The All-Pro 4Runner Jamboree at Johnson Valley, California, is a great weekend of Toyota rockcrawling, but this year it seemed that there was more tube than Toyota.
We have been watching a Toyota building trend over that last few years where guys have figured out that the slightly longer (than Jeep) wheelbase of Toyota mini-trucks and 4Runners makes for great rockcrawlers. The interesting thing is that after a few years of serious rockrash, these same hombres start chopping into the bodies of their 'Yota-crawlers and replacing sheetmetal with tubing. This year's All-Pro event at Johnson Valley was where they came to show off their creations. We saw some nice truck/buggies, some odd jobs, and even a few rigs that still resembled Toyota vehicles.
All in all we had a blast, crawling trails, listening to busting Birfields, and watching body panels get deformed and destroyed. It's no wonder we saw so much body armor, exo-cages, and full-tube buggies based on Toyota frames and drivetrains, but we wonder if next year's event will be called the Twisted Tube Jamboree.
Weekend RunnerSince we were dreading the long, slow drive to the desert in our own rusted-out Toyota pickup, we called up Toyota and begged to "testdrive" one of the '03 Toyota 4Runners for the weekend. We got to cruise in style to Johnson Valley for the weekend in this mini/ute with the I-force V-8. We really like this truck, and had a hard time refraining from taking it on the serious rock trails (don't worry, Boss, we didn't). Our quick review for the Toyota corporate guys goes like this:
Engine is awesome. Fastest thing we've driven this year. Let's see it in the Tacoma.
Fuel economy is a little rough, especially with $2.25 gas prices, but worth the V-8 power.
Seats are sized well for little guys like us, but not as comfy as we had hoped. However, with the rear seats folded down, there is plenty of room for sleeping during windy desert nights.
The hoodscoop is cool. We really dig how it looks, and think it made us go faster.Everyone we gave a ride to seemed to want one, so hopefully that will help your sales.
Sorry about the mud, Toyota. We, uh, didn't see that puddle.
Verdict: Convince our boss to give us a raise and we'll come buy one.