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July 2012 Drivelines Off-Road Truck News

Posted in Features on July 1, 2012 Comment (0)
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July 2012 Drivelines Off-Road Truck News

Jeep Dealers Get Brute
American Expedition Vehicles (AEV) will offer the Brute, a double-cab pickup conversion based on the Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon, to Jeep dealers as a turnkey, ready-to-sell vehicle. The Brute was on display at the recent National Automobile Dealers Association convention in Las Vegas. No price was announced, but according to Automotive News you can expect the sticker to be in the $65,000-$95,000 range, depending on options.

We showed you the Brute as part of our SEMA Show coverage in the March issue. AEV stretches the Wrangler’s chassis by nearly 2 feet and adds the pickup bed, a 41⁄2-inch DualSport suspension, 37-inch Super Swampers, and Dynatrac ProRock axles with 4.56 gears. Under the hood is a 6.4L Hemi mated to a five-speed automatic transmission.

Spendy British SUVs
The Geneva Motor Show isn’t known for its concept trucks, but this year two British makers used the venue to trot out new SUVs. Bentley (yes, Bentley) unveiled the EXP 9 F, “a vehicle that feels equally at home at an opera gala performance, on the sand dunes, and the overtaking lane of the autobahn,” said the luxury maker. The concept SUV is powered by a twin-turbocharged, 6.0L W-12 engine that makes in the neighborhood of 600 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque, though the company didn’t release details about how (or how many of) the wheels would be driven.

Land Rover, meanwhile, showed off a topless Evoque to “explore the potential for the world’s first premium convertible SUV,” said LR. Based on the Evoque coupe, the concept has a retractable roof with a rollover protection system.

Both concepts are being used to gauge the public’s interest, and no production plans are in the works. At least, none that the makers will admit to.

Xplore Adds Rams to Adventure Series
This modified Ram is the latest 4x4 to be offered by Venchurs Vehicle Systems as part of its Xplore Adventure Series. These trucks (a Wrangler is also available) are aimed at those folks who want to drive a customized rig right off the truck dealer’s lot. Buyers can order them in four stages of modification, from simple interior upgrades all the way up to fully custom builds. The rendering shows a Stage 4 Ram outfitted with black aluminum wheels, BFG rubber, Bilstein shocks, a cat-back exhaust system, ARB equipment racks, matte paint, and more.

Another nice touch: For every Xplore Adventure Series truck purchased, Venchurs makes a donation to the National Park Foundation. Owners also get a free, one-year annual pass to all National Parks and other Federal lands. For more information, visit www.explorevehicles.com.

This Just In
• Like old Land Rovers? The inaugural Land Rover d’Elegance, which is open to Rovers of all kinds, will take place May 19 at West Coast British in Livermore, California. Go to www.offroadexperience.com/wcb for more info.

• Soon after his strong showing in Dakar, Robby Gordon was racing on American soil and was the overall winner at the Bluewater Resort & Casino Parker 425. This time, though, he left his Hummer in the shop and borrowed a Class 1500 buggy owned by Clyde Stacey of RPM Offroad.

• Toyota has released another Trail Teams edition of the FJ Cruiser. The ’12 edition is painted top to bottom in a new Radiant Red color and is equipped with Bilstein shocks, a locking rear diff, rock rails, TRD wheels, auxiliary lights on the roof, and a backup camera.

Coolest Reading Places, Cozy Edition
Jim Grammer sent us this photo with a short note: “Attached is a picture of me reading this issue with the alpacas at my ranch, Islay Hill Alpaca Ranch, in Hillsboro, Oregon.” We guess wrangling alpacas isn’t quite as vigorous as, say, wild mustangs or Brahma bulls.

Earth Watch
• As election season ramps up, now is the time to make your voice heard by backing those officials who will work with us in keeping land open for responsible wheeling. You can also help the cause by making a donation to the Trail Political Action Committee (TPAC), founded as “the first national nonpartisan political action committee dedicated solely to championing responsible off-highway vehicle recreation on designated roads, trails, and areas on public lands through the electoral and legislative processes,” said the TPAC website. Help them elect pro-trail candidates by visiting www.thetrailpac.com.

• Tread Lightly! has moved. The offices, which were located in Ogden, Utah, are now in Salt Lake City, a change that has allowed the organization to add fulltime staff members and interns. The new address for Tread Lightly! is 353 E. 400 S., Ste. 100, Salt Lake City, UT 84111. Phone numbers remain 801.627.0077 and 800.966.9900, and the website is www.treadlightly.org.

TDS Jeep Raffle
If you didn’t get to the 50th anniversary Desert Safari put on by Tierra Del Sol, you missed one heck of an event. But you can still take part, in a way, by getting involved with the club’s Wrangler raffle. Jeep donated a Wrangler Sport to TDS, and club members had it decked out by Jack Powell Jeep in Escondido, California, with accessories from Mopar (2-inch lift, rock rails, front and rear bumper, Warn winch, and more), Katzkin, and Goodyear.

The Jeep will travel around various Southern California off-road events to promote the club’s land-use efforts. Raffle tickets will be available at those events, and the lucky winner will be announced at the San Diego Auto Show in December. “Funds raised will go to the club’s mission of ‘Keeping Public Lands Open’ and the education of responsible off highway vehicle use,” said TDS President Joseph Smith.

Wounded Warrior SxS Giveaway
Polaris, in conjunction with the Wounded Warrior Project, gave away three blacked-out Ranger RZR XP 4 900s (a special model that Polaris has named Phantom 4) to wounded vets as the culmination of an essay contest. Winners Tammy Persing, Gavin Goodwin, and William Hampton wrote about what it would mean to them to win a Polaris Ranger and how they and their families would enjoy the vehicle. Their essays touched on how the vehicle would give them the ability to enjoy life with their families, be more adventuresome, and give them freedom away from the hospitals and post-war challenges they have endured.

In addition to the vehicles, Polaris Defense awarded the winners $5,000 worth of gear and accessories to outfit their new Rangers.

“Polaris would like to congratulate the winners of the essay contest and thank them for their service,” said Jason Difuccia, marketing manager for Polaris’ Off-Road Vehicles Division. “It was our pleasure to donate the Phantom 4s to such a wonderful organization. These individuals have made a great sacrifice for our freedom; we hope these vehicles bring joy to them and their families.”

Um, Where’s the Wrench?
OK, we know camo is cool, but when we got the press release from Snap-on about this impact wrench covered in a Realtree camouflage pattern, our first thought was, What if you set it down on the side of the trail and couldn’t find it again?

50 Years at Eastnor
No real news here, just a cool photo of some vintage (and not-so-vintage) Land Rovers parked in front of Eastnor Castle in Herefordshire, England. LR has been testing vehicles in the forest, mud, hills, and streams on the 5,000 acres surrounding the castle since 1961. We’ve done our share of off-roading there, and it is challenging.

Spendy German SUV
Porsche has announced that Macan will be the name of its new SUV when it goes into production in 2013. We know little about the vehicle other than industry reports that say it will share a platform with the Audi Q5 and that it will be smaller than the current Cayenne. The name is “derived from the Indonesian word for tiger,” said Porsche.

Calendar
• May 31–June 2: Canyon de Chelly Jeep Jamboree, Chinle, AZ. Info: www.jeepjamboreeusa.com

• June 1-2: W.E. Rock Eastern Pro Series Round 2, Hannibal, MO. Info: www.werocklive.com

• June 1-3: Tecate SCORE Baja 500, Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico. Info: www.score-international.com

• June 1-3: Razorback Ramble by the Toyota Land Cruiser Association, Superlift ORV Park, Hot Springs, AR. Info: www.tlca.org

• June 2: Off-Road Show & Swap Meet by the Grand Mesa Jeep Club, Mesa County Fairgrounds, Grand Junction, CO. Info: 970.858.1394, gmjc.org

• June 2: Rocks Clinic by Badlands Off-Road Adventures, Johnson Valley, CA. Info: 310.374.8047, www.4x4training.com

• June 6-9: Crawl for Christ by the United Christian Off Road Alliance, Moab, UT. Info: www.crawl4christ.com

• June 8-9: Dirt Riot Great Lakes 1, Harrison, MI. Info: www.werocklive.com

• June 8-10: Dusty Times 250 desert race by SNORE Racing, Caliente, NV. Info: www.snoreracing.net

• June 9: Getting Started Off-Road Driving Clinic by Badlands Off-Road Adventures, Hungry Valley SVRA, Gorman, CA. Info: 310.374.8047, www.4x4training.com

• June 9-10: 4Wheel Parts Truck & Jeep Fest, Ontario Convention Center, Ontario, CA. Info: www.4wheelparts.com/events

• June 10: Advanced Beginner Off-Road Driving Clinic by Badlands Off-Road Adventures, El Paso Mountains, Mojave, CA. Info: 310.374.8047, www.4x4training.com

• June 15-16: Dirt Riot Mountain 2, Colorado Springs, CO. Info: www.werocklive.com

• June 15-17: Big Bear Forest Fest by the Inland Empire 4-Wheelers, Big Bear, CA. Info: ie4w.com

• June 14-16: Drummond Island Jeep Jamboree, Drummond Island, MI. Info: www.jeepjamboreeusa.com

• June 16-17: Iron Range Off-Road Driving School, Iron Range OHV Park near Minneapolis and St. Paul, MN. Info: www.ironrangeoffroad.com

• June 17: Badlands Off-Road Adventures Customer Appreciation Event, Hungry Valley SVRA, Gorman, CA. Info: 310.374.8047, www.4x4training.com

• June 21-23: Penn’s Woods Jeep Jamboree, Bradford, PA. Info: www.jeepjamboreeusa.com

• June 21-23: East Coast Bronco Roundup by the Mid-Atlantic Early Broncos, Cove Family Campground, Gore, VA. Info: earlybroncos.com

• June 21-24: Jeepster Jam East, by the JCCA, Clinton, TN. Info: jeepstercommandoclub.com

• June 21-25: Hummer Club Inc. Hummer Run, Superlift ORV Park, Hot Springs, AR. Info: 501.625.3600, www.orvpark.com

• June 22-23: Nevada Trophy GPS rally raid, northern Nevada. Info: 925.606.8301, www.offroadexperience.com

• June 23-24: W.E. Rock Western Pro Series Round 3, Donner, CA. Info: www.werocklive.com

• June 28: Wilderness Advanced First Aid Clinic by Badlands Off-Road Adventures, Hungry Valley SVRA, Gorman, CA. Info: 310.374.8047, www.4x4training.com

• June 29-30: Dirt Riot Great Lakes 2, Marseilles, IL. Info: www.werocklive.com

• June 30: Night Run, Kansas Rocks Recreation Park near Mapleton, KS. Info: www.ksrockspark.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 number 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 4wheeloff road@sorc.com. Please submit your info at least four months in advance of the event due to our press lead times.

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