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October 2013 RPM - Automotive News

Posted in News on August 26, 2013
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Photographers: Four Wheeler Staff

That’s Interesting
If you live in Southern California and AAA is your insurance company, you’re about to get rich. Or at least have a rate decrease that could be equal to about $35.

Mercedes-Benz will give its vehicles QR codes that will work with smartphones and tablets to help first responders identify the quirky technology so that they can get to people safely after a crash. Quirky, meaning airbags, cables, and battery stuff, especially when it comes to hybrids.

Do you know where GM was born? Many say it was the Durante-Dort Carriage Company factory in Flint, Michigan. Well, even if you’re a naysayer, too late—GM just bought the original factory.

Tread Lightly! has a new website. Go to to see it for yourself.

Diesel Motorsports, which used to be called the National Association of Diesel Motorsports, is the sanctioning body for diesels, and there are still a couple events left for you to partake in this year: Rocky Mountain Diesel Shootout in Salt Lake City, Buckeye Diesel Blast in Ohio, and Texas Diesel Fall Nationals in Texas. Dates and details are at

MAVTV has joined DIRECTV’s lineup. Its schedule includes motorsports.

TechShop and Ford are celebrating their one-year anniversary in Metro Detroit. If you don’t know what TechShop is, check it: a DIY workshop and fabrication joint, where you can rent space and have an all-you-can-use buffet of access to high- tech equipment. More info is at

George Barris has been inducted into the SEMA Hall of Fame. You know him as the dude behind the creation of the Batmobile, the Dukes of Hazzard General Lee, and KITT, who needs no explanation.

PhotosView Slideshow

Your Government At Work
Bill H.R. 1776 is also known as the Clear Creek National Management Area and Conservation Act of 2013. The hope is that it will reopen the 75,000-acre California Clear Creek Management Area to OHV recreation and other usage.

Meet the Nevada Four Wheel Drive Association, which is all about protecting access to Nevada’s public lands. Support them at

nevada four wheel drive association facebook

What’s Happening In The Industry
Tuff Country is sponsoring Patrick Clark and his Pro-2 race truck in the Lucas Oil Offroad Racing Series. Haven’t heard of Patrick? Keep your ears peeled—he was the 2012 Pro-2 Rookie of the Year.

ACCEL Ignition has put together a handy-dandy guide to finding the right coils for your application/setup. Read the detailed ignition-system guide at

Roush Yates is now the official installation facility for all Kooks products.—go there for Ram, Jeep, and Dodge fluid and capacities.

Spicer has introduced an iPhone app with driveshaft rpm speed, driveline angle, and fuel cost/savings calculators.

Why was Toyo Tires so stoked about the 45th annual Tecate SCORE Baja 500? It saw Class 1, Class 8, and Trophy Truck Special Class wins.

Why was King Shocks so stoked about the 45th annual Tecate SCORE Baja 500? The official shock of SCORE International saw nine class wins and Second overall.

MBRP is the sponsor behind the Baillie Diesel 2.6 diesel class ’07 Dodge for sled-pulling season, which is right around the corner.

Warn has won Ford’s Gold World Excellence Award. Only six companies in the US grabbed one—it goes to the automaker’s top global suppliers.

PhotosView Slideshow

Random Photo We Dug
What you see are students from Jupiter High School Team 1 competing in the 20th NASA Great Moonbuggy Race. It requires students to design, build, and then race a human-powered moonbuggy over a course pretty close to mimicking the lunar surface, complete with craters. It’s like what lunar rover developers faced back in the Apollo days. Jupiter High’s Team 1 and Team 2 placed Second and Third, respectively. This competition first began back in 1994 with college teams; in 1996, it grew to include high schools, and since that same year, it has been hosted by the U.S. Space & Rocket Center.

nasa moonbuggy race

New Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame Inductees
The 2013 Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Famers have been named: Bob Chandler, Frank DeAngelo, Jerry Herbst, and Bob “The Weatherman” Steinberger. As you know, Bob is the master behind Bigfoot and possibly whom you’d call responsible for the world of monster trucks. Frank has been big in off-road racing. Jerry is also a huge presence in the off-road racing world, particularly with SCORE. And “The Weatherman” is known as the voice of desert racing, pioneering efforts to make radio communication a must-have tool for every racer. Learn more about them and previous inductees at

bigfoot monster truck

Random Quote:
“In 1962, Jeep introduced the first automatic transmission in a four-wheel-drive vehicle with the Wagoneer line (a predecessor to the Jeep Cherokee). The 1963 Jeep Wagoneer was also the first four-wheel-drive vehicle with an independent front suspension option. Quadra-Trac, the first automatic full-time four-wheel-drive system, was introduced in 1973 and available in fullsize Jeep trucks and wagons, and later in the CJ-7.”

taken From an older Chrysler press release. The Wagoneer turned 50 years old in 2013.

1962 jeep wagoneer

Gee, That Press Release Sounds Naughty:
“ESCORT introduces new ‘StickyCup’ Windshield Mount Detector Accessory”

What’s the Oldest Iron You’ve Owned, and What Would You Like To Own Right Now?
What’s the oldest truck you’ve had in your garage? What early-model truck would you most like to have in there now? Come on over to Four Wheeler’s Facebook page ( and tell us! Here are ours:

Brubaker: I’ve owned cars dating back to 1972, but my first 4x4 (and oldest iron 4x4 I’ve owned) was a ’76 Chevy K5 Blazer. I bought it in 1984, but before that I heard it was a trucking company escort vehicle for wide loads. It had a 4-inch lift, 36-inch tires, 350ci V-8 engine, automatic transmission, and a worn-out transfer case chain. I treated that Blazer badly, but had a lot of fun with it. I think we took the top off of it almost every weekend during the summer. As I’ve noted elsewhere in this issue, I’d like to own an ’89-’93 Dodge W250 extended cab pickup with the Cummins turbodiesel engine and manual transmission. These trucks are delightfully simple.

Cappa: The oldest “running and driving” 4x4 I have ever owned was my first Jeep, a ’48 CJ-2A. I had so much fun driving that thing into the ground and building it back up. I learned all of my basic wrenching and hack fabrication skills on this Jeep and it went through a few iterations. But my oldest 4x4 is the ’41-’45 (I really have no idea what year it actually is) GPW body waiting to meet its frame that has been my garage project for several years. It features Range Rover radius arm suspension at all four corners and I think I’ll use air shocks since it will only have about 10 inches of wheel travel at each corner. It will also have a 4.3L GM V-6, an SM420 manual four-speed transmission, a Spicer 18 transfer case, and Dana 44 front and rear axles. I already have most of the major components to put it together, now I just need the time.

Anyway, the old iron I would most want to own is a ’55-’60 Studebaker E-Series pickup. Of course I would convert it to four-wheel drive, install a modern V-8 and manual truck transmission or maybe a really raspy engine with a three-speed automatic, along with the appropriate axles, luggy tires, and way-cut fenders. Think low and wide.

Mansour: I haven’t had too many “old iron” rigs. At one point I owned what was left of a ’50s-era Willys Flatfender on a CJ-7 chassis, but the drivetrain was completely modern. My old man has a bunch of old iron. When I want to get my classic rig fix, I will just grab the keys to one of his. Visually, I think classic 4x4s (especially trucks from the ’40s and ’50s) are stunning. I am just not a fan of the old powertrains. I would be stoked to have a ’50s-era Willys Wagon (with a modern drivetrain, of course). My generation grew up with fuel injection, and the only carbureted off-road vehicle I had as a kid was a dirt bike.

chevy k5 blazer

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