Most Annoying 4x4s
Which 4x4 do you think is the most annoying in 4x4 history? Come on over to Four Wheeler’s Facebook page and tell us which and why. These are our which and why:
Brubaker: Chevy Trailblazer: Every time I see one I’m reminded that the nameplate began life as an upscale trim package on the awesome S-10 Blazer. I can understand GM wanting to pirate cool stuff from the successful and impressive S-10, but c’mon, they stuck the nameplate on a vehicle that is longer, wider, and taller than an S-10, and in my opinion not as good off-road. Heck, ya couldn’t even get a ZR2-style package on the Trailblazer. Lift kits are limited, too. And what’s up with that ginormous muffler clearly visible on the back end?
Cappa: Hummer H2: When it first came out, all the wanna-be ballers that couldn’t afford a Hummer H1 bought in to the hype and thought they had themselves an unusually capable 4x4 for a third of the price. What they really got was a shoebox rebodied GM Tahoe that would puke its front diff and tie-rods on any slightly difficult hillclimb. The pinnacle of stupidity was when you could find online H2 forums claiming the H2 was more capable than a Jeep Wrangler Rubicon. Good riddance.
Holman: S-10 Blazer: The S-10 Blazer, introduced in 1983, was a K5 wannabe in a smaller package and without the removable roof (although rust would remove some of it over time). Like the pickups they were based on, the first generation S-10 Blazers were so bad, they came from the factory with one of two 4WD actuation systems that were already broken and a level of quality pioneered by overseas sweatshops. The IFS front suspension rode more like a solid axle without shocks and the “upgraded” 2.8L V-6 engine could lose a drag race against molasses. Going up hill. While getting worse fuel economy. But, if mileage was your gig, they also offered an anemic 1.9L Isuzu diesel that reminded you why the first three letters in diesel are “DIE”. When was the last time you saw one on the trail? Enough said.
What’s Happening In The Industry
Car builder and way-more-than-just-a-footnote-in-automotive-history, Carroll Shelby, has passed away at age 89.
Mickey Thompson has added new sizes to its Baja MTZ Radial mud-tire lineup.
Hot Rod magazine (hey, that’s our sister we’re talking about!) has just been upgraded to Defcon 2—in the good way. The brand is relaunching, including an all-new magazine and an all-new www.hotrod.com, plus there’s now a Hot Rod Then & Now app for iPad. “Hot Rod TV on Speed” and “Hot Rod Live Radio” will continue as spin-offs of the magazine. Check it all out. We did and dug it.
Hi Mopar! Welcome to the same age as Grandpappy, 75.
The Edelbrock Performance Academy at Ohio Technical College has opened. It’s about learning to tune hi-po stuff. A+.
eBay Motors says that 173,000-and-counting parts and accessories sell each week through its mobile apps.
Jeeps and Jeep
There’s a new limited-edition Wrangler Unlimited, Grand Cherokee, Compass, and Patriot, and its name should be familiar if you read last month’s RPM, in which we mentioned names under consideration for a blacked-out Grand concept. Anyway, the Facebook has spoken, and the winning name is: Altitude. A blacked-out theme about covers it for the latter three. The Wrangler Unlimited, however, also has a body-colored hardtop and 18-inch rims with black spokes. There’s more stuff for the extra bucks for this model, but…eh. You got the gist.
Now, those models you can get. However, the Mighty FC Concept is a Mopar-inspired/Forward Control hybrid of a lengthened ’12 Wrangler Rubicon with the cabin moved ahead of the front axle. That’s a roof from the Mopar JK-8 conversion kit and custom front clip. Spot the portal axles? They’re newly available from Mopar. The Mighty FC is not.
Your Government At Work
Were you wondering what happens to mine-resistant vehicles after they’ve done their tour of duty? Great question, reader. According to www.cnn.com, about 20,000 MRAP types will be coming back from Afghanistan and Kuwait, with the Army thinking it will repair and update them, then lock them in storage for TBD future usage. Some people are peeved, as these cost a bloody fortune and might now collect bloody dust.
“There is actually a regulatory doughnut hole.” That’s NHTSA Administrator David Strickland, according to Automotive News, regarding the fact that, oops, no one is sure which government agency is allowed to set laws regarding distracted driving and mobile phone use.
Road-rage bill in New Jersey—Jessica’s Law has passed, ensuring road-rage prosecution is a third-degree crime.
The Hawaii state legislature has approved July 13, 2012 as Collector Car Appreciation Day, which the SEMA Action Network helped designate as a national day commemorating auto restoration and collection. So, you either just missed the celebration or need to hurry up and buy party favors, depending on when you are reading this. Check www.semasan.com for events near you.
This rideable 135hp propane-fueled (forklift engine) hexapod robot is named Stompy. It’s hydraulically powered and weighs 2,500 pounds. The distance between the centers of its two middle legs is 17 feet. It’s the byproduct of Robotics Intensive: Rideable Hexapod, a 4-month course in which students design, manufacture, and program a rideable hexapod robot. Stompy is the third Artisan’s Asylum (a nonprofit community craft studio in Massachusetts) “house robot.” The purpose of the course and robot is for students to learn they are designed and built. And, obviously, how to be cooler than you.