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FROM THE ARCHIVES // Stupid Editor Tricks

Posted in Features on December 1, 2008
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Yes, it's a tough question to answer----after 46 years of wheeling the world, and writing about it every step of the way, for thousands and thousand of pages, there have got to be moments that we reflect on and say, "What in the world were we thinking back then?" We could likely build an entire Website around the subject of Editors Behaving Badly, but thought we'd share a few choice moments from our archives with you. Want some chuckles? Read on.

"Crated Jeeps"

April 1984: A Mystery for the Ages, Solved at Last

Mythical stories of "low-buck crated Jeeps" have been the stuff of legend in our profession, and most of the time, they've proven to be just stories. But in the April '84 issue, we actually discovered some running Jeeps, with complete chassis and bodywork, in a crate, for less than a thousand bucks apiece. Naturally, we had to test-drive them, and we came away convinced that these particular Jeeps "undoubtedly create the most smiles per gallon, excitement per dollar, and fun per pound" of any Jeep we'd ever driven.

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"Getting Drunk"

April 1984: Making Ourselves Sick to Prove the Obvious

Disclaimer: Don't try this at home, or anywhere else, for that matter. Okay, now that we've settled that, the April '84 issue also contained another stupid editor trick: "Four Wheeler Gets Drunk," in which staff members sotted themselves with rounds of beer, huffed into breathalyzers, then took turns driving a Chevy Blazer on a closed slalom course to prove an obvious point. Of course, public awareness of the dangers of drunk driving wasn't as keen back then as it is today, so we suppose you could say we were performing a public service. But for some twisted reason, we're guessing that wasn't our only motivation at the time.

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"R/C Racers"

April 1988: The Rage of the Late '80s

We've tested all sorts of rigs in our day, but usually, we're sitting behind the steering wheel, not flipping a toggle switch from 50 feet away. But in April '88, we proved we obviously had too much spare time on our hands with a four-way comparo test of NiCad-powered off-roaders. And yes, as the photos show, we actually took these R/C racers to the dragstrip, fitted them up with a custom fifth-wheel assembly, and ran them through the quarter-mile. The winner? The race-tested Marui Ninja 4x4, which flew through the trap in a neck-snapping 1.01:49.

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May 1988: Bobby Flay Didn't Get Started This Way

Year before Food TV was ever dreamed of, we were offering culinary tips of our own to readers. For the May '88 issue, we rounded up a bunch of cheapy 12-volt appliances (most of which barely worked), bought some grub at the supermarket, and headed out to a local park with a pair of Nissan Pathfinders to prove what lousy camp chefs we were. Readers who ignored the staged "What's Wrong With This Picture?" photo got some pretty cool insights from the late Granville King on making the most of their rigs' 12-volt power. And nowadays, we call out for pizza instead.

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March 1991: The Ultimate Argument for Gun Control

Some people simply shouldn't be let near a loaded weapon. That wasn't the point we intended to prove (if there ever was one) when we donned camo and goggles, and spent a day wheeling at a Riverside County paintball park. Ostensibly intended as a Wrangler-Samurai comparo test, the outing soon devolved into a paint-spattered melee as our gang of editors tried to outdo themselves competing for top honors at the Plaxico Burress School of Marksmanship---and not long afterward, we decided we'd be better off sticking to writing about new 4x4s instead of shooting at them. This might've been the dopiest trail test we've ever conducted, but it was a heckuva lot of fun.

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