Reader: I am looking to purchase the September '06 issue with the article regarding the long-term Duramax and the dealer issues you had. I own an '06 Ford F-350 4x4 with the 6.0L Power Stroke, and my local dealer is a hard-ass when it comes to any type of warranty issues.
Editor: Back issues can be obtained by logging onto www.primediabackissues.com or by writing to Primedia Back issues, 2900 Amber Lane, Corona, CA 92882. Cost is $9 per magazine. Be sure to specify the month and year of the issue you want.
Reader: I'm an aspiring writer and I would love to write for a four-wheel-drive publication. How do I get something read by an editor as a possible magazine article? I also do a lot of photography for local skaters and BMX'ers, and I am very experienced with action shots. I love taking pictures of rigs mashing it up on the trail, and I would love to be a professional photographer. Is there any advice you could give a college student with dreams of being a four-wheel-drive photographer/writer? Mad props.
Editor: It's pretty simple, actually. Drop us a line with a story idea or two that you'd like to submit. If you've got a written sample of your work, and some sample photographs, by all means send them along too. They don't necessarily have to be samples of four-wheeling action, but it wouldn't hurt your case. We're always on the lookout for talented freelance contributors, so if you're really good, chances are we'll have some work for you down the road. Send queries and/or submissions to Editor, Four Wheeler, 6420 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90048, or e-mail to email@example.com.
Reader: After reading your response to the letter about the Jeep Compass (Feb. '06), I had to write. What a cop-out! How much did Chrysler pay you to run the Compass story? Who cares if it is a Jeep? You are a bunch of hypocrites. You say that you will not run stories about non-low-range vehicles-then what about the raving about the stupid Honda Ridgeline? (I don't believe it has low-range, either.) But I guess that Honda paid to have it featured too. If you will not give equal space to other non-low-range vehicles, then don't run them at all. Even if the ugly Compass has a CVT transmission, does it have low-range? No.
When the CVT transmission ever does make it into a regular Jeep, then talk about it. I have been reading Four Wheeler since I was a teenager. (I remember the buildup of the UPS-brown Blazer.) As for Jeep being the "flagship brand" of four-wheeling, as you say, that is a total joke. The true flagship Jeep died when Damnler-Chrysler (spelled wrong intentionally) purchased AMC. At least you are one of the only ones that still feature articles about trail rides.
Editor: Yeah, yeah, yeah, and they ruined the Jeep brand when they built the Liberty, or when they gave the Wrangler round springs, or square headlamps, or French gearboxes-hey, we've heard it all in our day.
Here's the deal: We've never said that we won't ever testdrive vehicles lacking a low-range gear, and when a vehicle that we think is of singular interest hits the market-such as Jeep's first-ever all-wheel drive, or Honda's first attempt at a pickup truck-we're gonna take one for a spin and see what it can do on the trail. The manufacturers usually claim an unspecified degree of "off-roadability" for these vehicles, so we accept their invitations for testdrives, and see if their new models live up to the hype. Generally speaking, they don't, but every now and then, we find ourselves pleasantly surprised by how capable some of these so-called "crossovers" can be on the trail. The Ridgeline is one example, and the new Land Rover LR2 (which we'll discuss in a future issue) is another. Like the old saying goes, don't knock 'em 'til you've tried 'em.
However, we don't invite any vehicles to participate in our annual Four Wheeler or Pickup Truck of the Year tests unless they have an honest-to-goodness transfer case and a low-range gear-so rest assured, you'll see no Compass in next year's FWOTY test. Believe it or not, it wasn't always that way-if you're a longtime reader, you may recall the presence of Audis, Subarus, and AMC Eagles in some of our early FWOTY tests-but we've adhered to the two-speed standard for 20 years now, and we have no plans to change it anytime soon.
And for the record, we have never been paid by Jeep, or Honda, or any manufacturer, to publish a trail test of any vehicle.