Jeep News & Rumors
*The X-ray vision glasses we sent away for were a total rip-off. There's $3.99 not well spent in this economy, as we could not see a heavily camo'd Grand Cherokee's intimates. However, with our naked eyes we noticed the redesign includes cool dual exhaust and that the rear suspension is either independent or a Watts link that now locates the solid axle-we're thinking Watts/solid axle.
*A '51 Willys sold for $104,500 at the Barrett-Jackson auction in Scottsdale, Arizona. It was a frame-off restoration, with a ".50-caliber, water-cooled machine gun mounted in the floor that 'fires' shots."
*One of the six teams competing in Australia's 2009 Iron Man Series (we refuse to say the Kellogg's Nutri-Grain portion of that series' title) is called Jeep Western Waves. Jeep is the vehicle sponsor of the event and also of this particular team, so now you get the Jeep part.
*WTH, Arizona? Apparently Wrangler carjackings are on the rise-three Tucson drivers in one week stared down the barrel of a gun courtesy of two Hispanic men "targeting Jeeps," according to KVOA News. Why? KVOA quoted Pima County Sheriff Lt. Michael O'Conner explained that, "down in Mexico there's been more and more times that they are using these Wranglers for specific uses down across the border, so we think that could be a reason."
*Hybrid says what? The two best-sellers in 2008? The Ford F-150 and the Chevy Silverado. Forbes.com used automaker-provided sales numbers from January to November 2008 to calculate. So, the worst-seller of 2008? The Hyundai Entourage minivan. Nipping at its ankles was the Chrysler Pacifica minivan-which has already been wisely killed by its maker. The Jeep Commander and Hummer H2 were also on the top 10 list of nonsellers.
*Never mind: Wrangler seats aren't headed for production in India. Looks like they'll be staying in the US of A.
Vehicles "That Sank Detroit"
See, it's not just us-U.S. News & World Report is calling the Compass a steaming pile, too. In writer Rick Newman's blog, he outlined the mistakes GM, Ford, and Chrysler made in terms of product, also known as "10 Cars That Sank Detroit." The Ford Pinto and Explorer made the cut, as did the Toyota Prius. The Compass is on the list because "Chrysler has oversaturated its strongest brand lineup in a desperate attempt to boost sales."
*Land Rover's G4 Challenge, a global driving and adventure event that started in 2003, is coming to an end so that Land Rover can focus on its '09 product lineup. Or as the Dear John letter began, "Given the severity of the global economic downturn and trading conditions...."
*Detroit Governor Jennifer Granholm signed a bill that will give $335 million in refundable tax credits to encourage companies to develop and build batteries in Michigan for hybrids and EVs.
*Shhh-you can almost hear someone whispering that Chrysler is thinking about building a car-based pickup. Shhh-you can almost hear that someone sniffing his socks.
*Chrysler Financial now has access to $1.5 billion in loans from the U.S. Department of Treasury's Troubled Asset Relief Program.
*New Goodyear MT/R Kevlar mud tire spied! Not much info was available at press time, but you should be able to buy the tire the moment you're reading this sentence. We're digging the asymmetrical and directional rubber with aggressive sidewall lugs and what we assume are Kevlar belts. But we're not digging left and right side specific tires.
*Heard of the National Alliance for Advanced Transportation Battery Cell Manufacture? Or by its street name, Alliance? It's a group of battery and advanced-materials companies in the U.S (including 3M), who've joined to produce advanced lithium ion battery cells. They'll develop one or more manufacturing and prototype centers the Alliance will share.
*You know the lighting and electronics supplier, Hella? It has turned 25 years old in the U.S. and Canada. Conduct parades in your neighborhood at will.
Jeep Brand Perception: It's What You'd Expect
Consumer Reports has released the results of its latest nationwide Car Brand Perceptions Survey. The Auto Pulse survey, conducted by Consumer Reports National Research Center, focuses on how consumers perceive and rank vehicle brands on safety, quality, value, performance, environmentally friendly/green, design/style, and technology/innovation. The brand with the strongest perception was Toyota. The weakest perception went to Jeep.
Things To Do With Your Jeep
March 7-8 and the first full weekend of every month, Jeep Skool, hosted by Jeep Skool, Mantua Corners, OH, jeepskool.com
March 28-29, 2nd Annual Texas Size Jeep Meet, hosted by Jeep-Nation.com and MyJeepForum.net, Trees Ranch Offroad Park, texassizejeepmeet.com, myjeepforum.net, or jeep-nation.com
April 18, RCrocs Club Competition, hosted by Blue Mountain Jeep Alliance and Rausch Creek Off-Road Park, Joliett, PA, rc4x4.org/rcforum/index.php/topic,4036.0.html
May 15-17, Jeep Beach, hosted by Mid Florida Jeep Club, Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach, FL, midfloridajeepclub.com
May 23-24, 3rd Annual Rockstock, hosted by Mid Rivers Jeep Thing, Flatnasty Off-Road Park, near Salem, MO, midriversjeepthing.com
May 23-25, 3rd Annual Turtle Ridge Rock Challenge, hosted by Williamsburg Welfare Wheelers, Turtle Ridge ORV Park, Drummond Island, MI, williamsburgwelfarewheelers.com
June 18-20, 6th Annual National Scramble, hosted by the National Scrambler Owners Association, Superlift Off-Road Vehicle Park, Hot Springs, AR, cj-8.org
June 19-21, 12th Annual Big Bear Forest Fest XII, hosted by Inland Empire 4 Wheelers, San Bernardino National Forest, Big Bear, CA, ie4w.com
August 1-2, 3rd Annual Kawarthas Jeep Trail Fest, hosted by London & Area Jeep Owners Club, Bobcaygeon, Ontario, Canada, trailfest.ca
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Spy Photos: Ginormous Jeep Spotted in Dubai
Reader Paul Wade sent us these snaps. If you look closely behind the grille you can see there is an engine, steering wheel, front bumper, air cleaner, axles, brakes, and steering components. Might be based off an old military 2 1/2-ton truck. It looks as though this thing is going to actually drive when it's done! The operator will peer through the slats in the grille! I suspect they built the body using the smaller Jeep tub to the left as a model and slapped it on a large quarry truck of some sort and set it rolling on what look like aircraft tires. Wild. I would love to see this thing in person and, gawd, to drive it would simply be awesome. Sooo, Sheik whoever-you-are that is having this thing built, please send your private jet to pick me up. I've got my camera and I'm ready to go.-John Cappa
*ExxonMobil will be coughing up almost $6.1 million in penalties for violating a Clean Air Act agreement from 2005. That settlement had a $7.7 million penalty plus required $6.7 million in supplemental environmental projects and the addition of pollution controls at six of its U.S. refineries. While there were significant reductions in air emissions, the EPA wants full compliance with the terms of the settlement, and will continue to ride ExxonMobil's arse until that happens.
*Need a new idea for getting out of a speeding ticket? According to the Associated Press, a Nevada man beat a $62 citation by arguing that the speed-limit sign was too small and didn't meet 2003 traffic codes. Getting that info was probably made easier by the fact that the dude was a civil engineer with the Nevada Department of Transportation, but still-do your homework.
Jeep Patriot EV
When you've got a vehicle with sales up by more than 60 percent, what should be your next move? Who said, "Go electric"? You are correct-and should maybe be working for Chrysler, because that's exactly what has been unveiled: the Patriot EV. It's an '09 Patriot with an electric-drive motor, advanced lithium battery, and tiny gas engine with an integrated electric generator. It's another example of the automaker's range-extended EVs, with a claimed range of 400 miles-40 of them being all-electric operation. And yes, it's similar to the Wrangler EV you've already read about in the pages of Jp.
Stop "Cash for Clunkers" Bill
By the time you read this, we should know more about whether a nationwide "cash for clunkers" bill has passed. Senator Susan Collins of Maine is one of the politicians trying to disguise this program as such: "This legislation would give consumers incentive to turn over their old, inefficient vehicles, saving 80,000 barrels of motor fuel everyday. Taking these cars and trucks off our roads and highways would...stimulate the economy. In addition, it would help boost demand for manufacturers of newer, efficient models and bring in new business for car dealers who are struggling in the current economy." It's never too late (we hope) to oppose this, so send your hate mail to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi at speaker.house.gov/contact.