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July 2005 4x4 News - Drivelines

Passenger Side View
Drew Hardin
| Contributor
Posted July 1, 2005

Whatcha Gonna Do?

Are you ready for the Bad Boy? Homeland Defense Vehicles LLC of Newton, Texas, says its luxury conversion of the military's Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles (FMTV) A1 truck "falls into a new category of supertruck," and we'd have to agree. Based on either the 2.5- or 5-ton FMTV, the Bad Boy is powered by a 7.2L Caterpillar 3126 diesel that makes 275 hp and 817 lb-ft of torque. Backing the Cat is an Allison seven-speed automatic transmission and a full-time AWD drivetrain that offers a 30/70 torque split front to rear on the pavement and a 50/50 split for the dirt. The BB rides on ArvinMeritor axles with 6.14:1 gears, and the 395/85R20 Michelin all-terrain tires help achieve its 22 inches of ground clearance. Central tire inflation is also included.

How big is the Bad Boy? Just 253 inches overall (on a 153.5-inch wheelbase) and 96 inches wide. A Hummer H1, by comparison, is 184.5 inches long overall on a 130-inch wheelbase and is 86.5 inches wide (exclusive of side mirrors).

To that basic military platform Homeland Defense Vehicles adds upscale items like leather seats; an audio system that'll play CDs, MP3s and DVDs; XM satellite radio; GPS; a 2,400-watt power inverter; and a sat phone. For any extra-Homeland adventures, the Bad Boy can be equipped with night-vision goggles, grille-mounted infrared illumination, and protection against nuclear, biological, and chemical attack.

Gotta have one? Check out Homeland Defense Vehicles at

Special Rubicon Trips From Jeep Jamboree USALast summer's Mark A. Smith Rubicon Trail Adventures were such a success that Jeep Jamboree USA has added two of those trips to its 2005 calendar, as well as two all-new Rubicon programs. The RTA, which we covered in our Jan. '05 issue, allows you to drive one of JJUSA's prepped Rubicons (including a handful of Unlimited versions) along the famous Sierra Nevada trail, led by Mark Smith's hand-picked staff of trail guides. Meals, camping gear, and Smith's generous hospitality are included; you just have to get yourself to Reno and back. This year's RTAs take place July 15-17 and August 26-28. Spaces are limited and sell out quickly, so don't wait to call.

New this year are the Advanced Off-Road Training Programs and the Women's Only Lake Tahoe Adventure. The training programs (July 19-21 and Aug. 19-21) include two days of coached driving on the Rubicon Trail, plus a day of hands-on exercises that cover winching, strapping, driving techniques, and backcountry vehicle repair. This is the same kind of training Smith and company offer to military and law-enforcement agencies, and the student-to-instructor ratio is a low 3:1. The Women's Only trip is just that-four days in South Lake Tahoe of four-wheeling, kayaking, hiking, outdoors and survival training seminars, for females only, September 9-11.

For more information on these and JJUSA's other trail rides, call 530.333.4777, e-mail, or visit

Rancho Increases SponsorshipsRancho, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, is expanding its presence in the competitive rockcrawling arena. Rancho is the "Official Suspension Brand" of both the World Extreme Rock Crawling Championship (W.E. Rock USA), operated by CalROCS, and the Extreme Rock Racing Association (XRRA). Rancho will also campaign three rock buggies at more than 20 W.E. Rock USA and XRRA events and will bring its product demonstration rig to nearly 40 off-roading events this year.

GM Styling Awards At Sema Spring ExpoFor more than a decade, General Motors has handed out a series of Creative Styling & Trim Awards at SEMA's Spring Expo (formerly the Truck & Auto Accessories Expo) in Indianapolis. The program is intended to "showcase and recognize restyler ingenuity, creativity, and craftsmanship as applied to vehicles designed for 'real-world' application-as opposed to one-off concept vehicles-through the creative use of 'off-the-shelf' accessory components and packages," according to GM.

Jhan Dolphin, vice president of RealWheels in Gurnee, Illinois, is seen here holding GM's Best of Show award for his company's "Track Time" '05 Hummer SUT. Built as a tribute to racetrack support crews all over the country, the Hummer has been accessorized with more than 500 LED lights, emergency strobes and sirens, 20 video monitors, custom paint, and a Pro Charger supercharger. "Yes, it's a bit over the top," Dolphin admitted.

New Rocky Mountain Jeep ModelsAfter the Bad Boy, this is almost anticlimactic, though probably a bit more real-world for most of us. Jeep has announced new Rocky Mountain special editions of the Grand Cherokee, Liberty, and Wrangler. Each vehicle has a distinctive paint scheme and interior accents and is also equipped with what Jeep calls "popular options." The Wrangler, for example, is an X model upfitted with a Dana 44 axle, 15-inch Ravine aluminum wheels, and 30x9.5 Goodyear Wrangler tires. The Laredo-based Grand goes high end (naturally) with heated leather seats, a power sunroof, and a premium Boston Acoustic sound system complete with a one-year subscription to Sirius satellite radio.

Gullwing NissanWe have no idea what the name is supposed to mean, but the Zaroot is Nissan's latest SUV concept. Unveiled at the Geneva Auto Show, the Zaroot represents "Nissan's vision of how sporty SUVs could look in the future," says the company. Those gullwing doors are pretty cool, but we'd guess that their weight (they'd have to be sturdy enough to meet side-impact standards) would preclude them from production. Still, maybe some aftermarket company will step up and do an Xterra version.

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