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Alan Soutter's '66 roadster, "Little Foot"

Alan Soutter's 'Little Foot'

Since we talked about Karl Bradley's Cherry '77 previously, I thought it only appropriate that we should find out about the rig that inspired Karl's buildup. Ironically, Alan bought the very rig that he inspired someone else to build. So here's how he got started with the rig called "Little Foot."

Alan had known since he saw his first Early Bronco in 1980 that they were the coolest offroad rig in the world, and fifteen years later decided to realize his dream and buy one for himself. and the EBML were not live in 1995, so he started looking locally. The first 3 rigs he checked out had major mechanical problems and were over priced. He got frustrated and started calling all the Bronco shops in the magazines. James Duff and and John Karp (the "K" in K-Bar-S) in particular spent hours with him on the phone talking about Bronco history, changes to the truck from year to year, and finally . . . lists of rigs in their area for sale by their customers!

He contacted all the owners, making notes, comparing prices and features, till he finally came down to a 66 owned by a guy named Hal Sealund that John Karp told him about. Hal used to be John's partner in K-Bar-S (the "S" in K-Bar-S is for Sealund) and he had a sweet rig for sale out in the California desert in a town called Borrego Springs. After hours of phone calls and a set of pictures by FedEx, Alan decided to fly out from North Carolina and see how she looked. Alan and Hal spent 2 days driving the rig through the desert on some killer trails, and the evening reliving stories about John and Hal's desert racing days.

Hal had a wealth of stories and had rubbed shoulders with many of the greats of desert racing. His garage had lots of cool stuff in it from the Ford Rough Riders racing team (posters signed by all the team members, a broken alloy wheel and a signed door skin from one of Robby Gordon's race trucks.)

This is where I got the story of the truck they called "Little Foot". The rig (an original 66 roadster) had been built by (the no longer in business) K-Bar-S following what would become recognized as their standard list of features:

  • 33" BFG-ATs
  • 3.5 inch lift with dual shocks all around
  • 77 front end
  • Power disc brake dana 44

    Stock PS

    • C4 tranny with Art Carr racing shifter
    • Duff's t-case shifter
    • Beard Racing seats
    • Bed mounted spare carrier
    • LeCarra steering wheel
    • Fiberglass hood and front fenders
    • Roadster mirrors
    • Bill Stroppe Enterprises 6 point roll cage
    • A 289 motor salvaged from a race-wrecked, Stroppe-prepared SCORE truck, and had:

    Shelby intake manifold 

    ported heads

    Holley 4 barrel carb

    high perf. fuel pump

    4 core radiator

    long tube headers with dual glasspacks exiting in front of the rear wheels

    The rig was different from any EB Alan had ever ridden in before and he decided on the flight back to buy it. After a few phone calls, a wire transfer, and paperwork, the truck was shipped back to Charlotte, NC in an open car carrier just 2 weeks later.

    After a year of wheeling local spots like Uwharrie National Forest, and discovering the weaknesses of open diffs, 3.50 gears and BFG-ATs, Alan began planning a few changes.

    To implement the changes, off went Littlefoot to a local race shop that would let Alan do some of the work himself. The truck stayed there for about 6 months while Alan came by every 2 weeks with beer and parts to work on the rig.

    Upgrades included:

    • Proto Fab 3.5 inch long travel suspension and bumpers
    • Wristed arm from Quinn Dusenbury
    • Dual Rancho 9000s all around
    • 2" body lift
    • 4.56 gears and Detroit TruTrac for the front
    • 36" TSL SX's
    • Extra Heavy Duty Currie 9-inch rear end with:
    31 spline axles
    4.56 gears
    Detroit locker
    Lincoln rear discs

    Then, the rig went to a bead blasting shop where many coats of desert exposed paint were removed with glass beads and Ditzler Durethane DP40 urethane primer was applied. The ProtoFab bumpers were sent to the powder coat shop.  The door inserts and fiberglass front fenders had all been smoothed together by a hotrod body man in Vegas, and it was hard to know where to stop with the blasting in some places to keep from damaging the fiberglass. They decided to leave some of the old body putty in place. After about 40 hours of amateur body work back at his house, Alan had a local spray-in bedliner guy shoot the inside of the tub, and took it to the paint shop expecting a compliment. The owner told him that it was "rough as a cob." It took one of his best body men all week to straighten out the tub and shoot it with 5 coats of Ditzler Durethane Aztec Indian Silver (medium flake) and apply the gloss black Durethane accent stripes. 

    Finally, almost a year after he started, Alan had the rig back in his garage with paint on it. He began the process of installing a Centech harness, replacing all the switches and electrical components, building a custom dash with 8 AutoMeter Phantom gauges (water-proofing everything), installing the Rancho remote shock control system (don't EVER buy this), building quick release seat brackets for the new Beard seats so he could hose out the cab after wheeling without soaking them, rebuilding the heater core, installing a full MSD setup (distributor, plug wires, 6 AL box, and coil) putting in new (unsynchronized) marine wiper motors, and generally obsessing over every stupid little thing.

    Finally, it was ready for it's inaugural run. Alan and Karl Bradley went to Uwharrie to try out the beast. 50 yards into the first trail, they came upon an erosion berm in their path. Alan looked at Karl, both just smiled, and Alan floored it.

    They hit the ramp at about 25 MPH and launched the pretty new rig 4 feet in the air for around 20 feet, landing on all 4 tires, smoothly with no bounce, and the cooler didn't even move in the back . . . COOL! (that was the exact moment that Karl decided to build the "yellow truck").

    Uwharrie was too easy now, so they were off to Tellico to REALLY test it. The rig did nicely, but the old Holley carb was puking and making the rig dump black smoke. Only getting 2 wheels on guardrail after all that work was pretty frustrating. At least the rig looked pretty :-)

    Back to the shop for a fuel injected 5.0 swap, and a set of O'Brien's 4.89:1 gears in the D-20. Alan drove the rig straight from the exhaust shop on the day of the first Tellico Roundup, only to have left out a spacer on the t-case gear install, causing it to pop out of low and keep him off the trails one hour into his first ride. Beaten by Tellico . . . AGAIN! The gears were fixed the next week Alan took care of his Tellico problem by spanking it hard a few months later at the Fall Crawl.

    Paragon made it obvious that 36's were just not gonna cut it for the kind of wheeling Alan wanted to do, so a Gersh Litts Roc-Box double t-case, a set of 38s, new springs, a full Detroit up front, bead locks, and a heim-jointed steering linkage made their debut on the rig at the 2001 spring roundup. This time, everything worked GREAT!

    The 2001 East Cost Bronco Fawl Crawl in Paragon further tested the setup and proved the merits of low gearing and beadlocks with 5 pounds of air as Alan (with the help of a couple of GREAT spotters) was the only rig to make it up the DeathSpike trail without breakage under his own power.

    Then went back the next day and spanked Bam-Bam, another seemingly impossible trail.

    As this story is posted, LittleFoot is back in the shop getting ready for the 4th Annual East Coast Bronco Roundup in Paragon, PA. On the list for changes this time are:

    • Dual Dana 60s (Ford front, Tera rear)
    • Multi-link suspension and coilovers (stretched 2" in front, 6" in the rear)
    • Fuel injected 351 Windsor
    • Hydraulic steering