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September 1998 Drivelines

Posted in Features on September 1, 1998
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Photographers: Alan Huber

Petersen 4xFun Fest/U.S. Truck Fest Update
You've only got a trio of chances remaining to catch the hottest in four-by action: The Petersen U.S. Truck Fest at Atlanta Motor Speedway September 11-13, and the Sept. 19-20 4-Wheel & Off-Road 4xFun Fests in Sandwich, Illinois, and Hagerstown, Maryland (both are on that weekend). We've partnered up with PACE Motor Sports to bring you what's all the rage this year-two-day festivals of mud-flingin', truck-flyin', paint-shinin' melodrama. The 4xFun Fests are sponsored by Chevrolet and cosponsored by Trail Master. The U.S. Truck Fests are presented by Ford and cosponsored by Trail Master.

For more information about the Extreme Off Road Course, the stadium Trail Master Ruff Trux, the U.S. Hot Rod Monster Truck Challenge, the show 'n' shine, and all the other activities, call PACE Motor Sports at 630/963-4810, or visit To register, call 888/294-TRUX (8789).

What Europe's Driving
The best-selling four-wheel drives in Europe for 1997 have been announced, and observers say that sport/utes quickly became the vehicle of choice. However, they've also predicted that with the high fuel consumption of the SUVs, sales won't continue this way for the long term. In order of highest sales:

Suzuki Vitara Mitsubishi Pajero
Land Rover Discovery Jeep Grand Cherokee
Nissan Terrano Toyota Land Cruiser
GM Frontera Range Rover
Toyota RAV4 Honda CRV

Championship Off Road Racing Schedule The new sanctioning body, CORR, will be racing two- and four-wheel drives, light dutys, and buggies throughout the U.S., and there's still a few opportunities to catch a show:

Aug. 8-9 Bark River, MI
Aug. 22-23 Luxemburg, WI
Sept. 4-6 Crandon, WI
Sept. 26-27 Indianapolis, IN
Dec. 4-6 Glen Helen, CA

Camp Jeep
You'd think it was summer with all the camp items this month in Drivelines! Don't forget that August is the month for Camp Jeep, and this year is the fourth annual gathering of Jeep owners just outside of Vail, Colorado.

From August 14-16, approximately 1,500 Jeep owners from across the country will hang out at Camp Hale to take part in the Jeep 101 Instructional Course, mountain biking, a children's activity center, fly fishing, archery, music concerts, and even to get an early look at the '99 Grand Cherokee.

For more information on Camp Jeep or other Jeep-related activities, call 800/789-JEEP (789-5337).

We Want You
"How do I get cool job like yours" follows closely behind "How do I get my truck in your magazine" as the most common question we're asked. If you've dreamed of working as a staff writer at 4-Wheel & Off-Road or any of Petersen Publishing's other automotive magazines, now is the time to let us know.

To be a staff writer, you need a bachelor's degree from a four-year college or university. You must be able to take pictures and write about vehicles and related products and events. Experience in the field is helpful but not required for an entry-level position-you don't have to be an expert, just an enthusiast.

For more information, contact 4-Wheel & Off-Road, Staff Writer, 6420 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90048.

Crash Tests In
The next round of front- and side-impact crash-test results has been completed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. To learn how vehicles hold up in such crashes, each is crashed at 35 mph in such a way that the entire front impacts against a rigid, fixed barrier-equivalent to a head-on collision. Instrumented crash-test dummies are placed in the driver and front-passenger seats for the festivities.

Among those tested this time around are the four-door Dodge Durango, four-door Isuzu Rodeo, four-door Chevy Blazer and Suburban, four-door Ford Expedition, extended-cab Dodge Dakota and Ram, extended-cab Nissan Frontier, and extended-cab Toyota Tacoma.

The ratings, with five stars being best, are as follows:

Vehicle</td> Front Rating Side Rating
Chevy Blazer HHHH HHHH
Chevy C/K pickup HHHH HHH
Chevy Suburban HHHH HHHH
Dodge Dakota HHHH HHHH
Dodge Durango HH HHH
Isuzu Rodeo HHH HHHH
Nissan Frontier HHH HHHH
Toyota Tacoma HHHH HHH

Hummer Camp
Got a spring chicken aged 13-18? Now you can ship your kid off for the summer to a cool kind of camp designed to focus on four-wheel-drive skills. Utah is the backdrop for Hummer Camp, which includes an intensive course in mechanical aspects, safe handling, navigation, and trail riding in Moab, as well as a chance to take an ATV for a spin on rocks and sand dunes.

Now your kids can get away from all the stress that comes with being young and tireless through two weeks of Hummers, ATVs, camping, lake rafting, paintball, and watching animal wildlife. Hummer Camp offers two 15-week sessions, and while it'll be over for this year by the time you read this, start making plans now for next summer by calling 888/550-8882 or 435/658-4950, or check out the Web site

Camel Trophy '98
Right now, 20 two-person teams in identically prepared Land Rover Freelanders are hours away from hitting the road to embark on an international expedition, the 1998 Camel Trophy Tierra Del Fuego, which will take them from Santiago, Chile, to Ushuaia, Argentina. They've got three weeks to get there.

If that's not enough pressure, the other challenges will be mountain biking, kayaking, hiking, and-new for this year-snow sports, including snowboarding. And that's all on the same trip! Camel Trophy is not designed to be a race or a rally; rather, points are given for the number of these competition locations reached within the three weeks. Yes, 1,500 miles of climatic, topographical, and cultural adventures-or sheer hell. A little more rigorous than Hummer Camp, huh?

Fun Facts to Know and Tell
•Name change for the AMC/Renault line: Chrysler Jeep/Eagle
•Offspring of the Jeep: Hummer
•Price of the first-generation Jeepster when introduced: $1,900
•Amount Henry Kaiser spent to buy Willys Overland: $60 million
•Amount American Motors spent to buy Kaiser Jeep Corp. more than 30 years later: $70 million

Off-Roading With a View
The Hungry Valley State Vehicular Recreation Area near Gorman, California, now offers a self-guided off-road tour that includes discovery points such as Watchable Wildlife, with the chance of viewing deer, hawks, bears, or the big cats; All Shook Up, to observe the infamous San Andreas Fault; and Home on the Range, where you might just stumble upon remnants of stone cabin foundations from 1900's settlers. The trail is 14 miles and takes about two hours to complete. Contact park officials at 805/248-7007 to find out more.

Campfire Talk
Ford has recalled 1.7-million '97-'98 F-150 and F-250 pickups and Expeditions as well as Lincoln Navigators to replace the lug nuts. They've been said to loosen, allowing the wheel to fall off.

Not the law-yet: Pending legislation would require vehicles registered in Utah to have wheelcovers and mud guards, flaps, or splash aprons behind the rearmost wheels.

The '99 Toyota T150 fullsize pickup will now be called the 800T. We're sure Ford had nothing to do with that.

Automotive News reports that Nissan Diesel Motor Company will begin exporting 2- and 3-ton pickup trucks to the U.S. due to a lack of sales in Southeast Asia.

The results of a survey done last fall by AutoPacific claim that although demand is still strong for sport/utilities, interest in them is actually declining. The survey is in its fourth year, and its subjects are buyers who bought their vehicles in September or November.

The '99 Ford Expedition will feature a new grille and a restyled front fascia-more similar to the Explorer than the F-150.

The 1998 Craftsman Power and Hand Tools catalog features more than 650 tools. For a copy, call Sears Shop at Home Services, 800/948-8800, which is up and running 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Rhino Linings USA is sponsoring 19-year-old Randy Nelson, the youngest NASCAR Series driver for the 1998 Craftsman Truck season.

International news: Nissan has snagged the top spot in car and light-truck sales in Chile for 1997. In Mexico, sport/utilities are becoming extremely popular; sales leaders are the Blazer and the Suburban.

On the boob tube: GEAR Television provides news and info on products available for light trucks. GEAR Television airs on the Dee Zee Television Network through America 1, Midwest Sports Channel, Fox Sports West, Sunshine Sports, and Home Team Sports.

Ford, German automaker Daimler-Benz AG, and Ballard Power Systems of Canada have signed an agreement to build commercial fuel-cell-powered cars, trucks, and buses by 2005.

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