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November 2011 In Box - Letters To The Editor

Posted in Features on November 1, 2011
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’38 or .38 Special?
Referencing your question in In Box [July ’11] on whether the ’38 Special featured in Dec. ’10 should be written with an apostrophe or a decimal point: You are asking whether it is .38 Special or ’38 special because the rig is based on a 1938 body and the play-on-words .38 Smith & Wesson Special revolver (predominantly) cartridge. The .38 S&W Special is actually.36-caliber. The bullet is 0.357 inch in diameter. The reason for this is that the original .38 Colt had a .38-caliber bullet with a casing of the same basic diameter and a heel-based bullet, much like the .22 Rimfire cartridge most everyone is familiar with. When S&W brought out the Special they used an “internal” design where the projectile (bullet) was actually contained inside of the casing. All modern cartridges are of this design. This necessitated the use of a smaller-diameter bullet. They knew if they called the new creation a “.36 Smith & Wesson Special” it would turn many shooters off since it wasn’t “a .38” and couldn’t be as powerful. So much for marketing circa 1899! Anyway, it should be ’38 special.
Jeff Hutchins
Rangemaster, Gunworks
Lebanon, OR

You are correct, Jeff, and yours was the most succinct of all the answers we received. One area you missed was the Southern rock band .38 Special, but we figure it’s all inclusive by the time anyone reads the story.

The Cost of Doing Business
You have been a Jeep guy since … Let’s just say a while. I have always envied you and your commitment to the brand. I have even thought about acquiring one and doing what you do, until today. I sat down, flipping through the channels, and caught an episode of Barrett-Jackson Automobile Auctions and watched a ’51 Willys with a .50-caliber machine gun sell for $95,000. My God, I guess I will add that car to my list of cars that I will never be able to afford. Keep your pile or maybe think about selling them at auction; you may be missing something. I will see you some day in my ’75 Chevy Blazer with a ragtop. I own that. Have a great day.
Christopher Udowenko
Norwood, PA

Never in my wildest dreams did I think a jeep could go for that kind of cash, unless inflation or insanity has been ruling. Guess I’m right! I’ll stick with my $500 DED (Dirt Every Day) Jeeps, thank you very much.

$ign of the Times
$10,000 for a “frugal” DIY V-8 engine conversion for a Jeep Wrangler [June ’11]? A comprehensive article on a Ramjet Chevy 350 engine with a MEFI 4 induction, and you do not even have the courtesy to state the price for all of this mechanical fussiness? You guys have to be living on another planet (or at least in Southern California). In this economy, almost everyone I know struggles to come up with $50 to perform a decent backyard tune-up on their rig. In 1997, when I performed a small-block Chevy V-8 engine conversion on my ’76 Jeep CJ-7, I spent a grand total of $1,200, including the price of the rebuilt engine (self-performed)! Yes, that included used swap meet parts, cheapie Hedman headers, Cherry Bomb mufflers, and lots of self-fabricated modifications. But when it was finished, it looked like the factory put it there, and I did it all myself. The very first thing you should do when you feature a product is mention the price because that is first and foremost on the minds of your readers. For a minute, I thought I was reading Hot Rod magazine.
Keith Volk
Fort Collins, CO

$1,200 for a V-8 conversion? Well, sure, 15 years ago like you mentioned. Heck, I used to walk to school in the snow uphill both ways. But the fact of the matter is that a dollar isn’t the same anymore, and while we would like to give prices on everything, prices change so rapidly (like the price of gas) that we would often be off. Rest assured that we intend to revive our Cheap Truck Challenge soon. It’s something every one of our readers can participate in.

Yellow K-10 Revival
Hey guys. Sorry to bother you, but I was wondering what happened to the Ultimate Revival K-10. I’ve been following the build ever since the issue where you mentioned you would be reviving the K-10 and have been eagerly reading the issues afterward to stay updated. But in this latest issue (Sept. ’11), the K-10 wasn’t in there. I want to have (and build) a similar-era truck (’73-’87), and since the age at which you can drive in Kansas is 15, that dream can come true sooner. The K-10 is giving me a lot of ideas on what to do with my truck when I get it. Just wondering what happened. (I’m also a Chevy guy, which should explain a lot.) If you couldn’t get the story in on time, I understand, just curious.
Thomas Kyle
Via email

You’ll also notice we don’t have an installment in this issue either. However, next month we will. It has more to do with shop time and parts availability than anything else. Keep watching, and hopefully this year we will fire up the K-10 and go wheelin’!

More Good Eyes, Almost
First allow me to say I enjoy reading your magazine. The articles, writing, and photography are topnotch. I won’t beg for CUCV articles; I know they’re dinosaurs. While reading the Aug ’11 story “Sunnyland” I noticed a very capable-looking red Toyota Land Cruiser climbing an obstacle. Am I seeing things or is the female passenger taking a pull from an alcoholic beverage? It looks as though she pulled down her dust mask to take a swig from what appears to be a Corona or possibly an MGD. A clear glass beer-bottle-shaped container anyway. Not exactly the best kind of photo to promote the sport.
Michael N. Schnitzius
Canyon Country, CA

Yes, she is drinking, but has a medical condition that requires she drink apple juice. This brand, Jaritos, comes in a clear plastic bottle. Sorry for the confusion. Since we could barely see it, we sure didn’t think anyone else could.

Our Apologies
What are y’all trying to do to me, force me into a divorce? First you have an article on radio-controlled trucks ( “Dirt Devils,” Apr. ’11), so I have to go out and buy one. The wife didn’t care for that too much. Now I look in the August issue and you have an article on how to buy a deuce and a half (“The Original 21⁄2-Ton Jeep”). Now I’m combing different sites on the Internet (eBay, Craigslist) and checking the local papers looking to drop some more of my wife’s cash on one. (By the way, you don’t have a line on a good cheap one, do you?) Pretty soon I’ll have to live in the shop with my endless other projects. Next she will be looking at canceling my subscription to stop y’all from corrupting me. Keep up the good work and great articles!
Brandon Burnette
Locust, NC

Yeah, we know the feeling. But at least we have wives with hard-earned cash for us to spend on 4x4s. I doubt they’d want us spending it at a bar or on other women!

Good Prescription
Hey, I can’t read your #@$% small print! Starting at the age of 10, I have worked on 4x4s like Jeeps and Dodge Power Wagons. That is all we had in those days to help us with the snow in Maine. I am 77 now and love what is going on in the 4x4 world. I have an old ’88 Jeep Cherokee and love it, and I still love all 4x4s. So go back to the large print that we can read (please).
Dick Small
Prescott Valley, AZ

I had to get a new eyeglass prescription the last time we changed the size of our print. Even my parents complained. But a good answer is to get a subscription to our online edition from Zinio, as with that you can enlarge the pages on your screen. I tried it and it works great for me. Visit and search for “4-wheel.” Thanks for being a longtime reader.

Seatbelts, Anyone?
As I was reading your Sept. ’11 story “Big Red Rock YJ,” I could not help but notice that the young boy in the passenger seat did not have a safety belt on. Why? The article stated that this ride has four-point harnesses for the family. I’ve been four-wheeling since 1979 and can only think of a few times that I, the driver, did not have a safety belt of some kind on, let alone one of my passengers. All it takes is one good bounce in the wrong direction and there goes your passenger out the open side of the vehicle. Well, just thought I would let you know about this. Happy and safe wheelin’ to everyone.
David Morse
Higganum, CT

You aren’t the only one to notice what appears to be an unfastened belt. I had to use a magnifying glass myself. A few other people besides me concur that he is wearing the belt, but in the red-on-red of the photo it shows up poorly. Thanks for reminding us all how important a belt is.

Reader Rant
Reader’s Wrong Rant
I want to give my son a gift certificate with your company and cannot find anywhere on your site to do that. Please contact me ASAP.
Bob Austin

Sorry, Bob, we don’t have any gift certificates. How about giving him a subscription to the magazine?
Rick Péwé

Rick, you people are jerks. Why would you not take $500 from me and hope my son never uses it? Foolish, foolish boys! Tell your VP he needs to rethink that stupid policy.
Bob Austin

Bob, I’m sorry for you that you feel that way. I would love to take $500 from you, but since we are a magazine publishing company, not a 4x4 parts store, I would feel like a stupid foolish jerk since you probably wouldn’t want 41 years of subscriptions to Petersen’s 4-Wheel & Off-Road, or 41 subscriptions to our other magazines since a subscription is around $12 for a year. I’m sorry you feel we are stupid foolish jerks for not taking your money, but at least we are honest stupid foolish jerks. Have a nice day!
Rick Péwé

(Yes, this really happened when I replied to a reader’s email.)

Submission Information
4-Wheel & Off-Road welcomes letters to the editor. Letters must include an address or a telephone number so the sender can be verified. Once verified, your name may be withheld at your request. Letters published in this magazine reflect the opinions of the writers, and we reserve the right to edit letters for clarity, brevity, or other purposes. Due to the large volume of mail we receive, we regret that we cannot reply to unpublished letters or return photos. Digital photos must measure no less than 1600 x 1200 pixels (or two megapixels) and be saved as a TIFF, an EPS, or a maximum-quality JPEG file. Write to: Editor, 4-Wheel & Off-Road, 831 S. Douglas St., El Segundo, CA 90245; fax 310.531.9368 Email to:

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