It's a funny thing about the magazine business-no matter what you try to do to entertain and enlighten your readers, you're going to bore, bother, annoy, and rub some other readers the wrong way. In our case, one of the reasons we sort of scaled back the mega-builds you mentioned was due to reader complaints that these projects were beyond the skills (and the finances) of the average guy to execute-not "real-world" buildups, in other words. In response, we've emphasized "accessible" daily-driver projects instead of the more radical stuff over the last couple of years; the 'Con Artist JK, Trailhugger H3, and current 4Runner Backcountry are all examples of these.
And yeah, we can see how a basic "how-to" tech article like the one you mentioned can be a little dull for the experienced home wrench. On the other hand, we always try to include something in the magazine each month that might appeal to the new reader who's picking up the magazine for the very first time. Hey, we were all there once.
For the record, we do include towing and payload ratings in our empirical scores, which account for 25 percent of total points in the competition. In addition, one of those diesels was nearly as fast at the dragstrip as the Raptor was, trailing by only .18 second in the quarter-mile. Finally, most of our off-road testing is slower-speed stuff-mountain trail riding, rockcrawling, hill climbs and the like-so the Raptor didn't win our Pickup of the Year award simply based on its go-fast characteristics because, frankly, we don't spend a whole lot of our test time driving fast.
Send us some photos when you finish building T-Rex 2.0, and by all means be sure to enter it for TTC voting whenever you think it's ready to run. For your thoughtful suggestions, we're mailing you a box of FW goodies-sporting the new logo, of course. And if Gary in Alaska writes us back with his mailing address, we'll send him some swag too.
Out of curiosity, readers, what do you think about Matt's request? Should we start up some new mega-builds, or keep our project tech more bolt-on and daily-drivable?
When a Super Wagoneer Isn't
Just got to reading your Mar. '11 issue. I wish to draw your attention to "Jeep: The First 70 Years" on page 46, in which you list (on this page and others) various models of Jeeps including the SJ family-in particular, the "Super Wagoneer."
What the . . . !?@*@?!?!???
Was that Super Wagoneer (of which I'm rebuilding my '66, that happens to be the oldest known) the only example you could publish? And where did you get your information-from the owner?
While I may applaud Mr. Marski for saving Buddy Hackett's Super Wagoneer, I am aghast at how inaccurately, if not garishly, it is adorned. If I may: The wheels are wrong; the grille is from a '72; Super Wagoneers did not have leather, nor "full power" nor special paint. The red stripe along the sides covering the OEM aluminum panels-my first thought was that this was a clone.
The interior is nice, save for the modern radio and speakers in the doors. But every part in there, I can get on eBay. (And I have, to rebuild mine.)
Why couldn't you find a photo from the Net? Or better yet, ask for info at IFSJA.org?
Please forgive the tone of this comment, but I have owned my Super Wagoneer for 20 years, and if ever you need info on '63-'73 SJ-platform Jeeps, give me a ring.
Looks like we're both right, to a degree. According to the reference materials we have, Saginaw power steering and power brakes were indeed a part of the Super Wagoneer package (and were an available option on other Wagoneers of that vintage), though you're correct about the seats-they were vinyl, not leather-and, as we mentioned in the article, the Jeep had in fact been "slightly customized" before its present owner took possession of it. We never stated that every Jeep pictured in this series was an unmolested bone-stock model or a full-on resto, and glancing around the article, we noticed a few other vehicles sporting, for instance, newer aftermarket wheels and tires. Not too surprising, considering the age of some of these rigs.
Blind & Backwards at TTC
Hey, I'm movin' up in the world! My first letter to the editor appeared in the issue I received today (Mar. '11). Woo-hoo!
Seriously, though-two ideas for the "surprise challenge" at your Top Truck Champions' Challenge: First, a blindfolded obstacle course, with the co-driver telling directions to the driver.
Second: Years ago, I attended a Jeep event where a Wrangler was set up to steer backwards from the steering input. It was quite difficult to drive through a simple cone obstacle course, and I imagine it would be a great event.
Got any new-logo Four Wheeler bumper stickers yet? Put me on the list as soon as they come in. I have been a fan ever since the '70s when a Darien Gap expedition was undertaken.
Our legal department would love you. The park rangers at Hollister, too. We'll take your suggestions under close consideration, and while we're mulling them over, some FW stickers are on their way to your door.