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March 2012 4Word - Editorial

Posted in Features on January 3, 2012 Comment (0)
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March 2012 4Word - Editorial

I have always liked muscle cars. I even tried to turn my very first vehicle, a trusty 1961 Chevy pickup, into a muscle car by swapping in a Chevrolet 348 tri-power V-8 (it didn't work. It was still an old truck). This year's SEMA Show had plenty of Chevrolet Camaros and Malibus, Ford Mustangs, Dodge Chargers and Challengers, Plymouth 'Cudas and Road Runners to see and drool over. The cars ranged from perfectly restored models to rat rods (is a muscle car old enough to be a rat rod?) with modern drivetrains.

Jeep JK Wranglers were the off-road vehicles du jour again this year and there were some interesting new products for them. Rugged Ridge has new bumpers that work and look great. They also introduced a new snorkel system as well as a power-folding top for Wrangler Unlimiteds.The Bruiser Cummins 4BT diesel engine swap kit for JK Wranglers (and TJs, YJs, CJs, etc.) looks very nice. Burnsville Off-Road has figured out the 2012 JKs and showed off beautiful 6.4L Hemi swaps in two ‘12 JK Unlimiteds, one with the Mopar Independence pickup kit installed. The Burnsville JKs also featured a full complement of superb Nemesis aluminum parts. AEV introduced its new crew cab Brute JK pickup that will be available mid 2012. AEV also had their ProCal programmer for 2012 JKs on display. If you own a '12 and plan to modify it, a ProCal needs to be in your future.

Evolution, not revolution, was the order of the day for suspensions. Squeaky joints are gone at Full Traction. They now use Clevite bushings as well as high-quality Heim joints on all control arms. Full Traction also introduced their new CRC link for the JK. Teraflex showed off the new Mopar short arm Prerunner suspension system, available through Mopar retailers. Teraflex also showed a new, cast aluminum JK tire carrier we'll see more of at Easter Jeep Safari. Skyjacker introduced their new products in the UTV field. Fox has expanded their aluminum body shock line. They're now available in many suspension systems as an option.

Currie Enterprises has a new Dana 70 RockJock as well as a beefy JK Dana 44. Their new billet Johnny Joints are beautiful. Tera introduced a strong Dana 44 replacement for the JK Rubicon 44.

Daystar had their new Cam Can can carrier on display. The Cam Can mounts inside any spare wheel from 15-inch-and-bigger. Bestop has frame-mounted steps that allow easy vehicle access and fold up for clearance. Weld Racing is back with their line of high quality forged wheels. Greg Mulkey at Allied Raceline Wheels showed us their new aluminum 17x8 Monster Beadlock wheel that can have backspacing from 4 to 5 inches. Warn told us about the addition of synthetic winch line to a number of their winch models.

We're going to be featuring some of the SEMA vehicles, too. Mel Wade's capable JK Unlimited will be in our future, as well as Expedition One's brand new Rat Patrol JK Wrangler that was in the Hutchinson Wheel booth. The diesel Bruiser is on its way here for a shoot, as is GenRight's JK Unlimited loaded with their beautiful aluminum and suspension products. While GenRight didn't have a booth at SEMA, their JK Unlimited was outside. Their new JK gas tank mounted in the rear frees up space under the Jeep, so they are able to use their superb double triangulated long arm suspension system.

There are always new and interesting products at SEMA worth seeing. This year was no exception.

One last thing — we want to see your project, whether it's finished or not. Please send a short description with your name and town, as well as a higher-resolution digital photo to kevin.blumer@sorc.com. Low-res photos won't do. If you don't have a high-resolution camera, have a friend shoot your vehicle for you.

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