one of the most famous monster trucks of all time. Bob Chandler invented the modern monster truck when he lifted his 4WD 1977 Ford F-250 and fit it with 66-inch tires borrowed from agricultural equipment. You might think that the name “Bigfoot” referred to the new truck’s oversized tires or the Sasquatch legend from the Pacific Northwest. But in truth, Bigfoot was the nickname Chandler’s off-roading buddies gave him because of his heavy throttle foot. Read on to find out exactly how Chandler invented the modern monster truck.

Bob Chandler was an early off-road enthusiast

The Ford F-250 Bigfoot monster truck with its hood up and parked in a field, trees visible in the background.
Bigfoot Ford F-250 | Bigfoot 4×4 via Facebook

The first factory-built 4WD pickup truck was the Dodge Power Wagon. It was released in 1945 and based on the WC Series Dodge built for WWII. By the 1970s, all of the Detroit Three offered 4WD versions of their full-size pickup trucks.

Bob Chandler was one of many off-roading enthusiasts lifting and modifying their 1970s pickup trucks. But Chandler’s heavy throttle foot not only earned him the nickname “Bigfoot” but also caused him to constantly break components of his 1974 Ford F-250.

When Chandler found it hard to buy replacement parts for his modified truck, he saw a business opportunity. Chandler founded Midwest Four Wheel Drive and Performance Center in Ferguson, Missouri. To get people’s attention, he painted “bigfoot” on the side of his lifted F-250 and parked it outside the store.

Bigfoot rode on industrial-size tires to become the first monster truck

Closeup of the tailgate and rear tires of an early Bigfoot Ford F-250 monster truck parked on grass.
Bigfoot Ford F-250 | Bigfoot 4×4 via Facebook

With a steady supply of off-road components at his fingertips, Chandler made a series of modifications to his Ford F-250. He swapped its stock V8 for a monstrous 640-cubic-inch Ford engine. He installed 48-inch tires. He also upgraded its axles and continually strived for a taller lift kit.

Chandler found that lifting his F-250 increased its ability to navigate off-road obstacles. This is because the increased ride height also improved Bigfoot’s approach, departure, and break-over angles. Bigger tires also made his truck look cool, which helped attract customers to his business.

One day, Chandler noticed that industrial-grade fertilizer spreaders had some of the largest tires around. These pieces of agricultural equipment rode on tires that were 34 inches wide and 66 inches tall. Naturally, Chandler bought a set. Then he found a way to fit them to his F-250, making bigfoot a truly monstrous pickup truck.

The ‘Bigfoot’ Ford F-250 competed in the first Monster Jam

Four different versions of the Ford F-250 Bigfoot monster truck in a parking lot for a publicity photo.
Bigfoot Ford F-250s | Bigfoot 4×4 via Facebook

Once Chandler had Bigfoot set up the way he wanted it, he immediately began to seek out opportunities for publicity. First, he bought a pair of junk cars and had his friend film him driving over them for an advertisement. As word spread about this new “Bigfoot monster truck,” a TV show asked him to feature him in a pickup racing scene.

After the TV show aired, a promoter from Chicago’s Soldier Field called with a unique proposal: they fill the stadium with junk cars, and Chandler drive over them for a live audience. At that event, the monster truck exhibition was born. Then in 1983, the owners of a lifted pickup truck called USA-1 contacted Chandler proposing a sort of monster truck competition. The rest, as they say, is monster jam history.

Next find out which pickup trucks offer the most stock ground clearance or watch the original Bigfoot monster truck in the video below: