Concept Truck Trickery:Fox Racing's Sterling Silverado
Although Chevrolet's Silverado is a few years old, the latest GM truck platform is still an appealing canvas for customizers and concept truck builders. Case in point: Fox Racing's tastefully modified '01 Silverado. Fox, best known for its high-performance shocks and suspension dampers for trucks and its extensive line of shocks and riding apparel for motocross enthusiasts, took a Crew Cab Silverado and modified it with such trick stuff as a notched tailgate, which allows two fullsize dirt bikes to fit inside the bed with the 'gate closed; dual integrated loading ramps; a 5,000-watt on-board generator; a custom roll pan; one-off alloy wheels with bead locks; a quick-fill fuel cap; and special silver paint. To let the General know what you think of the Fox Racing Concept Truck, log on to the GM Web site at www.chevrolet.com/silverado/foxracing.
The Legal Files:DaimlerChrysler Files Suit to Block Jeep-Style Grille Used on the New GM Hummer
In a suit filed in the U.S. District Court in Toledo, Ohio, DaimlerChrysler is asking the court to block the use of a Jeep-like grille on the General's new '02 Hummer H2 SUV. DaimlerChrysler filed the suit against General Motors for allegedly appropriating the design of the trademarked Jeep grille, which Daimler Chrysler contends is one of the world's most recognizable automobile styling features.
DaimlerChrysler spokespersons stated that an independent analysis conducted by a respected market research firm concluded that the new Hummer H2 grille design is likely to mislead potential buyers. When shown photos of the H2, nearly two-thirds of all Jeep Cherokee and Jeep Grand Cherokee owners who took part in the survey incorrectly associated the H2 with a Jeep vehicle; more than 50 percent of the other SUV owners who took part in the study reached the same conclusion. When asked why they identified the Hummer H2 as a Jeep, most respondents referred to the distinctive Jeep grille design.
DaimlerChrysler is asking the court to force General Motors to recall all H2s distributed with the Jeep-style grille; account for the profit derived from the use of the Jeep-type grille; and award DaimlerChrysler damages for trademark infringement and related violations.
Told You So: GM Goes With Four-Wheel Steering For 2002
As reported in the Nov. 2000 issue of this venerable magazine, the General has confirmed that a four-wheel steering system will be an option on its '02 fullsize trucks. Quadrasteer is a true fly-by-wire or electronically controlled steering system that is based on four main components: an electronic front-wheel position sensor; a solid rear axle equipped with steering knuckles and stub axles/spindles; an electric motor-driven steering actuator; and a master control unit.
In function, Quadrasteer's multiple sensors measure a truck's road speed and the steering angle of the front wheels, then an electronic control unit (ECU) determines the proper amount of steering angle for the rear wheels. Quadrasteer operates in three basic modes: negative, neutral, and positive. At low speeds, the Delphi Automotive Systems-designed Quadrasteer steers the rear wheels in the opposite direction of the front wheels - negative mode - to enhance low-speed maneuverability. At moderate speeds, the rear wheels are set to the straight-ahead, or neutral, position. At higher speeds, the rear wheels are phased in a positive mode, which causes the rear wheels to steer in the same direction as the front wheels, thus enhancing at-speed stability via a reduction in a truck's yaw, also known as lateral rotational motion or sway.
The General had previously released data on Quadrasteer's effect on a truck's turning radius: A fullsize, extended-cab truck's turning radius was reduced from 46.2 feet to 37.4 feet with the four-wheel steering system; when installed on a fullsize SUV, Quadrasteer reduced the turning radius from 45 feet to 33.9 feet. For comparison, a Honda Civic's turning radius is 32.8 feet. It's exciting to ponder Quadrasteer's on-dirt potential: Tight trails would become passable for fullsize haulers, and the rearend would actually steer around obstacles, ruts, and rocks situated at a corner's apex, thus making for improved traction and a better-handling 4x4 in overall terms.
The Dana Corporation has been tagged by the General to build the rear Quadrasteer axles, which will be the first time a production truck has used four-wheel steering.
Las Vegas Hosts Major Off-Road Show
Add one more event to your 2001 calendar: American Mega Shows' Las Vegas Sand and Off-Road Show, which takes place in you-know-where on the weekend of June 16 and 17. The Vegas location was chosen because of its status as the entertainment mecca, it's accessibility to five western states, and its indoor show facilities.
The show will be taking over the Las Vegas Cashman Center. At press time, the show was slated to feature more than 300 exhibitors and manufacturers of aftermarket off-road accessories. Show hours are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days, and admission is just $8. Important show note: Beer will be on sale throughout the weekend; and a live band will be featured to provide additional entertainment while you're viewing the latest off-road equipment, 4x4 show trucks, ATVs, sand buggies, and plenty more.
For more information, contact: American Mega Shows, (626) 961-3782, or visit the Web site at www.megashow.com.