We’re huge fans of off-road racing so when we heard that legendary racer, Frank “Scoop” Vessels’ Baja winning 1972 Ford F-100 was going up for auction later this week at Auctions America's California sale, we knew we had to give you the full scoop (No pun intended) on this vintage Class 8 race truck.
Frank “Scoop” Vessels was one of the greatest off-road racers in history who battled the deserts of Baja for almost three decades. Frank debuted in 1972 as SCORE Rookie of the Year and went on to capture 30 major victories as well as four points championships throughout his off-road racing career. SCORE (Southern California Off-Road Enterprises) named Vessels “Offroadsman of the Year” in 1978.
You’re probably wondering how Frank Vessels got the nickname “Scoop”. His nickname was given to him and earned by cleaning horse stalls as a kid. He was born into the founding family of Southern California’s Los Alamitos Race Course. Later on in life, his corporate connections helped attract sponsorships and international media attention to off-road racing. He also helped launch the NASCAR Truck Series and served as president of the American Quarter Horse Association and California Thoroughbred Breeders Association. Frank "Scoop" Vessels was inducted into the Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2007 but tragically lost his life in a plane crash just outside of Burns, Oregon on August 11, 2010.
The truck started out life as a 1972 Ford F-100 and was built by Charlie Haga in 1976 to compete in the deserts of Baja. BFGoodrich decided to partner up with Frank “Scoop” Vessels to use his Class 8 race truck to test their first generation off-road radial tire. Prior to this, off-road tires were agricultural-based bias-ply tire designs which were not ideal for high-speed durability or control. Frank “Scoop” Vessels raced through the desert in his Class 8 1972 Ford F-100 and proved that radial tires were the wave of the future after winning the 1977 Baja 500 and Baja 1000 on the new BFGoodrich Radial All-Terrain T/A tires.
The famed 1972 Ford F-100 race truck became the first truck to win an off-road race on radial tires but that wasn’t the only new ground it broke. It also ran on propane to help the F-100’s 404 CID Ford V-8 breathe easier at higher elevations due in part to propane’s consistent density. The truck was converted to an Impco LPG fueling system by Don Bass. This solved the fuel-starvation issues inherent in normal carburetors when off-road vehicles encounter uneven terrain and altitude changes as they navigated the rough deserts and rocky terrain high up in the mountains.
Backing up all that power behind the Ford 404 CID V-8 is an Art Carr race-prepped Ford C-6 automatic that sends power to the a Jack Chrisman built Ford 9-Inch rear end to get the truck moving in a hurry.
A set of three Rough Country shocks at all four corners help smooth out the whoops while a set of Rough Country kicker shocks help keep axle wrap at bay under hard throttle situations. A set of F-250 spindles with knock-off hubs allow the vintage Class 8 race truck to survive the brutal punishment that comes from high speed jaunts through the deserts of Baja.
A set of custom disc brakes help bring the truck to a halt while a set of American Racing wheels wrapped in BFGoodrich Radial All Terrain T/A tires allow it to get through unforgiving terrain, even at blazingly high speeds.
The famed truck will be going up for auction on Friday, August 1, 2014 with all the proceeds from the truck’s sale benefiting the Off-Road Motorsports hall of Fame in Reno, Nevada. The vintage off-road race truck is expected to bring in anywhere between $75,000 up to $100,000. Bids for this truck can be made in person when the truck goes across the block at Auctions America’s California sale at the Los Angeles Marriott Burbank Airport Hotel or online at: http://www.auctionsamerica.com/buying/index.cfm
In case you’re wondering whether this old race truck can scoot through the dirt, check out video of Frank tearing through the 1976 Baja 500 race course in it!