Over the years, Grave Digger and Anderson have gone through many changes, but nothing as extreme as in the first few years of their existence. Different body sizes have come and gone, as have different wheelbases, different heights, and other tweaking. A few things have remained the same: Anderson's unyielding dedication to the sport, his tireless efforts to please the crowd- and a legend that will grow well into the next century and beyond.
The very first Grave Digger truck ran from 1980 - 1983. It was a 1951 Ford Pickup Mud Racer with larger tires. The truck was painted Red with primer and had "Grave Digger" written on the side in stenciled lettering.
This truck started out as a mud racer and gradually evolved into a monster truck. It was a 1951 Ford Panel and ran from 1983-1989. It was made with a steel body and was originally painted blue and silver. For the 1985 season, the paint job changed to green and looked "eerie".
Digger II, was always a monster race truck and ran from 1988 - 1993. It was a 1950 Chevy Panel with a steel body and the same green "eerie" paint job as Grave Digger #1.
Grave Digger III, flew into the racing circuit 2,600 pounds lighter, but with a bigger 557 cubic-inch big block Chevy engine (versus the Digger 432 cubic-inch engine). The truck ran from 1990 - 1998. This Grave Digger version had a fiberglass body, it too, was a 1950 Chevy Panel with a similar paint job.
Grave Digger #IV made it's debut in 1992. Gone was the all-steel body and heavy suspension. Instead, Anderson installed a completely new suspension system and a new, lightweight fiberglass body. It was a 1950 Chevy Panel race truck, and Dennis returned to a 432 cubic inch engine. But, Dennis was never pleased with the performance of IV and sold it in 1996.
Unlike Digger IV - Digger V weighed in heavier than it's predecessor, at 11,000 pounds, but was otherwise similiar in most engine specs. Digger V ran from 1993 - 1995, it too, is a 1950 Chevy Panel. Visiting fans can still check out Digger V up close inside Digger's Dungeon in Poplar Branch, North Carolina where the panel wagon sits proudly amongst tons of souvenirs and genuine, "Digger Debris" mounted throughout the Dungeon.
1990 - Present. Street legal truck, 1950 Chevy Panel. Anderson had an itch to bring Digger to the public. So he brought Digger to the streets - literally! Grave Digger VI is 6,500 pounds of pure street-legal power, including a modified turbo 400 transmission, 496 cubic-inch big-block engine, and 44-inch super swamper tires (and of course, fans can see those tombstones coming from blocks away)!
With the creation of Grave Digger VII came a new chassis color (green instead of black), as well as a return to the larger engine size of 540 cubic inches. This is the truck that Dennis usually races, he calls it his "Lucky #7". This version has been running from 1992 - Present. It was completely redone in 1999 for the 2000 season. In 1999 the lettering changed from stacked to straight across and the color purple was added to the artwork and it is known for it's short wheelbase. Flames were also added to the rooftop.
Grave Digger VIII was built shortly after #7 and is very similar looking to #7 but with new suspension and gas shocks. Formerly driven by Robert Parker and driven by Chuck Pauken in the 2000 season. Number VIII is a 1950 Chevy Panel truck that began running in 1994. In 2000 the paint job was modified to include purples and the straight across lettering.
Grave Digger #11 Was the second ride truck. It seated 13 passengers with a longer wheel base than #9.
Dennis says Digger XII is the best built yet - Digger XII is fully two feet longer and five inches wider than it's predecessors. Purple (lots of purple) now complements the dominant "Digger green" paint scheme, most notably in the detailed graveyard and eerie backdrop. Mechanically, Digger is harder to ignore than ever, with lighter and stronger axles, a staggering 1,500 horsepower engine, and a transmission setup that enables the Grave Digger crew to change the transmission in a mere 20 minutes. Digger XII was driven by Norm Miller in 2000.