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Drivelines - November 2014

Posted in News on October 3, 2014
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Jeep’s Veterans Memorial
Given the significant role that jeeps (of varying makes) played in WWII, the connection between those workhorse 4x4s and the veterans of that war is a profound one—and one that was made tangible with the unveiling of a new Veteran’s Memorial at Chrysler’s Toledo Assembly Complex (TAC). The memorial, which features a restored ’42 Willys, was dedicated during a Memorial Day ceremony attended by TAC employees and five veterans with ties to the Toledo plant, including three retirees who served in WWII.

The Willys in the display was found in Texas through a Craigslist ad. When the owner learned about the plant’s plans for the memorial, he sold it to TAC for $950 and transported it to Toledo. A team of about 15 Toledo employees worked for a week and a half to refurbish the vehicle. Because all of the identification plates and hood graphics were removed, the exact history of the vehicle can’t be determined, but the plant estimates that it was originally built in mid 1942.

These heroes became our first Jeep enthusiasts

“Like all Americans, we owe our freedom to the sacrifices made by the men and women who serve in the military, but at Jeep, we owe our very existence to our WWII veterans,” said TAC Plant Manager Chuck Padden. “When they returned home from the war, they purchased civilian versions of the Jeep vehicles they learned to depend upon in the war. These heroes became our first Jeep enthusiasts. Without them, we would not be here today.”

Baja Documentary Adds Lost Footage
Bruce Brown, the documentary filmmaker whose credits include Endless Summer and On Any Sunday, was, in 1968, a freelance cameraman hired by ABC News to cover the second Mexican 1000 rally. Much of his footage wound up on ABC’s Wild World of Sports, an influential broadcast that introduced desert racing to tens of thousands of sports fans across the U.S.

Off-road historian (and current NORRA 1000 Rally organizer) Marty Fiolka watched that vintage broadcast recently while working on Baja Social Club, a new documentary about the pioneers of desert racing. “It dawned on me that there was a slim chance that outtake footage and more [from Brown’s coverage] could be used in Baja Social Club,” Fiolka said. He contacted Brown, who “literally opened the doors to his film vault, and there it was stacked on the floor.” Brown’s outtakes encompassed not only the ’68 Mexican 1000 but also the 1970 Mint 400, plus audio tapes of interviews taken at the 1000 of Bruce Meyers, Rod Hall, Vic Wilson, Bob Bondurant, and other racing pioneers. The footage has been restored and will be included in the new film, which should premiere sometime this fall.

Meyers Finally Finishes Baja
In the September issue we told you about the “unfinished business” Bruce Meyers had with Baja. The 88-year-old founder of Meyers Manx and creator of countless dune buggies had tried to finish a race in Baja for decades without success—until now. A team of drivers, including Meyers, entered a restored Manx Dual Sport in the NORRA Mexican 1000 and completed the journey in 29 hours 39 minutes, coming in 50th in the Vintage class. Meyers himself was at the wheel of the buggy—seen here during one of its earlier, unsuccessful Baja crossings—for the final 40 miles.

PhotosView Slideshow

Range Rover on the Great Divide—Again
Twenty-five years ago Land Rover introduced the revised ’90 model Range Rover in dramatic fashion by taking a fleet of the new vehicles on The Great Divide Expedition across the Continental Divide in Colorado. This year Land Rover will commemorate the event by mounting another expedition, taking a caravan of ’14 Range Rovers across nearly 1,000 miles of the original Great Divide route to demonstrate Land Rover’s “continued leadership at providing off-road capability with exceptional luxury,” says the maker.

Among the new Range Rovers will be a ’90 model restored to replicate one of the original Great Divide entrants (seen here on the original expedition). Land Rover agreed to auction the replica through eBay Motors, with proceeds going to Tread Lightly.

New Engine Family for Land Rover
Jaguar Land Rover announced a new line of compact, lightweight, low-emissions diesel and gasoline turbocharged engines that should deliver “both efficiency and performance” when they are fitted to vehicles sometime in 2015, says the company. Called Ingenium, the new engines are based around aluminum blocks that share the same bore, stroke, cylinder spacing, and cylinder capacity to allow flexibility for development of smaller or larger engines. The modular design also enables both gasoline and diesel variants to share common components to simplify manufacturing. All of the Ingenium engines will be equipped with turbochargers, high-pressure central direct fuel injection, variable valve timing, and start-stop technology. The first Ingenium engine to go into production will be a 2.0L diesel known as AJ200D.

Earth Watch
• The California Off-Road Vehicle Association (CORVA), Tierra Del Sol Four Wheel Drive Club (TDS), and Ecologic Partners have joined forces to oppose a lawsuit seeking to end open riding at the Ocotillo Wells SVRA. Last year, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility and the Desert Protection Council (DPC) filed suit against State Parks, claiming the open riding policy at Ocotillo Wells was damaging natural and cultural resources. The state’s attorney general has aggressively defended State Parks’ management of Ocotillo Wells. Now CORVA, TDS, and Ecologic will partner to make every effort to keep the riding area open.

• The BlueRibbon Coalition reports some good news out of Utah. The BLM Utah Monticello Field Office has decided to approve the motorized use of five travel routes: Blanding to Bulldog, Jacob’s Chair, Nokai Dome, River House, and Woodenshoe. The five approved routes add to more than 2,800 miles of trail currently open and available for OHV use.

This Just In
• Starting with ’15 model trucks, GM is transitioning to the SAE J2807 recommended practices regarding tow ratings. While the new standards have lowered some tow ratings for some manufacturers, both the ’15 Silverado 1500 and Sierra 1500 will retain their 12,000-pound maximum trailer weight rating (as measured for a 2WD Double Cab with the 6.2L V-8 and max trailering package). The comparable 4x4 version will have a tow rating of 11,900 pounds.

• GM also released new, higher power output figures for’15 Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon midsize pickup trucks, which go on sale this fall. The 2.5L I-4 has been uprated to 200 hp and 191 lb-ft of torque, while the 3.6L V-6 now puts out 305 hp and 269 lb-ft of torque. That kind of power will earn a tow rating of up to 7,000 pounds for the new trucks when properly equipped (though 4WD tow numbers have not been released).

• SCORE is bringing top racers to this year’s SEMA Show in Las Vegas. The “SEMA Show SCORE Baja 1000 Experience” will include a 70,000-square-foot desert racing exhibit outside of the Las Vegas Convention Center with Trophy Truck and Class 1 race vehicle displays, exhibits from off-road and desert racing companies, press conferences, autograph sessions, and an interactive SCORE Baja pit crew competition area. Trophy Truck qualifying for the 2014 Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 will take place during the SEMA Show on a specially designed course around Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Jeep Hood Decals—Cool or Not?
When we got the press release from Mopar announcing new custom hood decals for Wrangler, Cherokee, and Grand Cherokee, we couldn’t decide if the graphics were cool or not. Still can’t. What do you think? The decals are available as preconfigured maps of famous 4-wheeling trails, like the Rubicon and Hell’s Revenge, or you can create your own topographical elevation or street-level graphics using an online tool. They’re $295, plus the cost of installation.

• Oct. 2-4: Maine Mountains Jeep Jamboree, Bethel, ME.

• Oct. 2-4: French Lick Jeep Jamboree, French Lick, IN.

• Oct. 3: Holcomb Valley History Tour by Backcountry 4x4 Adventure School, north of Big Bear Lake, CA.

• Oct. 3-5: Overland Expo East, Asheville, NC.

• Oct. 4: Getting Started Off-Road Driving Clinic by Badlands Off-Road Adventures, Hungry Valley SVRA, Gorman, CA.
Info: 310.374.8047,

• Oct. 5: Getting Started Off-Road Driving Clinic (day 2) by Badlands Off-Road Adventures, Mojave, CA.
Info: 310.374.8047,

• Oct. 6: Winch Clinic by Badlands Off-Road Adventures, Mojave, CA.
Info: 310.374.8047,

• Oct. 10: Getting Started Off-Road Driving Clinic by Badlands Off-Road Adventures, Borrego Springs, CA.
Info: 310.374.8047,

• Oct. 10-12: Bluewater Desert Challenge, Parker, AZ, by Best in the Desert.

• Oct. 10-12: Total 4x4 Adventure Class by Backcountry 4x4 Adventure School, Big Bear Lake, CA.

• Oct. 11: Advanced Off-Road 201 Course, Kansas Rocks Recreation Park, Mapleton, KS.

• Oct. 11: Jeep Owner Orientation Class by Backcountry 4x4 Adventure School, Big Bear Lake, CA.

• Oct. 12: Getting Started Off-Road Driving Clinic (day 2) by Badlands Off-Road Adventures, Borrego Springs, CA.
Info: 310.374.8047,

• Oct. 13: Winch Clinic by Badlands Off-Road Adventures, Borrego Springs, CA.
Info: 310.374.8047,

• Oct. 16-18: Moab Jeep Jamboree, Moab, UT.

• Oct. 17-18: Operation Desert Fun by the California Association of 4WD Clubs, Truckhaven 4x4 Training Facility near Borrego Springs, CA.

• Oct. 18: Creepy Crawl Halloween Event, Kansas Rocks Recreation Park, Mapleton, KS.

• Oct. 18: Advanced Black Diamond Class by Backcountry 4x4 Adventure School, Big Bear Lake, CA.

• Oct. 19: Kansas Rocks Recreation Park open to public, Mapleton, KS.

• Oct. 19: Getting Unstuck Vehicle Recovery Class by Backcountry 4x4 Adventure School, Big Bear Lake, CA.

• Oct. 23-25: Gateway to the Cumberlands Jeep Jamboree, Williamsburg, KY.

• Oct. 23-25: Ouachita Jeep Jamboree, Hot Springs, AR.

• Oct. 24-27: Death Valley Expedition by Badlands Off-Road Adventures, Death Valley National Park, CA. Info: 310.374.8047,

• Oct. 25: Toys for Tots hill climb, Haspin Acres Off-Road & Motocross Park, Laurel, IN.

• Oct. 25-26: GrizzlyConTrail Adventure by Backcountry 4x4 Adventure School, Big Bear Lake, CA.

• Oct. 26: Holcomb Creek, Dishpan Springs, Lower Larga Black Diamond Challenge by Backcountry 4x4 Adventure School, Big Bear Lake, CA.

• Oct. 30–Nov. 1: Cullman Alabama Jeep Jamboree, Cullman, AL.

• 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 numbers and/or email/website address—to Calendar, 4-Wheel & Off-Road magazine, 831 S. Douglas St., El Segundo, CA 90245; fax 818.566.8501; email Please submit your info at least four months in advance of the event due to our press lead times.

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