|Body:||Original - 1984 F-250 Pickup Truck
When Sold - 1996 Pickup Truck
|Chassis:||1984 Pickup Truck|
|Tires:||66" x 43" x 25"|
|Axles:||5 Ton Military|
|Shocks:||18 Gas Cell|
|Weight:||Approx. 13,500 lbs.|
BIGFOOT #3 occupies an interesting place in the annals of BIGFOOT history. Built in 66 days in the fall of 1983, the truck made its public debut at the Pontiac Silverdome in January of 1984. At the point in time that BIGFOOT #3 was created, the monster truck industry was evolving rapidly. Some would argue that in a few technical aspects, the truck was nearly out-dated when it rolled out for the first time. In other ways, however, it was one of the classiest, most unique and best-looking trucks to have carried the BIGFOOT name.
Like BIGFOOT #2, BIGFOOT #3 featured a number of improvements and updates over its predecessors, the most visible being its use of 1984-model sheet metal, which gave the truck a modern, cutting-edge look. To say that BIGFOOT #3 was merely a show truck would be a boldfaced lie, but the truck certainly wasn’t lacking in the looks department. When the truck made its debut in January of ’84, it rolled out with more bells and whistles than any BIGFOOT to have gone before it. Chrome trim was abundant, from the body sides to the fender lips, which eschewed the traditional fiberglass flares in lieu of streamlined wheel cut-outs. A hydraulic tilt-front end, by now a practical must-have in the monster truck world, was incorporated along with a chromed front winch bumper packing a 12,000lb Warn winch. Custom “F-880” badging (seen previously on #1 and #2) and a chromed rear bumper along with the traditional double-hoop light bar in the bed topped with KC Hi-Lites rounded out the truck’s appearance package. Brand-new 66” terra tires wrapped around beautiful custom-made aluminum wheels helped make BIGFOOT #3 look fast simply sitting still.
Much like its two brethren before it, BIGFOOT #3’s skeletal assembly began life as a 1974 F-250 frame that was hacked, torched, welded, boxed, gusseted, blasted, and painted until it was heavy-duty enough to withstand the life of a BIGFOOT truck. Motivation under-hood came in the form of an all-aluminum Alan Root 429 c.i. Ford Hemi stroked out to 488 c.i. that sucked fuel through a pair of Predator carburetors parked atop a Hampton 6-71 blower. This deviant mill (all prior BIGFOOT trucks used modified 460ci “wedge” motors) barked orders at a highly-modified Ford C-6 transmission that used a manual valve body and a heavy TCI torque converter. The running gear down low consisted of non-planetary 5-ton military Rockwell top-loader axles filled with 10.26:1 gears, while a 2.5-ton International-Harvester transfer case bridged the gap between the C-6 tranny and the axles.
Stopping power was provided by the “stock” 5-ton drum brakes that were OEM equipment on the truck’s non-planetary axles. Supporting the weight of #3 were custom-arched 8-leaf spring packs that in turn were dampened by a grand total of 14 shock absorbers; 4 at each front corner and 3 at each rear corner. If the old saying “it’s what’s on the inside that counts” really is true, then #3 held its own just fine. A custom center console, custom shifters for both the transmission and transfer case, a plethora of accessory and primary gauges, and plenty of custom blue color treatment as well could be found in the original incarnation of #3.
With all of that being said, it becomes clear that BIGFOOT #3 was a “chip off the ole engine block” of BIGFOOT #1, but shod in newer clothes. Many enthusiasts agree that BIGFOOT #3 was the “show truck” or the “hot rod” of the BIGFOOT family, as it combined some of the classic styling cues of #1 and #2 with a more modernized trim package that left no detail ignored. The truck continued the BIGFOOT tradition of competing in mud bogs, hill climbs, sled pulls, and car crush exhibitions but rarely took to the track as a race vehicle until it was equipped with planetary ends in 1987 to handle the extra abuse. The truck made a particularly “big” splash at its debut in Pontiac, sporting a mind-boggling eight terra tires (scaling out at over 16,000lbs.) The distribution of the truck’s weight over such a large area actually prevented the roofs of the crush cars from completely collapsing immediately. A number of well-known BIGFOOT drivers other than Bob Chandler could be found behind the wheel of BIGFOOT #3 at one point in their career. Jim Kramer spent time behind the wheel, before moving a short while later to the veritable Army tank that was BIGFOOT #4. Janice Oliver, who began her career driving the original Ms. BIGFOOT, piloted #3 for a time during the 1987 season. Rich Hooser’s driving career began to blossom behind the wheel of BIGFOOT #3, before he (like Kramer before him) moved on to #4. Multi-time champion Andy Brass spent much of the early days of his career flogging BIGFOOT #3. Video evidence suggests that Brass very well may have put #3 through its paces harder than any previous driver, although Hooser could lay claim to more than one wild run himself.
By the time the press had caught wind of the BIGFOOT #3 build-up and ran feature articles (4-Wheel & Off-Road, Four Wheeler, and Hot Rod magazine among them) construction on the much more advanced BIGFOOT #4 was already well underway at BIGFOOT/Midwest Four Wheel Drive’s then-new (and now current) home in Hazelwood, MO, and as history shows, BIGFOOT #4 would end up overshadowing #3’s accomplishments (#4 would ultimately become one of the most famous trucks in the sport’s history). Despite this, the fact that images and video of BIGFOOT #3 are nearly as rare as those of the mythical beast who’s name it shares makes the truck all that more interesting to the enthusiast and old-school monster truck crowds.
Along with planetary ends in 1987, #3 also received new body panels (save for the cab) in an effort to upgrade its looks to reflect Ford’s new F-250 sheet metal styling. In 1992 BIGFOOT #3 received yet another face lift, this time in the form of a fiberglass 1992 F-250 body, although the truck still retained its ’84-vintage cab that it began life with. That same year, it became the second “SafariFoot” monster ride truck in the BIGFOOT fleet, at which time its signature Ford hemi was replaced by a much milder “wedge” type motor. Interestingly, parts from #3’s hemi (along with parts from the BIGFOOT Ranger/Ms. BIGFOOT hemi) were used to build the hemi that was installed in the BIGFOOT #12 show truck upon its completion in late 1992. As “SafariFoot”, #3 carried a traditional BIGFOOT “racer” paint scheme with red and yellow stripes for the bulk of its ride truck career before being donated in 2000 to the E.M.T. Financial fund. The truck is now in the hands of a private owner, although as best can be determined the only remaining “original” components are parts of the drive train and running gear.