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January 1998 25 Years Ago

Posted in Features on January 1, 1998
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The January 1973 Four Wheeler served up a potpourri of tech, tests, and travel-and, at times, a bit of all three, as one particular article showed.

The streets of Reno were bustling as we headed for the unveiling of the "all-new'' Quadra-Trac Wagoneer. While readers were treated to handsome photos of our hotel, for some reason we didn't bother showing any pictures of the Jeeps.

"Jeepin' In Style'' told of the travels of a gang of automotive writers-including PV4 correspondent Granville King-to witness the unveiling of the "all new'' Quadra-Trac Jeep Wagoneer. Their destination: Reno, Nevada, to meet with Jeep executives and take the Wagoneers trail riding through the mountains to Virginia City. After a hectic night at the Ponderosa Hotel-where our unidentified reporter spent the evening "accompanied by Granville King'' at the gaming tables-we met up with the other journalists and began the test. Our test group was "quite impressed'' with the 360-powered Jeeps' four-wheeling capabilities: Along the route, there was "never the slightest variation from full control.'' "The new Wagoneers have been given the royal treatment,'' we concluded.

Elsewhere, we evaluated the new line of IH 4x4s, focusing on the new Scout II. Our test 'Binder, armed with a 345, three-speed automatic, Saginaw power steering, and a Dana 44 rear with Powr-Lok (a whopping $60 option at the time), struck us as a "most versatile 4x4.'' We liked its "true'' handling, "numerous'' powertrain options, and "luxurious'' interior; the chrome tow hooks ($9.95) in particular came in for praise.

We also took a look at an early 4x4 van conversion, the legendary "Pathfinder.'' An E250 Econoline was treated to a 302 V-8, Dana axles (the fronts being custom-made), Spicer 20 'case (the Bronco version, we assume), custom steering, and fabricated radius arms and front coils. The finished product , we thought, was an "eye-catcher'' that "gave a sedan-like ride, yet could claw its way up a formidably steep hill like a mountain goat.''

The Pathfinder van conversion treated an E250 to a 302, Dana 20, Dana axles and a host of other goodies. A 75-gallon fuel capacity was an option, as was "quilted satin'' and "deep-pile interior'' upholstery.

In other articles, we visited the Michigan Sand-O-Rama sand drags, covered the '72 Pismo Sand Nationals, and paid a visit to the SNORE 250 off-road race in Jean, Nevada. The 4x4 utility vehicle class was won by (who else?) Bronco pilots Rod Hall and Jim Fricker. for their efforts, Rod and Jim "walked (or drove) home with $1,280, which isn't a bad payoff in the 4x4 class.''

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