Baja 500 Winning BF Goodrich F-100
Stop by the BG Goodrich booth at the 2005 SEMA Show and you’ll see one of the most ground-breaking pickups ever built. And if you’re lucky, you’ll meet the driver.
Frank “Scoop” Vessels is one of the pioneers of racing pickups in the Baja 100 and other off-road events. His black F-100 won Class 8 in the 1977 Baja 500. Recently discovered locked away in a barn in the Northwest, the truck has been restored and will be on display in the Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame located in Reno, Nevada.
“Few trucks in the history of off-road motorsports are as revolutionary and storied as the Vessels’ F-100,” says Rod Hall, president of the Hall and an off-road legend in his own right. “Scoop’s truck defined what off-road vehicles were in the late ‘70s.”
The Baja 500 win was a milestone for BFG because the race marked the introduction of radial tires to off-road racing. The premier of the Radial T/A marked the switched from tires that had an agriculture background and used in off-road racing to tires specificially designed for trucks and high-speed use in the desert.
The truck was a modified shortbed and featured a propane-powered 404ci Ford V8. The idea behind the propane was that in its pressurized state, power didn’t change with altitude. At Baja, the altitude changes from 5,500 feet to below sea level.
Vessels went on to build an even more radical Chevy truck with Cal Wells, who later ran Indy Car and NASCAR teams. His son Kash, shown in the photo, is currently building a high-tech Class 1 car for off-road competition.