Jeep Adds Models
Need more proof that the Jeep brand is keeping Chrysler afloat? While other vehicles are being left by the wayside (talking to you, PT Cruiser and Viper), Jeep is actually gaining three models. After 20 years out of the public eye, the Islander is returning in limited-edition form on the Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited and will be based on the Sport model. It will come in a special Surf Blue Pearlcoat, although you can pick from three other colors. A Tiki Bob decal has been slapped onto the hood with true latitude and longitude coordinates to somewhere islandish, and there are also black sidesteps and Moab 17-inch rims with 32-inch rubber. Inside there's more Tiki Bob as well as blue stitching on the steering wheel and Mopar rubber floor mats.
The Wrangler Mountain comes from the Wrangler Sport S package and can be had on the Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited. Again, it's decal city, and again, it's latitude and longitude on the hood. In short, the Mountain theme translates to painted, glossy Mineral Gray 17-inch Moab wheels with 32-inch tires, appliqués on the grille and bumper, tube steps, a Mopar fuel-filler door, and black taillight guards. The interior has bits of Mountain as well.
Another blast from the (recent) past is the Renegade. It's returning as a Liberty. A new Salsa Red shade is available (as are other familiar hues), plus it will have Mineral Gray Keystone 16-inch wheels; dark fender flares, fasciae, and body side moldings; and other add-ons. A leather-wrapped wheel, fancy cloth seats, and driftwood accent bezels are among the interior offerings. Selec-Trac II is standard on the Renegade, which will fall between the Sport and Limited in the Liberty lineup.
The Renegade and Islander will be available momentarily; the Mountain will hit dealerships in the second quarter of the year.
This Just In
•Our Project Army Truck, an '86 Chevy, was stolen January 7 from a parking lot in Sun Valley, California. Suspects were caught on videotape arriving in a white '01-era Suburban or Tahoe and towing the truck away. If you have any information as to the whereabouts of the truck or components from it, please write email@example.com or call and leave a message at 310.531.9064.
•Have a spare $1 billion? That's what Bloomberg is reporting GM will likely spend to update the ancient-by-industry-standards Chevy and GMC fullsize pickups. In addition to interior and exterior design changes, improvements will be made in safety, such as crash protection. The redesign had previously been put on hold due to a little thing called bankruptcy.
•Chrysler's new ad campaign? "Coming home." Why? You had to ask that, didn't you? Chrysler said it's because research showed "consumers do not realize that Chrysler Group has emerged from bankruptcy and is now a different company with a new alliance partner and a healthy product plan."
•Three blinks-the '11 Ford Super Duty will have the technology that can shut off the turn signal after three blinks.
•Infiniti's all-new '11 QX56 fullsize SUV is likely to arrive this summer and even more likely to have Patrol running gear. Could the next Pathfinder go that route as well?
•The Ford Transit Connect was named North American Truck of the Year. "What is that?" sounds about right. But ask Ford's CEO Alan Mulally and he'll tell you the Transit is a "chick magnet." Disturbing, squared.
F-Series Win Streak Continues
Cut and paste last year's news-and the year before to infinity-because Ford's F-Series was the bestselling truck in 2009, as it has been for 33 years in a row. Ford sold 413,625 trucks, SUVs, vans, and other vehicles. December proved to be the best sales month for the F-Series since March 2008.
Steven Bisig (stevenbisig.com)
Teen Rockcrawling Champ
You're most likely familiar with the name Shannon Campbell. But the name Wayland Campbell? Not so much. Shannon's a competitive rockcrawler, and the apple hasn't fallen far from the tree-or is it that the rock didn't fall far from the obstacle? Son Wayland is a competitor with the Campbell Enterprises/Monster Energy team, sponsored by ARB. His first event was December's W.E. Rock Put Up or Shut Up Shootout in Arizona, where he placed Third-three points from nabbing Second Place. Did we mention that he's 14 years old?
•The California Desert Protection Act of 2010, legislation brought to you by Senator Dianne Feinstein, would, among other "good news," establish a national monument to be managed by the BLM, protecting 941,000 acres of federal land between Joshua Tree National Park and the Mojave Preserve along Route 66 in San Bernardino County, as well as maintain existing recreation uses-and that includes vehicles on existing trails and open roads.
•Toyota's new website Trail Tracker (trailtracker.com) allows four-wheelers to let others know all about their favorite trails. Users can add GPS info, photos, comments, difficulty, and more, and it's searchable by state.
•BlueRibbon Coalition, a protector of land use, has redesigned its website. Check out sharetrails.org.
•The California State Parks Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Divison has given a grant to Tread Lightly! in order to provide Tread Trainer courses to recreationalists, land managers, and instructors in the Golden State. Those who take the course are then able to spread the message of responsible recreation to clubs, government employees, the community, and others. A key focus will be guidelines for minimizing recreational impact on the environment.
VW Wins Dakar Rally (Again)
In a repeat of last year, Volkswagen won the 2010 Dakar rally in South America with a Touareg. Actually, it was a one-two-three podium finish for TDI Touaregs. VW remains the only manufacturer to win the "car" category with a diesel engine.
Hummer racer Robby Gordon didn't fare as well. Despite winning an early stage (and, during another, having to bump eventual winner Carlos Sainz to let him pass), he finished Eighth in class, six hours behind Sainz, plagued during the rally by problems with his tire inflation system. He plans to compete again though, and "do whatever it takes" to win Dakar.
The Dakar Rally's South American course included the Atacama Desert and Nihuil in Argentina and Chile. There were 184 bikes/quads, 138 cars, and 50 trucks (the truck class included the Czech Tatra) competing in the race, which covered more than 5,000 miles in 14 days. Despite that distance, the winning VW beat teammates Nasser Al-Attiyah and Timo Gottschalk by just 2 minutes 12 seconds.
You can now get a remote-controlled scale model of the Ford F-150 SVT Raptor. The Ford-licensed toy is apparently selling like gangbusters, to the tune of 10,000 at last count. Check it out at fordmarket.com.
More Titans, for now
Remember that big plan from early 2008 for Chrysler and Nissan to swap wives or jobs or spit or something? Sure you do: Chrysler was going to provide Nissan with a fullsize pickup beginning in 2011. Cut to August 2009, when they decided to break up with each other. Nissan is now "pretty much going it alone," as spokesman Scott Vazin told USA Today. Alone means a lot of Ben & Jerry's and also a new truck in development. The Titan will stay in production until that one arrives.
•Mar. 27-Apr. 4: Easter Jeep Safari, Moab, UT, by the Red Rock 4-Wheelers. Information: www.rr4w.com
•Mar. 29-Apr. 2: Easter Safari for First Timers, Moab, UT, by Badlands Off-Road Adventures. Information: 310.374.8047, www.4x4training.com
•Apr. 3: California Series Mojave 250, Barstow, CA, by Mojave Desert Racing. Information: www.mdrracing.com
•Apr. 3-4: Schuss Mountain Snow Challenge, Bellaire, MI, by Griztek Auto Appearance & Offroad. Information: www.griztekusa.com
•Apr. 10- 11: Beginning Off-Road 4x4 Skills Clinic, Gorman, CA, by Badlands Off-Road Adventures. Information: 310.374.8047, www.4x4training.com
•Apr. 12-13: Getting Started Off-Road 4x4 Skills Clinic Gorman, CA, by Badlands Off-Road Adventures. Information: 310.374.8047, www.4x4training.com
•Apr. 16-18: 6th Annual OHV Enthusiasts Workshops, Mole Lake, WI, by WOHVA. Information: 715.490.5463, www.wohva.com
•Apr. 16-18: Spring Run, Superlift ORV Park, Hot Springs, AR, by Midsouth Jeep Club. Information: 501.625.3600, www.orvpark.com
•Apr. 16-18: Mojave Road Adventure, Needles to Barstow, CA, by Badlands Off-Road Adventures. Information: 310.374.8047, www.4x4training.com
•Apr. 17-18: Beginning 4x4 Training, Big Bear Lake area, CA, by Offroad Teach & Tour Adventures. Information: www.discoveroffroading.com
•Apr. 22-24: Tennessee Mountains Jeep Jamboree, Oak Ridge, TN, by Jeep Jamboree USA. Information: 530.333.4777, www.jeepjamboreeusa.com
•Apr. 22- 24: Cajun Jeep Jamboree, St. Francisville, LA, by Jeep Jamboree USA. Information: 530.333.4777, www.jeepjamboreeusa.com
•Apr. 23-25: Bilek Racing Silver State 300, Mesquite, NV, by Best in the Desert Racing Association. Information: 702.457.5775, www.bitd.com
•Apr. 23-25: 2nd Annual Michigan Only Extreme Truck Challenge, Copemish, MI, by Twisted Trails Off Road Park. Information: 231.651.9548, www.twistedtrailsoffroadpark.com
•Apr. 24: Superstition Series King of the Desert 250, Plaster City, CA, by Mojave Desert Racing. Information: www.mdrracing.com
•Apr. 29-May 1: Arch Canyon Jeep Jamboree, San Juan County, UT, by Jeep Jamboree USA. Information: 530.333.4777, www.jeepjamboreeusa.com
•Apr. 29-May 1: Land Between the Lakes Jeep Jamboree, Marshall County, KY, by Jeep Jamboree USA. Information: 530.333.4777, www.jeepjamboreeusa.com
•Apr. 30-May 1: Spring Fling, Superlift ORV Park, Hot Springs, AR, by Superlift ORV Park. Information: 501.625.3600, www.orvpark.com
•Note: If you have a 4WD event you want us to publicize, please send the date, location, a description of the event, and contact info-phone numbers and/or email/website address-to Calendar, 4-Wheel & Off-Road magazine, 831 S. Douglas St., El Segundo, CA 90245; fax 310.531.9368; email firstname.lastname@example.org. Please submit your info at least four months in advance of the event due to our press lead times.
There's a new exhibit at the Walter P. Chrysler Museum in Auburn Hills, Michigan, called What Can You Hemi? On display are a few oddballs that fall under the umbrella of, "Yeah, that thing's got a Hemi." A snow-blower, a merry-go-round, a grill, and an ice resurfacer are operational (really) items invented by the finalists of a Chrysler-sponsored contest from 2005. The fifth in the group is described as the evolution of the Chrysler Air Raid Siren, which originally acted as an ear-bleeder for enemy attack during wartime but became Trenton, Michigan's primary tornado civil defense device from 1958 through the 1970s. The Hemi exhibition runs through May 2.
If you're into four-seater side-by-sides, you might dig this new Polaris Ranger RZR 4, which came out of a partnership between Robby Gordon and Polaris. The graphics replicate the ones on Robby's TORC truck from the race in Crandon, Wisconsin, and there's also a Robby Gordon Off-Road logo on the front side panels. Other features include Maxxis Big Horn tires, Black Bruiser wheels, and an 800cc high-output twin EFI engine. It weighs 1,255 pounds.
Ram and Jeep Phone Numbers
Dedicated toll-free customer-service digits are now available for Ram and Jeep vehicles (as well as Chrysler and Dodge) so that there are "distinct points of contact" for customers. The numbers are meant to help you nail down specific info you may need about your Ram or Jeep, and also to resolve any issues. The numbers are 866.RAM.INFO (866.726.4636) and 877.IAM.JEEP (877.426.5337).
F-150 to Get Mustang V-6?
The all-new '11 Ford Mustang has this hi-po all-aluminum 3.7L V-6 that's worth 305 hp and 30 mpg highway. Could it soon end up in its big bro, the F-150? There are rumors and chatter.
Attention, DIY Welders
Miller Electric has created the DIY eNewsletter, which is chock-full of how-tos, videos, special offers, news, and articles all about welding and how to improve your welding skills. Go to millerwelds.com/newsletters to sign up for a free subscription, which will arrive round every six weeks right in your inbox.