Jeep News And Rumors
* GM is seriously thinking of giving itself Chrysler as a New Year's gift.
* Wait, Nissan also wants in on that action?
* Hold on, could it be true that GM doesn't want Jeep in that Chrysler deal because it's not direct competition?
* So, GM and Chrysler would be a merger, not a purchase/elimination of Chrysler?
* Did we hear that right? Renault and Nissan together want to buy a stake in Chrysler?
* Any hoot, Mopar will be offering more than 400 new performance parts in 2009, and some will be for Jeeps, including a lift kit and Dana 44 upgrades.
* One of the two shifts at the Jeep Liberty plant in Ohio is getting the ax. More than 800 jobs will be affected.
* If you start seeing pink vehicles in Vegas and Arizona, it's not a Mary Kay convention. The Tour Trekker from Pink Jeep Tours is its newest off-road sightseeing vehicle, complete with seating for 10, DVD players, and captain's seats. It's built on a Dodge 3500 chassis and has a 2-inch lift and 6.7L Cummins.
* The Willys in Willys-Overland has been inducted into the 2008 Automotive Hall of Fame. We speak of course of John North Willys, not Nick-N-Willy's Pizza.
* The headline to the announcement sucked us in right away: "AA Midwest makes inventory of vintage engine cores available to machine shops and engine builders." Said inventory goes back as far as 1929. Go to aaeq.net and click on "Memory Lane" to feel, um, sucked, too.
* Omix-Ada/Rugged Ridge scored a Best New Product nom at the SEMA show for its Extreme Heavy Duty (XHD) front bumper dealio for CJ/YJ/TJ models.
* Chrysler is killing off the Aspen and Dodge Durango.
* The redesigned Ford F-150 may not end up with a diesel engine after all.
* The Highway Loss Data Institute has some factoids to share: After studying insurance claims involving collisions with deer and other animals, it was discovered that this entanglement is about three times more likely to happen in November. Also, fatal crashes are up 50 percent since 2000. Texas has had the most deaths-227 from 1993-2007. Oh, we mean people, not Bambi, et al.
* These are usually referred to as "best automotive technological advances," but we much prefer the Yahoo! Autos take on it: "Top 10 Scariest New Car Features." Included on the list? The self-parking feature of the Lexus LS, the massaging driver's seat in the BMW 7 series, and Volvo's Personal Car Communicator-there's a heart monitor in the keyfob that'll warn you if, when you're approaching, it detects a heart beating inside the vehicle (likely attached to a body). So...would the 911 call be, "My key just told me there's someone inside my car. Hurry!"
* The Energy Information Administration knows you're wondering about gasoline inventory. The EIA says we're at the lowest number of barrels since 1967, and thanks for asking.
* Also wondering about how food is holding up? The Competitive Enterprise Institute says a report it released two years ago predicted the U.S. wouldn't have enough cropland to deal with the government-mandated corn-based ethanol usage without serious and immediate ramifications. It's ramifications time! The CEI says higher food prices and significant loss of both forests and grasslands have now happened, and thanks for asking.
Things to Do With Your JeepThe Jeep Jamboree's 2009 schedule has arrived. Check it out at jeepjamboreeusa.com/2009-schedule.htm. You'll find an alphabet of states hosting a Jambo: Arkansas, California, North Carolina, Utah, Wisconsin, and many other popular letters.
January 17-18, 11th Annual Superstition Mountain Run, hosted by San Diego 4 Wheelers, near El Centro, California, sd4wheel.com
March 6-8, 47th Annual Desert Safari, hosted by Tierra Del Sol Four Wheel Drive Club, Truckhaven, California, tds4x4.com
May 14-16, 8th Annual Illini 4x4 Safari, hosted by Two Rivers Jeep Club, Pittsfield, Illinois, trjc.com
August 6-8, 11th Annual 4x4 Blast, hosted by Two Rivers Jeep Club, Pittsfield, Illinois, trjc.com
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What We're Talking About Around the Office* The edit staff is made up of two early birds and one night owl.* Among the dreaded home projects: for one person, it's building a 12x8-foot shelf above garage door in 12-foot ceiling-ed garage. For another it's a new kitchen and flooring.* Deepest thought of the month: "Trying to sell a Jeep in this market is rough. It isn't modify or not ... it's sell it or just keep the thing cause I can't get what I want for it."* Shallowest thought of the month: "Heidi Montag wants to date me."
Not Jeep's Electric Jeep
Last issue we introduced Jeep's electric concept Wrangler. But while Chrysler is determining which end is up, there's a top-secret electric project building steam: Project Green Leaf. Land in Century, Florida, is being eyeballed as a potential location for a future plant that would build electric vehicles, and that vehicle's parts are rumored to be coming from a plant in France. According to northescambia.com, the Century plant would produce a vehicle that looks like a Willys Jeep, would hold a charge for about 60 miles, and would have pricing guesstimated at $20,000. The electric Jeep-like vehicle in France? We're guessing it's the Scarlette 4x4 from Tender. Its two-seater models feature 12 batteries located underneath the seats, and come in long and short wheelbases.
Reader's Ride: NASA Style
Jeeps come a tiny bit close to seeming a lotta bit lame when compared to what NASA calls off-road vehicles. This time, it's the newest lunar rover prototype. NASA engineers, astronauts, and geologists spent some time in the Arizona desert (often confused for Mars) doing field testing in two configurations. One allowed the crew to get on and off the SPR whenever they wanted to with spacesuits on, while the other configuration-referred to as Small Pressurized Rover, or SPR-added a module atop the rover's chassis that would allow the crew to sit inside and drive, sporting the spacesuit as needed for outside exploration. The testing was used to determine how the configurations performed on day trips and how comfortable the vehicle would be for longer durations.