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September 2007 4x4 News - RPM

Posted in Project Vehicles on September 1, 2007
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Photographers: Chris Doane For Brenda Priddy & Co.

The production version of the H3T (Codenamed GMT-745) has been spotted with minimal camouflage, revealing the new crew-cab body style. The Hummer H3T will drop squarely in the middle of the hotly contested midsize market, possibly becoming the most trailworthy vehicle in its class. The bed is expected to be about 4 by 4 feet in dimension and will be configurable through the use of add-ons, such as utility boxes and tonneau covers. Engine options will mirror the '08 Hummer H3 lineup, including the 5.3L V-8 and Alpha availability. Production is expected to begin late this summer, in time for a mid-2008 release as an '09 model year vehicle.

It does if you purchase a Chrysler Aspen or Dodge Durango in the near future. Chrysler has announced that they will offer a two-mode hybrid option next year on its big SUVs. This full-hybrid technology will be coupled with Chrysler's Multi-Displacement System cylinder deactivation technology. This system was co-developed with General Motors and BMW. The hybrid option should increase city fuel economy by 40 percent, and highway economy by 25 percent. General Motors will also have dual-mode hybrid versions of its popular Chevy Tahoe and GMC Yukon.

Trail-Gear, Inc. recently contributed $5,000 to the Tin Benders off-road club. The donation occurred at the Johnson Valley cleanup run this past April. Friday morning, hundreds of volunteers gathered for the cleanup and specific assignments were handed out. During the day-long cleanup, more than 10,000 pounds of trash and refuse were removed from the trails and dry lakes that make up Johnson Valley, aka "The Hammers." The material was sorted out and 80 percent was sent to recycling centers in nearby Yucca Valley. The money donated by Trail-Gear will be used to help keep trails open and maintained.

Friends of Four Wheeler magazine recently broke the record for the highest altitude achieved by a car. Driving an '86 Suzuki Samurai with a supercharger, low gearing, big tires, ARB Air Lockers and stronger axles, the Chilean team was able to set a new record of 21,942 feet atop the slopes of the Ojos del Salado. This is a volcanic range in the Atacama Desert on the Chilean and Argentinean border, and the second-highest mountain in the Western Hemisphere. This was the same range a German team driving Jeep Wrangler JKs used to make the previous record of 21,804, set about a month previous. This attempt involved over a year of not only planning, but also physical training that allowed for work in the extreme altitude.

For the first time ever, Toyota has outsold General Motors in global auto sales and in doing so has taken the title of the world's largest automaker-surpassing the General by about 90,000 vehicles in the first quarter of 2007. With the recent struggles of the American automakers, and the seemingly unstoppable onslaught from the Far East, it is to be seen if GM will be able to recapture its crown.

ORV Trails Theatened in Washington, Utah
The U.S. House of Representatives has passed legislation to create a 106,000-acre wilderness area in Washington's Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. The SEMA-opposed bill would close existing roads and trails. SEMA supports an alternative approach that would set aside 13,000 acres to allow the continued use of these routes. Wilderness designations are consequential to SEMA members since they potentially deny access to four-wheelers and curtail the equipment they purchase for backcountry activities.SEMA supports cooperative approaches to wilderness issues, such as establishing adjacent or nearby areas that are open to off-highway use. This includes "cherry-stem" roads as ORV corridors within the wilderness areas.

Congressional Democrats have also introduced legislation called "America's Red Rock Wilderness Act" to set aside 9.4 million acres of land in Utah as wilderness. The land is controlled by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and is located in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Capitol Reef National Park, Canyonlands National Park, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, and other areas. The goal of the legislation is to prevent road building, mining and drilling operations, and off-road vehicle use. For example, the bill threatens to close nearly 700 miles of legal, designated 4x4 trails in the San Rafael Swell. The SEMA-opposed legislation was introduced by lawmakers from Illinois and New York and lacks the support of the Utah Congressional delegation.

* Word is that Chevy TrailBlazer and platform mates GMC Envoy are dead when their life cycle is up.
* Navistar has counter-sued Ford for $2 billion, based on lost profits from rumors that Ford is developing a new diesel in-house to replace the Power Stroke before the 2012 contract is up.
* According to Diesel Forecast, U.S. diesel sales are up 39 percent and J.D. Power and Associates expects diesels and hybrids to make up a 9 percent share by 2009.

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