Questions or comments?
Write to us at 4 Wheel Drive & Sport Utility, 774 S. Placentia Ave., Placentia, CA 92870, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gauge Racks for Jeeps
Q: You had an article in your Feb. 2001 issue ("Rock Wrangler"), and on page 26, fig. 14 talked about the VDO gauges. They also talked about the mounting rack in the article. How can I get in contact with the company mentioned, All-Wheel Drive, to do the same on my '90 Wrangler?
A: Anonymous, the gauge rack you speak of is available from All-Wheel Drive, Dept. 4WDSU, 2211 River Rd., Farmington, NM 87401, (505) 324-1141, www.allwheel4x4.com. Be sure and tell them we sent you.
No Motor Vehicles? Arrg!
n Q: This letter is in response to a letter I saw a few issues back regarding OHV use on public lands. As far as land closures go, I've seen it happen right before my very eyes in Colorado, with trails being threatened with closure all the time. People need to get involved and write their Senators and Congressmen over land issues that come up and support organizations and companies that help keep trails open. If it were up to what I call "grain brains," the whole state of Colorado would be wilderness areas. These big groups that want land closures have big corporate lawyers sometimes more powerful than the state 4WD organization has. If people don't think it is a problem, what are they going to say when they pull up to their favorite trail and it has a gate and a sign that says, "No motor vehicles?"
A: Geoff, you are correct. Getting involved by way of contacting your legislators and joining groups, such as the Blue Ribbon Coalition and local and state 4WD clubs, is crucial to the future of our sport. However, it's our belief, as well as that of some of the aforementioned organizations, that we need to work with these groups and not against them. While the general consensus is that groups opposed to OHV use are the enemy, we look forward to a time when we can unite to fight a common cause while at the same time preserving the environment and keeping trails open to all. We can begin this fight by stopping the name-calling (i.e. "grain brains") and supporting groups that promote open wilderness areas. Don't get us wrong, Geoff, we know plenty of names for anti-OHV groups, and they have many for us, but we think it's about time that we stop the sparring and work together before the whole of the U.S. is one big parking lot for Big Business. Besides, a true off-roader should be as involved in preserving the environment as much as a grain brain is, if they plan on keeping their sport alive. By working together, we might just achieve this goal. For information on the good fight, visit the Blue Ribbon Coalition Web site at www.sharetrails.org and the United Four Wheel Drive Association at www.ufwda.org
What About the Other Guys?
Q: As the owner of a 2000 Nissan Xterra, an '89 Mitsubishi Montero, and a '90 Suzuki Samurai (built for off-road), and formerly of two '94 Land Rover Defender 90s, my family and I are truly living the 4 Wheel Drive & Sport Utility lifestyle. The reason I am writing is twofold. First, as a longtime subscriber, I would like to commend you on your coverage of off-road vehicles and events. We particularly appreciate the coverage of events east of the Mississippi, since most of us don't travel to Moab or the Rubicon. Also, thanks for having special issues that are designated to featuring vehicles other than those bearing the Jeep namesake. I have always enjoyed the coverage on Toyotas (especially the Tellico event).
Here's a large complaint: What the heck has happened to the Samurai coverage? I remember in years past at least two issues that featured Suzuki Samurais, buildups, and 'Zuks at off-road events. Now, they rarely get a mention. I hardly count the tech article in last month's issue, covering the Calmini power steering conversion, since it is nothing more than glorified advertising for a company who has been loyal to your magazine as an advertiser for many years now. Not to take away from its product, but there is a plethora of information regarding these great little rigs that is basically only available if you are plugged into the Samurai community via the Internet. Furthermore, I noticed that although two Samurais were mentioned as Top 10 finishers in the ARCA Extreme Rock Crawling Nationals article, they did not rate a single photo. I am sure that I speak for Samurai owners everywhere when I express my displeasure on getting snubbed by your magazine, as well as the rest of the four-wheeling community. I can't count how many times Samurais are given one-liner mentions as being competent little vehicles or some other less-than flattering statement by the magazines. I also can't count how many times I've dragged Jeeps out of the woods or gone on parts runs at all hours of the night to keep a stranded Jeep from being cannibalized before it could be recovered.
I don't mean to seem bitter about Jeeps, their owners, or any of the current content of your great magazine. I just want some respect for the Samurai in the form of frequent coverage. I challenge 4 Wheel Drive & Sport Utility to get out to the ZookiMelt event in Attica, Indiana, this year, and also to give us some coverage while in Moab this Easter. There are at least a dozen reputable aftermarket suppliers to our cause, as well as many ingenious backyard mechanics who have built their 'Zuks using home-brewed modifications. Many of these little trucks are outstanding examples of top-notch off-road vehicles with superior engineering.
Do us and yourself a favor and don't forget about the little guys out there. Some feature articles of specific Samurais and Suzuki events, along with more tech articles, would make for a great issue, as well as serve to bring back some reader loyalty from us rice-burners. I will look forward to a special Samurai issue in the near future. In the meantime, keep up with everything else that you do so well in bringing the great sport of off-roading to the public.
A: James, oddly, I was sitting here working on 4xForum, noticing that every letter I had included was Jeep related, just as I received your e-mail. This isn't my doing, but rather that 95 percent of all letters we receive are Jeep related. Though, we can't do much regarding the letters people write or who writes them, the editor, Mark Nobles, and myself are taking steps to rectify this situation, starting with the Petroworks Samurai feature in the August issue. We try to attend as many events as possible each year and include that coverage in the magazine. We attend perhaps only three to four Jeep-only trailruns per year and scour the trails at other events in search of non-Jeep and Jeep vehicles to photograph.
We would love to attend every event of the year, but we are currently a two-man operation with assistance from contributing writers and photographers. The ZookiMelt event in Attica sounds promising, however, so look for one of us out there. We try to be as "plugged in" to the Internet 'Zuki scene as we can, so we will track down the information there. As for the ARCA coverage, Mark and I trudged around the event for three days straight and came out with a number of good photos. Unfortunately, none of the photos we snapped of either of the Suzukis that achieved the Top Ten turned out as well as we would have liked. Since it is our goal to make the magazine as interesting as possible, we went with the best photos we had. As far as our Calmini power steering story is concerned, it was by no means a "pay-off" as you seem to suggest. We felt that it was a valid tech piece that entry-level Suzuki owners would appreciate, and we stand by our decision to run it. In future issues, you can expect to see a variety of other tech pieces on products from Spidertrax and Petroworks, among others. Anyway, James, we appreciate your letter and will do our best to include event coverage and tech articles featuring vehicles of every make and model in the pages of future issues. Let it be known, 'Zuki owners, we know you are out there, and we will be looking for you.