Buick Rendezvous Conquers Inca TrailAlong with about 50 other four-wheel-drive vehicles, a 2002 Buick Rendezvous participated in one of the world's most aggressive and scenic driving events - the 15,000-mile, 55-day, Inca Trail 4x4 Adventure Drive. The event left Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on October 6, 2001 and returned on November 29, 2001. After the start from Copacabana Fort near Rio's Sugar Loaf Mountain, the Rendezvous and other 4x4s traveled into the Andes Mountains of Bolivia to the world's highest capitol, La Paz. From there, the vehicles ferried across Lake Titicaca and on to the lost Incan city of Machu Picchu, which was hidden until 1912. From Lima, Peru, they wound into the mountains of Chile and across the Straits of Magellan to the island of Tierra del Fuego at the southern tip of South America. On the return trip, the vehicles traveled up the eastern coast to Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Uraguay before arriving back in Rio. Those participants who successfully completed the route were awarded gold or silver medals.
Driving the new Buick was Patrick Brooks, a veteran of cross-country drives, who has participated in other events such as the 1997 Peking to Paris Motor Challenge and the 2000 Around the World in 80 Days Motor Challenge. Patrick and his wife, Mary, completed both events in their '49 Buick Super "Woody" Wagon. Kevin Clemens, a freelance writer and participant of the 80 Days event in a '59 Mercedes-Benz 220 S Sedan, joined Patrick for the Inca Trail event.
The Buick Rendezvous is an innovative combination of many of the best features of SUVs and premium sedans, offering seating for seven, an optional Versatrak on-demand all-wheel-drive system, and a 3.4L V-6 that generates 185 hp at 5,200 rpm and 210 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm. By participating in the Inca Trail event, the Rendezvous will show that it is equally prepared for the daily drive to the office as well as a trip across the country.
Tread Lightly! Building Bridges
As part of its "Restoration for Recreation" program, which is aimed at rehabilitating highly impacted recreational lands, Tread Lightly! successfully completed its second Building Bridges project, the Legacy Bridge, located in Wasatch County, Utah. The bridge, measuring 125 feet long and 12 feet wide, connects the towns of Heber City and Midway and links a newly built trail system that runs alongside Highway 113. In addition to shielding the Provo River ecosystem from erosion and other damage, the covered wooden structure provides a safe crossing for local residents and visitors who hike or bike. The Building Bridges project targets backcountry roads and trails that need bridges to maintain the integrity of the water habitat in adjacent rivers and streams. Support for the Legacy Bridge project came from official sponsor Mitsubishi Motor Sales of America Incorporated, the U.S. Forest Service, the Utah Department of Transportation, and other local partners in the Wasatch County area. Executive director of Tread Lightly!, Lori Davis, stated, "We are truly inspired by the level of cooperation we have received from our partners in making Legacy Bridge become a reality. This collaboration has enabled us to successfully complete one more step toward our mission of restoring recreational lands for the benefit of the public and the environment." As a Tread Lightly! Partner for seven years, Mitsubishi Motors is in its second year as the official sponsor of Building Bridges, an initiative that was launched last year with the construction of two bridges benefiting the Arapahoe National Forest in Grand County, Colorado. For more information about Tread Lightly! and its Restoration for Recreation program, check out www.treadlightly.com.
Historic Jeeps on Display
The Sun Never Sets on the Mighty Jeep." That's the slogan that pitched Jeep vehicles in the 1940s. Since then, a number of slogans have beset the Jeep, including the current "Jeep: There's Only One." This progression of slogans is just one of the things you'll find at the Walter P. Chrysler Museum in Auburn Hills, Michigan, among the "The Mighty Jeep: A Legend Turns 60" exhibit, commemorating six decades of unrivaled Jeep 4x4 leadership, innovation, and success. On display, you'll discover 26 historic Jeep vehicles, Jeep toys and novelties from around the world, and display boards with Jeep advertisements, cartoons, and famous Jeep owners. Books about Jeeps will also be shown, including the 1944 children's story, The Little Jeep by Peggy Griffin Ayers and Jerry the Jeep by Edith Thacher Hurd. The collection of vehicles is diverse, with classics such as a '49 Jeep All-Steel Station Wagon, an industry first when it was introduced in 1946. A '69 J-Series Gladiator pickup, a '77 Wagoneer, an '84 Cherokee, and the '91 Concept 1, the predecessor to the Grand Cherokee, will all be on display as vehicle models that helped shape Jeep history. The exhibit also celebrates Jeep being the only U.S. brand that has been producing four-wheel-drive vehicles for 60 years.
The Walter P. Chrysler Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m. For more information about the five-month display, which began on October 1, 2001, check the Web for www.chryslerheritage.com or call (888) 456-1924.
GM Japan and Suzuki Team to Build "Cruze"
The new Chevrolet Cruze is the latest in auto industry collaborative efforts, this time between General Motors Japan Limited (GM Japan) and Suzuki Motor Corporation (Suzuki). The Cruze will be marketed under the Chevrolet nameplate, though many of its features are results of Suzuki's expertise in the development of compact cars for consumers in Asia. Being manufactured at Suzuki's Kosai Plant, the Cruze will be offered in 1.5L and 1.3L four-cylinder models, 2WD and 4WD models, and in different trim options. Using 15-inch wheels and a MacPherson strut front suspension, the Cruze offers 195 mm of ground clearance. Other features include dual airbags, four-wheel ABS with brake assist, a four-speed automatic transmission, and an active torque control-type four-wheel-drive system. The four-wheel-drive system uses a newly developed electronically controlled coupling system called EMCD (Electro Magnetic Control Device), which receives signals from the ABS control unit and helps ensure stability in a wide range of driving conditions. Both the 1.5L and 1.3L engines offer high performance while reducing Hydro Carbon (HC) and Nitrogen Oxides (NO) exhaust emissions by about 50 percent compared with 2000 levels. In addition to the all-aluminum engines, about half of the plastic parts used in the car are made of recyclable polypropylene making good use of recyclable materials. First production will number about 20,000 units, though no word whether the Cruze will hit the States anytime soon.
Actually, It's from Man-A-Fre . . .
Since we're not perfect and never really professed to be in the first place, we do sometimes make mistakes. Soon after the Dec. '01 issue hit the newsstands, we got a call from an irritated representative from Man-A-Fre that didn't get credit where credit was due. In the "Blue '82" Land Cruiser feature beginning on page 92, we incorrectly identified the grilleguard as being a custom unit from T&J's. The fact of the matter is that Man-A-Fre makes that grilleguard and started making them more than 10 years ago. Many apologies to any of you who have been trying to unsuccessfully track down the grilleguard to install on your own FJ40. You can find the grilleguard at Man-A-Fre via its Web site at www.manafre.com or by contacting the company at Man-A-Fre, Dept. 4WDSU, 1775 N. Surveyor Ave., Simi Valley, CA 93063, (805) 578-8712. Ask for a copy of the catalog, too, because it's an excellent source of information for any Land Cruiser owner.