Click for Coverage
Due to the EU’s Global Data Protection Regulation, our website is currently unavailable to visitors from most European countries. We apologize for this inconvenience and encourage you to visit for the latest on new cars, car reviews and news, concept cars and auto show coverage, awards and much more.MOTORTREND.COM
  • JP Magazine
  • Dirt Sports + Off-Road
  • 4-Wheel & Off-Road
  • Four Wheeler

January 2013 Inbox - Letters To The Editors

Posted in Features on January 1, 2013
Share this

Still Cool After All These Years
Concerning the yellow Cummins-powered Suburban in the October ’12 issue (“Super Suburban”), that’s a cool rig. Exactly as cool as it was when it was on the cover of 4-Wheel and Off-Road in the May ’05 issue, right down to still having the same tires on it. I read through the article to see if there would be any reference to the actual builder, Drew Barber, but I didn’t see it. At least they changed the stickers on it and took the 4-Wheel license plate off the roof rack. Looks like it’s still got the same shovel sticking up off the spare tire bracket, though. I just had to bust your chops a little on this one. It really is a cool, well thought out rig, and I’m sure it works great. To be fair, the article also doesn’t say that Mr. Hampton built it, just that he owns it. I just thought the builder might want a little credit, since apparently he built it well enough that the subsequent owners didn’t see fit to change anything (except the stickers).
Jason Slater
Via email

Less Them vs. Us
I thought it was interesting that you picked on the overlanding crowd (Firing Order, Oct. ’12) in the same issue in which you highlighted some of the very cool rigs of the this year’s Overland Expo (“Rigs of OVX ’12”), your nine bucket list domestic overland trips story (“Awesome Adventures”) and the review of a very trick Toyota HJ47 (“Frank”). As a subscriber to both Four Wheeler and to Overland Journal I enjoy both publications, but I get something distinctly different from each. I’m not planning to drive a Defender 110 through the Darian Gap, nor am I planning to install a small-block Chevy engine in a CJ-5 anytime soon. However, I read both because there’s almost always something useful and interesting in every issue of both magazines.

I don’t know if Four Wheeler subscribers wish they could take several months off of work to undertake a transcontinental Australian tour or if Overland Journal subscribers would just assume heat up a can of Beefaroni for dinner on their next weekend trip to their local off-roading venue. It sort of doesn’t matter. What matters (to me at least) is enjoying the outdoors with my vehicle with like-minded folks and doing it in a way that leaves me wanting to come back again and again to continue the adventure.

Perhaps a little less “them versus us” would go a long way to encourage everyone to get out there again real soon.
David Smith
Houston, Texas

The October ’12 Firing Order had me laughing so hard my stomach hurt. Kudos for so eloquently communicating your thoughts.

On the other side, it’s pretty cool to see the volume of people who are getting into four-wheeling/camping/overlanding/(insert marketing term here).

I will gladly clink my red Solo cup with a crystal brandy snifter anytime we agree that motorized off-road access to the great outdoors is of primary interest, and well worth protecting no matter what we call it.

Respect each other, respect the land, and share a great time outdoors.
Scott Heath
Via email

Internet-Style Argument
Well, you did it! This is the first time I have written a letter to a magazine. While I respect your right to your opinion, I really don’t agree with it at all. Who gave you the power to draw a line in time and say that is camping? You have decided that a sleeping bag and Jeep are OK, but not “hi-tech gadgetry.” Do you still chisel your magazine out of rock? Why a sleeping bag, why not leaves and feathers? Why a Jeep and not a covered wagon pulled by horses?

I really think your problem is that you are jealous. You can’t afford those things, so they are complex and unnecessary. You can afford a primitive Jeep, so that is OK.

Well, some of us worked hard and have done OK, and we can afford and enjoy nicer things. I camp in a 43-foot diesel motorhome, pulling a 6.1 Hemi four-door JK with 40-inch tires. And in case you think my Jeep is a mall crawler, I have been to Moab at least 15 times, six with this Jeep, and have done eight of the top 10 toughest trails in the four-wheel-drive book, including Pritchett Canyon which I have done three times, the last time without using a winch.

I have never called my camping trips expeditions, nor have I ever slept in a tent. I don’t look down on you for roughing it and I would like it if you do not give me a hard time about the way I camp. If you see me at the campground, come on over and I will get you a drink with ice out of my ice maker.
J. Zweedyk
Grand Rapids, MI

Safety First!
I recently subscribed to your magazine and so far have enjoyed it. In the October ’12 issue there is an article about budget camping titled “Hi-Tech or Redneck?” with images depicting people shooting objects out of the air with a .45 Ruger Vaquero. This has me more than a little concerned. As an avid gun owner and off-road enthusiast, I could not let this go. Shooting into the air with anything other than a shotgun is more than dangerous, it is irresponsible. The .45 Colt round has the potential of traveling up to two miles when shot into the air; can you guarantee there was no one in that two-mile distance from you? As a publication, you take on the responsibly of role model whether you want to or not. How many readers will see this article and decide that it is okay for them to do the same?

I love my second amendment rights—exercising them responsibly will ensure we can continue to enjoy them in the years to come.
Eric Mitchell
Via email

PTO Winch Fan
I liked the vintage advertisements in the latest issue (Trail’s End, Oct. ’12). I have a couple of PTO winches myself. My first ride was a ’68 half-cab Bronco. It sported a front mounted PTO winch that ran off the transfer case. It looks exactly like the one pictured on a Bronco in your article. With the trans in Third gear, it would spool up fast. It worked very well, but it wasn’t as simple to use as an electric winch. This was generally not a big deal, until one evening when I was precariously perched at the top of a rather nasty gulch. The only thing keeping me in that position was both feet on the non-power brake pedal. My new friends had no idea how to operate my winch. I was understandably flustered and therefore in no mood to give a crash course. I still have that awesome old Bronco, because every time I stopped for gas some old-timer would approach me and tell how he used to have one and wished he’d never gotten rid of it.

My current ride is a ’91 Dodge Ram with a Cummins, NV4500, NP205, locked Dana 60 frontend, and a Dana 70 rearend. It’s all iron, big, ugly, loud, brown, and beautiful. I was going for a rat rod look in a 4x4; I call it a Moose Rod. I stumbled on to a PTO winch setup on Craigslist and talked the guy out it for peanuts. I got it home and did a little Interneting. It turns out it’s a Ramsey 10,000-pound winch. With five forward speeds and reverse hooked to turbodiesel torque, it’s pretty awesome. The weak link is the cable. I’ve been tossing around the idea of getting a synthetic rope for safety.
Jesse Thomason
Via email

Do They Crush ’Em?
What happens to the one-off vehicles that the Mopar UnderGround brings to Moab, Utah, for the Easter Jeep Safari? Do the engineers keep them, sell them, or what? Every year they bring something new. After all these years they must be stacking up somewhere. Please don’t tell me they are crushed.
James Ramsey
Glendale, AZ

Since the Mopar UnderGround crew builds both Jeeps and Ram trucks for the event, we went straight to Nick Cappa at the Ram truck brand for the lowdown on this one. Here is what he had to say:

“We build a number of concept and image vehicles every year for different events. A lot of times these vehicles are used to test interest in a new design theme or feature Mopar performance parts and accessories. The vehicles spend their life on the road at auto shows and other events. Some find their way into museums or receive updates to become a different vehicle entirely.”
Nick Cappa
Ram Truck Media Relations
Chrysler Group LLC

Time-Warp CJ
In “We Are the Champions,” (Oct. ’12), you show a vehicle identified as a “1992 Jeep CJ-7.”

CJ-7s stopped being made in the U.S. around 1986, but yeah, it’s clearly a CJ-7, and you guys generally know what you’re talking about.

So how does a CJ-7 end up with a ’92 model year?
Rick Lippincott
Haverhill, MA

Since the owner, Geby Wager, pretty much custom built the CJ-7 from the ground up in 1992, he considers it a ’92 Jeep—despite having a CJ-7 body.

Bubba Or Blue Chip
John, let me begin by saying I generally like your writing and opinions on 4WD equipment. I have always thought that you’d be someone I’d like to wheel with. That said, your October ’12 editorial about camping (Firing Order) seems to have but two objectives—provoking controversy and name-calling. Why excoriate overlanders who enjoy the challenge of backcountry camping in style? Stylish and comfortable backcountry camping takes intellect, planning, and yes, money. I remind you that spending money is what your advertisers want your readers to do.

Most off-roaders begin as low-tech campers, but slowly becoming overlanders—they evolve. As overlanders, we are not as you say “missing out on what is so awesome about camping in the first place.” We simply don’t care to continually be dirty, sleep on the ground, or eat from dirty camp pots. My early off-road camping trips were just as you described in your editorial—but I’ve evolved. I had fun then, but I also have fun now. I was off the grid then, and I’m off the grid now. The difference is that now, for example, I can use my ham radio or personal locator beacon to call for help for others or myself. Why would I reject the use of these wonderful survival tools? Since I now walk upright and don’t chip at flint to make arrows and spears, my evolution has increased my camping enjoyment.
Bob Wohlers
Gridley, CA

Gun Advice Of The Month
After reading nerd or redneck (“Hi-Tech or Redneck?” Oct. ’12), I have just a small comment. If all you want to do is kill cans, you can do a lot better than that hogleg wannabe. Any good .22 will get the job done, and you can buy 100 rounds of .22 ammo for what you will pay to fill those six big holes. If you are worried about anything bigger, a Smith and Wesson 29 with a 4-inch barrel will take care of all your needs.

The one thing, well two things I did not see: a shovel or a porta-pot of any kind. I for one am not a fan of trail muffins.
Joe Santos
New Haven, CT

Although we may not agree with Mr. Santos that the .45 is too big for plinking cans, we can’t argue against his financial logic. So for that we’re sending him a DVD/Blu-ray video of The Bourne Legacy. The Bourne Legacy comes to Blu-ray/DVD this December.

Where To Write
Address your correspondence to Four Wheeler, 831 S. Douglas St., El Segundo, CA 90245 or send an email to All letters become the property of Four Wheeler, and we reserve the right to edit them for length, accuracy, and clarity. The editorial department can also be reached through the website at Due to the volume of mail, electronic and otherwise, we cannot respond to every reader, but we do read everything.

Connect With Us

Newsletter Sign Up

Subscribe to the Magazine

Browse Articles By Vehicle

See Results