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February 1999 Drivelines - Off-Road News

Posted in Features on February 1, 1999
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Behind The Scenes Of 4x4 Of The Year
You think those 12 vehicles washed themselves? You think we communicated with the caravan by rolling down the windows and shouting? Shocking as it may be, the answer is no to both of those questions thanks to companies like Emgee Clean Tools and Cobra Electronics. Emgee donated The Absorber so that we could wash and dry the trucks without having to rifle the hotel housekeeping cart. The Absorber is machine washable and helped us dry the dirty dozen in no time.

In January's Outdoorsman, we introduced you to Cobra's 75 WX ST, the CB radio with SoundTracker for clarity and 50 channels (10 are all-weather). Each vehicle on 4x4 of the Year was equipped with the 75, which kept the drivers in touch with one another on the highway and off road.

Another necessity for dusk tire changes and undercarriage judging was the new Craftsman Rechargable Lantern with built-in battery-power indicators (PN 93196). It's able to last up to three hours on one charge (no battery changing needed), and the halogen sealed-beam light blasted near-daylight candlepower. The plastic body is lightweight and water-resistant.

Finally, check out this month's Outdoorsman to find out why we looooked maahvolous thanks to Woolrich and Wolverine.

Ay, Ay, Ay, No Es Bueno
Maxim magazine's Sept. '98 issue has a section on "Brand-Name Bloopers" and includes why GM's Nova didn't sell well in Latin America (no va means "no go" in Spanish), and why Ford couldn't market the Pinto in Brazil in the '70s (pinto is Portuguese slang for having a tiny, um, Mr. Winkie). It wasn't just limited to the automotive industry, though-KFC's "Finger-Lickin' Good" campaign was mistranslated as "Eat Your Fingers Off" in one country.

Fun Facts To Know And Tell
Results From the 1999 4x4 of the Year Test
•Vehicle with most warning stickers: Lexus, with 23
•Vehicle with least number of warning stickers: Chevy, with 8
•Vehicle with fastest auto-down window function: Nissan, at 2.14 seconds
•Vehicle with slowest auto-down window function: Mercedes, at 4.11 seconds
•Number of flat tires/popping tires back on rims during the competition: 4 (Jeep, Chevy, Ford, and Toyota)

Off-Road Driving School
Baja Off Road Tours now offers you the chance to jam through sections of the Baja 1000 in a $300,000 race truck that cranks out 750 horses. Larry Ragland, winner of the last three Baja 1000s Overall, and Chris Haines, five-time Baja motorcycle-race winner, have created the World's Most Exclusive Driving School, so you can floor it as fast as you feel comfortable for $4,000 per day, which includes roundtrip transportation by private jet from San Diego. Each tour is limited to four drivers.

To find out more about the Baja Off Road Tours and the World's Most Exclusive Driving School, call Chris or Barbara Haines at 714/830-6569, or visit

Lloyd Novak Dies
Lloyd Novak, owner of Novak Enterprises, died last October. A lifelong Jeep specialist, Lloyd was one of the first people to provide ready-made adapters for swapping engines, transmissions, and transfer cases into any Jeep model, from GPWs to late-model Cherokees. He was a regular source of technical information for this magazine and, as indicated by the occasional letters we received politely correcting or elaborating on a statement we made, a regular reader as well. He will be missed.

The 1999 Off-Road Championship Series Schedule Announced
You want extreme racing? The Off-Road Championship Series will turn your trousers inside out! Pace Motor Sports is producing the mayhem, and since we've shown you what Pace did for the U.S. Truck Fest Series, get ready to party like you're supposed to in 1999! For more information, contact Pace at 630/566-6214, or visit Hurry, though, since tickets will have already been on sale from Ticketmaster by the time you read this.

Date City Venue
1/9 St. Louis Trans World Dome*
1/16 Houston Astrodome
1/23 Minneapolis Metrodome
1/30 Anaheim, CA Edison International Field
2/6 Phoenix Bank One Ballpark**
2/13 San Diego Qualcomm Stadium
2/27 El Paso, TX UTEP Sun Bowl
3/6 Irving, TX Texas Stadium
3/13 Pontiac, MI Silverdome
3/27 Seattle Kingdome
*tickets available from Capital **tickets available from Dillards

Truck Fest/4xFun Fest Season Ends
Elsewhere in this issue, we've got explosive coverage of the Sandwich, Illinois, 4xFun Fest, the last event of the U.S. Truck Fest season. But that huge show shouldn't take anything away from the freshman Atlanta Truck Fest, pictured here. Of course, that show had all you've come to expect and love at every show this year-monster trucks, Extreme Truck action, and show-'n'-shine activities. For more information on next year's schedule, stay tuned to Drivelines, or call Petersen Events at 323/782-2341 or Pace Motor Sports at 630/963-4810, or visit

We'd like to thank Pace Motor Sports for all its help with putting together a mighty full season, as well as the year's official sponsors Chevrolet and BFGoodrich, presenter Ford, and Ruff Trux sponsor Trail Master. Other officials of the season were:

Borla official exhaust Precision Gear official gear
Dick Cepek official suspension Warn official winch
We'd also like to give thanks to those who handed out goods at each event:
Bestop storage modules Jet-Hot Coatings header coating
Borgeson steering shaft assemblies Optima batteries
Borla exhaust kits Performance Corner gift certificates
Dick Cepek race suspension systems Skyjacker suspension kits and shocks
4 Wheel Parts Wholesalers gift certificates Superwinch winches
Grant Products steering wheels Trail Master gift certificates
Grizzly Side Bars World Products Chevy cylinder heads

America's Funniest Foul-Ups
The National Directory of Environmental and Regulatory Victims is available for $15 from the National Center for Public Policy Research. It's full of examples of regulations it says have gone wrong. For instance, because of the Endangered Species Act, the city of Temecula, California, suffered more than $10 million in flood-related damages-they were protecting birds rather than maintaining a flood-control system. There's also info on water regulation, such as how Michigan's Department of Environmental Quality threatened sanctions against a property owner for not obtaining a permit for constructing dams; they were actually the work of beavers.

Plus what's not to love about zoning ordinances such as Fordham University in New York City's approval to build a radio tower for the campus radio station? Just before completion, the New York Botanical Garden demanded and won a suit that the tower be moved 25 feet so the Garden could still book wedding receptions.

To get a copy, contact the NCPPR, Dept. 4WOR, 300 Eye St. NE, Ste. 3, Washington, DC 20002, 202/543-1286,

Campfire Talk
According to the October 26th issue of Fortune magazine, Toyota Motor Corp. was named world's most admired automaker for the second year in a row. Meanwhile, Family Circle mag has picked the Chevy Tahoe as the family and activity hauler.

Some of the '99 Cadillac cars feature massaging seats. Yes, like a motel bed.

The U.K. government is attempting to "curb" vehicle use. Plans being entertained include charging drivers to take their vehicles into urban centers, motorways, and off-road parking spaces that employers provide for their staffs.

Saab is now talking SUV.

Michelin has been ranked the top OE tire brand for light trucks (compact and fullsize sport/utilities and pickups) by J.D. Power and Associates for the third consecutive time. The vehicles are grouped together because of similar usage, including towing and occasional off-roading. Second Place on down went to BFGoodrich, Firestone, Uniroyal, Dunlop, Bridgestone, and Goodyear.

The 25th Annual Canadian River Sand Drags & Mud Bog will be hosted by the West Texas Outlaws, February 27-28, in Amarillo. For information, contact Steve and Linda Ellard, P.O. Box 19324, Amarillo, TX 79114, 806/373-1222, e-mail, or Will Hopkins, Event Chairman, 1960 Roosevelt, Amarillo, TX 79103, 806/376-6189.

The BLM has extended for one year the initial temporary closure of approximately 2,000 acres within Ward Valley, California, which "extended the closure to unauthorized uses of the Ward Valley lands to facilitate management of authorized activities, protect the desert tortoise, and prevent unnecessary damage to sensitive natural resources." It's effective until August 13, 1999. Write to Molly Brady, Needles Field Office Manager, U.S.D.I. Bureau of Land Management, 101 W. Spikes Rd., Needles, CA 92363, 760/326-7000.

Honda Motor Corp. has turned 50.

Hemmings Motor News has named the '66-'69 Alfa Romeo Duetto Spider one of 1998's best entry-level collectable cars-a mint '69 can fetch $10,000.

The Department of Transportation says 90 percent of travelers prefer driving long distances rather than flying.


Emgee Clean Tools
Westmont, IL 60559

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