Find out more about the Monster Truck, as the king of brutal off-road racing prepares to elbow its way onto PlayStation 3 in MotorStorm Pacific Rift.
If you wanna be a motor racer – you've gotta be the biggest badass on the road. Weighing up to 17,000 kg and with up to three metre tyres to burn, the monster truck is, without doubt, the big daddy of off-road racing. To celebrate the release of MotorStorm Pacific Rift exclusively for PlayStation 3 - where for the first time in MotorStorm history, players get to take to the wheel of the legendary monster truck - here's the low-down on the phenomenon that took the world by storm.
Monster trucks first appeared at motor racing events in the late 1970s, when spectators and drivers felt unfulfilled by the limited sizes of pick-up trucks and big rigs. Manufacturers across the nation began modifying vehicles in a worldwide bid for the biggest truck. As trucks morphed into bigger, faster and greater predators, 1978 saw the birth of the biggest vehicle to ever hit the dirt track – the monster truck – an unstoppable road beast with gigantic, oversized tyres.
Its wheels were so heavy that, most of the time, they were able to crawl up and onto cars, gradually crushing and smashing them into smithereens. Monster trucks became famous through small events across America where they would compete against one another to crush and destroy as many vehicles as possible – if not each other. Read on to discover the greatest monster trucks of all time...
Bob Chandler's Bigfoot is known as the original monster truck, and was the first vehicle to drive on top of another vehicle. In 1978, in a field in St Louis, Missouri, Chandler drove Bigfoot over a pair of cars to test the truck's endurance.
Chandler was originally commissioned to create Bigfoot by the US Army; and built it with a heavily reinforced stock chassis, a stock body, and heavy military axles to support its 1.2 metre tyres. However, when an event promoter saw the video, he asked Chandler if he'd like to repeat the act in front of a crowd.
After several small shows, Chandler brought out an even bigger Bigfoot with 1.7 metre tyres. The term Monster Truck was coined, becoming the generic name for all trucks with oversized tyres. Bigfoot became the star of Truck-O-Rama TV shows (today known as USHRA), and was officially given the title of World's Tallest, Widest, and Heaviest Monster Truck by the Guinness Book of Records. With a second set of three metre tyres attached, the truck stood at five metres and weighed over 17,000 kilos.
In 1983, Everett Jasmer's USA-1 became the first monster truck to ever beat the legendary Bigfoot. The huge triumph was recorded by American television show That's Incredible! Famous for its legendary crashes, USA-1 won the 1988 TNT Monster Truck Racing Series championship and became one of the last monster trucks to use leaf spring suspension.
In 1992 USA-1 released a brand new Executioner chassis. It later debuted the formidable Nitemare 4 chassis. USA-1 stopped racing in the early 90s, after the TNT Monster Truck Racing Series closed. In April 2008, Everett Jasmer was inducted into the Official Monster Truck Hall of Fame.
Dennis Anderson's Grave Digger began its motor racing career as a 1952 Ford Pick-up Truck, which he used for mud bogging events. The name was allegedly christened when Anderson was overheard boasting "I'll take this old junk and dig you a grave with it".
At a monster truck show, when a scheduled monster truck failed to turn up, Anderson offered to compete in his very own Grave Digger. To the delight of the crowd, he successfully crushed cars beneath his smaller wheels, and was encouraged to move from mud bogging to monster trucks.
In 1986, Grave Digger became a fully fledged monster truck, with its famous black graveyard paint scheme. Anderson quickly became a favourite at TNT Motorsports races and in 1987 beat Bigfoot on a show taped for ESPN. In 1989, Grave Digger 2 was released, with a full Chevrolet panel body. The 90s saw Grave Digger progress more and more, and today you'll find Grave Digger racing in the USHRA Monster Jam series.
Now you've read about the biggest off-road vehicles in the world, prepare to get behind the wheel of one yourself by racing a monster truck in the brand new off-road racing madness of MotorStorm Pacific Rift.