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September 2006 4x4 News - RPM

Posted in Project Vehicles on September 1, 2006
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The Hummer H1, the consumer version of the military Humvee and one of the most capable four-wheelers of all time, is being retired by General Motors at the end of the '06 model year. The Hummer, as it was originally known, was introduced in 1992 by AM General, launching a brand that would make a name for itself in the industry, eventually spawning a line of Humvee-influenced vehicles. The name of the vehicle was changed to H1 after GM bought the rights to the Hummer brand in 2000, and over 12,000 have been sold to date. AM General says that retail H1 production is being switched over to military production to fulfill the military's increasing needs, but they will continue to work with GM to produce the H2, which is built at AM General's Mishawaka, Indiana, plant. The Hummer brand has other products in the works, such as the H4, and promises that the brand will continue to incite emotions in people and will never leave the DNA and the heritage of the H1 behind.

Here is one of the best looks yet of the '07 Ford Super Duty, which will feature an all-new interior, similar to the F-150, and freshened front and rear styling. As you can see from these pictures, the bumper height has been dropped, and a new vertical headlight stack replaces the current design. The grille and Blue Ovals will be much larger, and "Super Duty" is emblazoned across the hood. Land Rover-style vents adorn the fenders, and a new twin-turbo 350hp and 650lb-ft of torque 6.4L Powerstroke V-8 resides under the hood.

This past May, using its state-of-the-art touch-screen navigation system, an '06 Land Rover LR3 parked in the cargo hold of a C-130 Hercules cargo plane successfully navigated the plane from Nice, France, to the Mediterranean island of Corsica at an altitude of 9,000 feet. With its off-highway mode, the LR3 and its navigation work well in the dirt too.

Like the other books from the Mitchells' collection, Great Basin SUV Trails II is a comprehensive trail guide-book, geared for the weekend warrior in the family SUV. Not all of the 34 trails covered in this book are hard-core or require four-wheel drive, but they all have scenic, historic, or adventurous value. Concentrating on southwestern Nevada, the book is appealing to those who enjoy the exploration of old mining districts and desert history, as well as wheeling in the backcountry of the old West. Great Basin SUV Trails II has great information about each trail, including geology, plant life, and history with pictures and remarks, and includes such important information as distance, length, GPS coordinates, as well as a rating system for each trail so explorers know what to expect. As with all Mitchell guidebooks, we highly recommend this one.
-Sean P. Holman

Tech Editor Sean Holman and Four Wheeler TV host Bob Bower recently co-drove with Team Hummer in the Best in the Desert's Terrible Town 250 desert race in Pahrump, Nevada. Bob co-drove Team Hummer's H3 with racing legend Rod Hall in the driver seat, and Sean co-drove for Josh Hall in the highly competitive H2. Both vehicles won their respective classes, and we'll have a story on our experiences in an upcoming issue.

For the '07 model year, all Dodge Dakota, Durango, and Ram trucks, along with Jeep Commander and Jeep Grand Cherokee models equipped with the 4.7L V-8, will be capable of running E85 ethanol fuel. The company plans to sell more than 250,000 flexible fuel vehicles capable of running on any mixture of gasoline and E85 fuels in 2007. DaimlerChrysler already has 1.5 million FFVs on the roads.

Four-Wheelers Lose Round In Fight to Restore Access to California Dunes
In a blow to Southern California off-roaders, a federal judge struck down a plan by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to allow four-wheeling on large sections of the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area that were originally closed in 2000. The court ruled that the BLM violated the Endangered Species Act and other federal laws in proposing to reopen approximately 49,000 acres in four areas of the desert dunes to dune buggies and other all-terrain vehicles. In its ruling, the court stated that BLM relied on a flawed report from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service which concurred that the dunes could be reopened without "jeopardizing" the existence of the Peirson's Milk Vetch, an abundant desert plant which was placed on the endangered species list in 1998. The court ordered all parties to file briefs by March 28 outlining potential uses for the closed portions of the dunes. While the SAN supports a balanced approach between land access and conservation, it is disappointed that the court did not accord more deference to the federal agencies that are best suited to determine which areas of the dunes should be open for public access.

* Ford is planning to produce a new reality TV show about car design.

* Confirming our suspicions, R.L. Polk & Co. reports that U.S. diesel registrations are up 80 percent since 2000.

* It is official-the Land Rover Freelander replacement will be called the LR2.

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