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Readers Rigs, Rear View - Limited Articulation

Posted in Features on January 1, 2006
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We get letters. Lots of them, every month. Sometimes they're suggestions for trail tests, vehicle projects, or homegrown shop tips. And once in a blue moon, we may even get a letter correcting us for some egregious error that accidentally found its way into the magazine. (Hate it when that happens!) But far and away, the greatest number of submissions we receive each month are the photos you send us of your very own trucks, on the street and on the trail, and we try to spotlight a few of them each month in our popular Readers' Rigs column.

Recently, a lot of you have written in wanting to know why we haven't been publishing many of them lately. Well, we've been stockpiling them in preparation for a big special section, which we're happy to kick off this month on page 60.

It's not hard to see why Readers' Rigs are so popular. Whether it's the thrill of seeing your own four-by-or your buddy's-in the pages of Four Wheeler, or you're just interested in seeing the kinds of setups your fellow 'wheelers all over the country are running, there's scarcely a better way to come up with buildup ideas for your own 4x4 than to see how other guys have built theirs. It also gives us a chance to showcase a lot of trucks that might not otherwise make it into the magazine in the course of a year. They might be militaries, restos, trailer queens, rare rigs, one-of-a-kind customs, or plain ol' stockers. But the way we see it, if it's got four-wheel drive, it belongs in Four Wheeler.

Speaking of stockers, January also marks the return of our annual Pickup Truck of the Year test. We had a small field this year-only three all-new pickups for 2006-but it didn't stop us from testing them over some pretty challenging trails, and each of them has characteristics that are worthy of note. The Dodge Ram TRX4 has a great new coilover suspension (adios, torsion bars) that delivers terrific ride and handling, while opening up scores of new upgrade possibilities via the aftermarket. The Mitsubishi Raider comes with a great set of tires, and an incab entertainment system that might be the best ever offered in a pickup truck. And the Isuzu i-350, while somewhat less luxurious, has the wheelbase and locking rear diff you need to make a great out-of-the-box trail machine. Who won this year? You can see the results starting on page 36.

Finally, some of you may have noticed something a little different this month-specifically, the Rear View column that isn't in the magazine this time around. We've done this, frankly, because we haven't been getting very many of them from you lately. (Hint, hint.) Instead, we'll be looking to pick a "Stuck of the Month" in every issue, which we'll feature in our Letters column. We've got one this month that just might qualify for the Worst Stuck of All Time Award-at least, to our way of thinking. (Take a look for yourself and see if you don't agree!) Either way, keep sending in your Worst Stucks-perhaps with a brief description of how you got that way, and how you got out-and we'll publish as many as we can as the opportunities arise. If we get enough, perhaps you'll see them in another special section, later in the year.
-Douglas McColloch

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