If you need any indication of how starved enthusiasts are for another real Jeep, surf the net and check out the postings and news items from the period in which a rugged Wrangler was snapped by a photographer. Turned out to be this, the military J8. It's a watered-down military Jeep, meaning it's not equipped to see hard-core combat (no front-line work). While it was built off the JK Unlimited platform, it does have a few notable differences, including a Dana 60/leaf springs rear, a heavy-duty bumper, and a 158hp, 2.8L, four-cylinder diesel engine hooked to a five-speed transmission. There's also a snorkel and air-intake system designed for fording water and functioning in sandstorms, and it's available as a two-door with a bed.
It's being produced by Chrysler but in Egypt for non-North American markets. Chrysler just announced the J8, which we find weird because it seems they've been selling it for a while. Could Chrysler be gauging interest . . . you know, in a future Jeep pickup? We're going to get our hands on a J8 soon for a testdrive, so wait on the edge of your love seat for more details!
Jan. 4, Tread Lightly! Tread Trainer Clinic #1, hosted by Badlands Off-Road Adventures, Hungry Valley SVRA, Gorman, California; 310/374-8047, www.4x4training.com
Jan. 5, Tread Lightly! Tread Trainer Clinic #2, hosted by Badlands Off-Road Adventures, Hungry Valley SVRA, Gorman, California; 310/374-8047, www.4x4training.com
Jan. 6, Rock Skills Clinic hosted by Badlands Off-Road Adventures, Calico, California; 310/374-8047, www.4x4training.com
Jan. 12, Beginning Off-Road 4x4 Skills Clinic, hosted by Badlands Off-Road Adventures, Hungry Valley SVRA, Gorman, California; 310/374-8047, www.4x4training.com
Jan. 13, 4WD Sand Driving Clinic, hosted by Badlands Off-Road Adventures, Oceano Dunes, Pismo, California; 310/374-8047, www.4x4training.com
Jan. 14-15, Getting Started Off-Road 4x4 Skills Clinic, hosted by Badlands Off-Road Adventures, Hungry Valley SVRA, Gorman, California; 310/374-8047, www.4x4training.com
Jan. 19-20, 10th Annual Superstition Mountain Run, San Diego 4 Wheelers, Superstition Mountain OHRA, California; www.sd4wheel.com
Jan. 19-20, Peach Cobbler Trail, hosted by Badlands Off-Road Adventures, Johnson Valley, Lucerne, California; 310/374-8047, www.4x4training.com
Jan. 21, Ruts & Ridges, hosted by Badlands Off-Road Adventures, Wrightwood, California; 310/374-8047, www.4x4training.com
Jan. 25, Winching Clinic, hosted by Badlands Off-Road Adventures, Ocotillo Wells, Borrego Springs, California; 310/374-8047, www.4x4training.com
Jan. 26-27, Getting Started Off-Road 4x4 Skills Clinic, hosted by Badlands Off-Road Adventures, Ocotillo Wells, Borrego Springs, California; 310/374-8047, www.4x4training.com
Want people to know about your club event? You have to tell them about it-but tell us first. Keep your info simple by following this format (seriously, we don't want or need more than this). Review the calendar listings here for further hand-holding. Feel free to also provide a high-resolution photo related to the event. Maybe we'll run it. Maybe we won't. Make it a minimum of 2 megapixels and in .eps or .tiff, or the maximum-quality jpeg. Just read all that to your camera, and it will know what to do.
* Name of event
* Name of host club
* Date of event
* Location of event (venue/trail, city, state)
* Web site or phone number you wanted listed in print
Keep in mind that if you don't follow this format, we'll list any phone number we find in what you submitted-so enjoy the calls from readers at 3 a.m. Editor Cappa does. You can snail mail info to Jp Magazine, Things to Do with Your Jeep, 6420 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90048, or e-mail email@example.com (make the subject line "Things To Do With Your Jeep").
* Here's something you don't see any day-Toyota is recalling floormats!
* The best excuse to spend $48,310 on a Dodge Ram? A free felt cowboy hat! Watch for the Resistol Edition of the 3500 come 2008 and know that "Buy a truck, get a hat" worked on someone. Don't point.
* Seattle's new street car line was supposedly going to be called South Lake Union Trolley. Now it's officially named South Lake Union Streetcar-that's SLUS. Imagine the acronym if they'd gone with the other.
* A new federal program will hand out $109 million to promote and enforce seatbelt use. Jp Magazine says, "Give a hoot-wear a seatbeloot." One million dollars made out to Jp, please! Oh, only states and territories are getting the financial action.
* The Guardian Unlimited reports that Saudi Arabian women are preparing to fight a ban on female drivers.
* Automakers are being required to provide head protection for side-impact crashes. Phase-in starts in 2009.
"The Jeep brand is inviting contestants to lick their way through one of seven chocolate-covered Jeep vehicles."
*Question: What are 300,000 vehicles? Answer: What Chrysler is about to recall. Close to 300K '07 Grand Cherokees, Commanders, and Wranglers have a funk in the electronic braking system, which could lead to stopping the vehicle properly-or could result in a delay on, say, a hill.
*The models Chrysler is likely to kill in Newsweek's humble opinion? The Commander and Compass. Plus, the Liberty should be nervous about being more expensive than the Patriot.
* If we ever have to do time in the Gray Bar Hotel, we hope to score a cool prison nickname, like The Hammer or The Enforcer or Christian Hazel. Unfortunately, Jeep Man will already be taken. According to WALB News, Rolland Wayne Rich, who sold autos under the business name Jeep Man, is being charged with 10 felonies for stolen property, including lawn equipment.
You know how diehards get pretty peeved when Zeppelin music starts showing up in ads for feminine products? Meet Jeep's feminine product; decide whether to be peeved about this new line of performance coatings that includes collections for exterior wood and concrete floors. The deal was done with UCP Paint, a Canadian coatings manufacturer.
* Trent McGee, host of TV's Superlift's Off-Road Adventures, is moving to Daystar, voiding him from our airwaves. Praise the heavens (or hell) for DVD technology so that he can live on in your house.
* "It is with great regret that we announce the closing of Nth Degree Mobility. We have suffered a series of setbacks over the past seven months that we have been unable to recover from, and so with great regret, we have closed our doors." That was the message on Nth Degree Mobility's Web site, but if you're a fan of its suspension kits, American Expedition Vehicles has stepped in and picked up a "significant portion" of Nth Degree's inventory and product line.
The pitch: "The Roanoke is designed and engineered for 20- to 35-year-olds that have a passion for the outdoors and need precise performance in a vehicle that is fun and environmentally friendly." The Jeep: It was designed by Tyler Mars, a student at the College of Creative Studies, and engineered by Zoheb Kahn, a University of Michigan product, and features a mid-engine setup, exposed framework, a V-6 turbodiesel, a "Tweel" wheel-and-suspension package, and a steel exoskeleton. The scoop: It's a concept vehicle from design and engineering students from CCS and UM for the 19th annual American Iron and Steel Institute summer automotive design internship. We learned to roller skate one summer.
"We are building 583 Wranglers a day, which is what we projected the market would hold. However, we are getting orders for over 1,000 vehicles a day."
-Bruce Baumhower, president of the United Auto Workers Local 12, to The Toledo Blade about unpredicted high demand for the four-door JK
* Match the staffer to his requested Christmas gift, and you win a chance to buy it: a California concealed-weapons permit? How about 12-bolt Hummer rims? A trip to the Cook Islands?
* Best new products used this year? Hazel dug the Toyo MT, while Pete was all over the Fitch Fuel Catalyst. Cappa was pretty stoked on the Warn Powerplant winch with built-in air pump.
* If the Christmas lights set the house ablaze, what would get grabbed first? Pete = M715. Cappa = Juggy. Hazel = DJ-3A. Firemen would save the family members.
* This month, the editors turned way Oprah when reflecting on 2007. Actual things said: "My new year's resolution is to spend more time with my parents" and "I'm happy with my imperfections."
* Guess who was on the football team in high school and snagged the head cheerleader as his future wife?
* Someone drove an '89 Camaro about 135 mph. The office next door claimed about 130 mph in a '69 Cutlass.