No Crossovers In FW For Him, Thanks
Reader: In the June '08 issue, you asked for opinions on whether Four Wheeler should include crossover vehicles. My opinion would be not to. I own one (a Ford Escape), but Four Wheeler isn't where I go to find out about them. Don't spread yourselves too thin trying to cover everything a little, and end up not covering anything as well. And don't waste space in the magazine covering things that aren't in your core. Along those same lines, I'd suggest not including Volkswagens, Porsches, and Lexuses (Lexi?). Granted they can be good off-roaders. But (in my opinion) they are so unlikely to be used that way by anyone, let alone by your readers, that they aren't worth the magazine space either. Keep focusing on real-world trail rigs, extreme trail rigs (we can all dream, right?), and real-world tow rigs. That's what I expect to see in your magazine, and that's why I subscribe.
Editor: Oh dear, you're really not going to like our Patriot vs. Outback speed-bump comparo next month. Just kidding.
Thanks for the suggestion about crossovers. As far as the "unreal" production rigs go, well, we still think that new Lexi or VWs are worth a look every few years, if for no other reason than to check out the latest advancements in suspension and driveline technology that they offer. And besides, we're just happy to see manufacturers equipping their vehicles with a two-speed transfer case! Rest assured, though, there are no plans in the offing to build a Cayenne or a Touareg to conquer the Rubicon. On the other hand, if Mercedes wants to lend us a G-Wagen, hmmm...
No Clocks, Just Good Tech & Travel
Reader: I have had a subscription to your magazine for a year and I really love the articles and tech information you put into this publication each month. I have a '65 Jeep J-300 ton pickup that I have for a project vehicle. The tech articles have given me some great insight on what works and what does not. In April this year you sent me a great offer where I could get three years of your great magazine for $26. I jumped right on it.
Editor: I am thinking, "This is cool-three more years of some great articles and pictures of Jeeps and other four-wheeled vehicles in action." Then the next month I get another offer from another mag named Petersen's for $15. I can have a two-year subscription and a great wall clock (hmmm, no wall clock on the first offer). So I went down to the store to check out the competition. I found Petersen's, but I could not find any competition. So I know that the first choice was the best one.
Thanks for the great job on the mag.
Salt Lake City, UT
And Now For Something Completely...
Reader: I was wondering if you could offer me some advice. I have a '02 Toyota Solara convertible that I have done a lot of work on. When I got the car, I put in all-new leather and redid the canvas top. But now I'm looking to do something really interesting to the car. I want to lift the car up and put some off-road wheels on it, a pushbar on the front, and step bars on the side. I know this is a very odd request; I've made plenty of calls and sent tons of e-mails all over the U.S. and I've been met multiple times with the response "get a truck." But I want to have something completely different. Any recommendations on if something like this is possible and where it could be done? It seems to be very difficult since it is front-wheel drive, but I found a business out in Minnesota (that specializes in lifting Cadillacs), and they think they could do it by sending them my struts and modifying them with a 3-inch lift. Could something like that work?
St. Petersburg, FL
Editor: Ay yay yay. Sure, we imagine it could-repeat, could-work, but honestly, if you really want a lifted 4x4 Solara without having to spend a lot of time troubleshooting issues related to suspension, steering, and driveline geometry (and that's only for starters), we'd advise you find a complete running assembly (complete with wiring harness) from a donor Tacoma or 4Runner, and graft the Solara body and interior on top of it. And no, we have no idea how difficult this would be. Our guess would be, plenty.
We did, however, find a Camry Solara enthusiast site on the Internet (www.solaraguy.com) that seems to be frequently trafficked by hundreds of your fellow Solara owners. Perhaps there's somebody there who has already tried this, or might know who you need to contact. But frankly, we're stumped to come up with an easy answer that doesn't involve a lot of custom fabrication.