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November 2005 4x4 News - RPM

Posted in Project Vehicles on November 1, 2005
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Here is a spy shot of the upcoming, five-passenger Jeep Compass crossover vehicle. The Compass will be built on Mitsubishi's front-wheel-drive Lancer platform and will have AWD as an option. This will likely be the first Jeep vehicle to not carry the "Trail Rated" badge and is hoped will bring the brand in reach of a new type of customer, helping to grow the Jeep brand and provide more diversity in the showroom.

The Gelandewagen may be at the end of its rope, but Mercedes isn't ignoring the niche. Based on the recently introduced unibody ML-class, the G-wagen's replacement will be known externally as the GL-class. The GL-class will feature a variety of powertrains worldwide, including a 320hp 4.6L and a 408hp 5.5L V-8. There will also be diesel options, as well as an AMG version. Rumor has it that there will even be a two-speed transfer case and off-road package for enthusiasts.

Could this be H2much?

Here is one for you. We just got word that there is such a thing as "The World's Fastest Hummer." With an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph, the world's fastest Hummer comes from, the leading European tuner of American automobiles. This super H2 is equipped with a bored-out 7.0L supercharged V-8 Corvette engine delivering a maximum power output of 700 hp and 653 lb-ft of torque. Added to that is an exclusive luxury equipment package with 28-inch chrome wheels, sport suspension, high-performance brake system, pearl-effect special paint, and an exclusive interior complete with multimedia system. Zero to 60 mph comes in a tick below 6.5 seconds, and the blingy 28-inch wheels run 325/35 tires. Now, if we could just get ours in all black, sans the shiny stuff, with Z-rated 37-inch meats, we might have something to talk about. And the price? 200,000 hard-earned Euros.

One of the largest 4x4 trade shows in the U.S., Off Road Expo has sometimes been called the "poor man's SEMA Show," and while it's similar to SEMA in its broad industry participation, in two ways it's even better: Unlike SEMA, Off Road Expo is four-wheel-drive-only, and it's open to the public. This year's Expo takes place October 8-9, 2005 at the Pomona Fairplex in Pomona, California. Hundreds of companies representing the spectrum of the 4x4 marketplace will be showing their wares, and 44,000 folks are expected to attend the weekend gathering. Admission to the show is $12, and kids under 12 get in free. Information: 626/599-8622,

In July 2005, more than 1,200 Jeep owners gathered at the picturesque resort Chateau de Lastours in Southern France for the largest-ever Euro Camp Jeep. The fifth annual event drew enthusiasts from more than 20 countries and remains the largest single-brand 4x4 gathering in Europe.

The first 2006 Jeep Commanders began rolling off the assembly line at the Jefferson North Assembly Plant (JNAP) in Detroit this past July. Sharing its home with the Jeep Grand Cherokee, this marks the first time that more than one vehicle model has been built at a time at JNAP. This flexibility won't stop at JNAP, as several other Chrysler Group plants are slated to build more than one model at a time, in batches as small as one vehicle, allowing this manufacturer to quickly adapt to changing buying trends.

Beginning in July, all 2006 model Ford Division cars, pickups, and SUVs in the U.S. will bear gas caps recommending BP fuels to customers as an extension of a unique relationship the company has developed with this fuel provider. It is the first time in the United States that a major auto manufacturer has recommended an energy company's fuels. Early joint efforts for the Ford/BP filler cap initiative in Europe have been very successful, and have paved the way for the current launch in the U.S. Nearly 3 million Ford products in the U.S. will feature fuel caps with "Ford recommends BP" and the BP Helios logo. Ford has selected BP as the primary supplier of initial fuel for its products as they roll off the assembly line.

An AEV 570 Jeep HEMI Wrangler Can be YoursA one-of-a-kind American Expedition Vehicle (AEV) 570 Jeep HEMI Wrangler will be raffled off in Missoula, Montana, as a fundraiser for the Missoula Skatepark Association. Only 2,000 tickets will be sold at $100 apiece. All profits from this raffle will go towards the construction of the first free, concrete, public skatepark in Missoula. Raffle tickets can be purchased online at and will continue to be sold until the 2,000 tickets have been purchased. At that time, one winner will be chosen. No specific drawing date has been set.

Each year, the California Association of Four Wheel Drive Clubs (CA4WDC) buys a brand-new Jeep, sets it up with every cool aftermarket option you could think of, and then gives it away. In February 2006, CA4WDC will be at it again with a new Jeep TJ. Rolling on a Rubicon Express lift and 35-inch BFGoodrich tires, this dream Jeep sports ARB lockers, a Warn winch, Hanson Bumpers, Kilby onboard air, Tuffy boxes, Currie Anti-Rock, Superior Axles, and an Atlas II transfer case. All for a $2 raffle ticket, and you don't have to be present to win. For information on how to get in on some cheep Jeep action, call 800/4x4-FUNN or visit

Is The Endangered Species Act Working?
After 32 years and hundreds of millions of dollars, is the Endangered Species Act (ESA) working? That's the question asked in a comprehensive review of law ordered by House Resources Committee Chairman Richard Pombo (R-CA). The document, titled "Threatened and Endangered Species Recovery Act of 2005," identifies areas of concern and possible ways to address them. Enacted in 1973, the ESA currently provides protection to 1,800 species and their surrounding habitat. For years, property owners and four-wheelers have argued that the law allows the government to quickly list a species and designate the surrounding area off-limits. In its criticism of the ESA, the report focuses on the high cost of compliance for landowners combined with the subpar results in species recovery. The 84-page document claims that only 10 species have been recovered and that 60 percent of listed species have an uncertain or declining status. Environmental groups have countered these figures by asserting that species recovery is a long-term goal and that many of the species in question were placed on the list only in the past 15 years. The report also calls for greater input by states, the revision of critical habitat rules, and the establishment of an administrative appeal process similar to the one set forth in the Healthy Forest Act. The appeals process would encourage a mediation of issues before lawsuits can be filed. Chairman Pombo wants to incorporate the report's recommendations into an ESA reform bill. In conjunction with the introduction of this legislation, SEMA and SAN joined with the Off-Road Business Association (ORBA) and the Blue Ribbon Coalition (BRC) to sponsor a Washington, D.C. Summit for Motorized Off-Highway Vehicle Registration on July 12 and 13. Participants asked members of Congress to support and promote ESA reform legislation. Participants also attended a Congressional reception and a House Resources Committee hearing on "Motorized Recreational Use on Federal Land." Chairman Pombo requested the Summit as a mechanism to help generate support for his bill.

Four-Wheeling Faces Park Service Review
Following in the footsteps of the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service, the National Park Service (NPS) has begun a nationwide review of off-highway vehicle (OHV) use and regulations within the National Park System. Operating under an executive order from the 1970s, NPS regulates OHV use on a specific park-by-park basis, factoring in environmental impact and public input. NPS officials have indicated that it will be a couple of years before new regulations and policies are established. Officials have stated that the current review is at the most basic level, including defining what a road is and what qualifies as an OHV. Environmental groups claim that unregulated OHV use contributes to soil erosion and habitat destruction. The SAN continues support of regulation on a park-by-park basis as opposed to implementing a one-size-fits-all national policy.

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