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June 2008 4x4 News - RPM

Drivers Side Rear
Sean P. Holman | Writer
Posted June 1, 2008
Photographers: Brenda Priddy & Company

Caught Again!

Raptor
Last month we brought you a spy photo of the upcoming Ford F-150 Raptor, and shortly after we broke the news, our spy photographers got busy snapping up a few more. This is the best shot of the development mule we have gotten to date, and it gives us a better picture of some of the things we were speculating about, such as being wider than an F-150, sporting fender bulges to cover the wider track, and the use of 35-inch tires, which on this mule turn out to be the LT metric-equivalent 325/70R17s. Also, our man behind the lens confirmed these are gasoline-powered trucks, which are betrayed by the tailpipe design and "Premium Fuel Only" seen on the dash, once again playing in to our speculation of a high-performance engine.

If You Have To Ask How Much
It is quite possible that Europe's Unicat Expedition Vehicles make the coolest expedition 4x4s on earth. Unfortunately, due to import regulations, these rigs have not been available for U.S. consumption. After a partnership between Unicat and Unicat Americas was formed in 2005, work began on a product for the Americas. With the introduction of the Amerigo line of expedition vehicles, it is now possible to have your own U.S.-spec rig worthy of chasing your dreams in the African Kalahari or driving from Alaska to Chile. The Amerigo is built on either a Freightliner Unimog or International 7400 chassis, available in 4x4 or 6x6 drivetrain, and with 193- to 250-inch wheelbases. Options include motorcycle or boat racks, Self Extraction kit, and a BGAN voice and data global communications system. These vehicles feature all of the amenities of a luxury RV and don't require specialized licenses to operate. Unicat Americas also specializes in trip preparation and outfitting, shipping to far-off places on the globe, and provides global logistics and support services. To check out some awesome photography and endless build configurations, point your browser to www.unicatamericas.com. We are working on a testdrive and hope to have more information in a future issue of Four Wheeler.

Jeep ORT Rumors
Back at SEMA, Jeep launched something called Off Road Technology, or ORT, an off-road counterpart to the SRT division, which has created some well-known, factory-tuned hot rods. What does this mean for us? Well, we have been hearing rumors of factory-tuned wheelers by ORT, beginning with the Jeep Wrangler and utilizing some recently announced products, such as Mopar/Jeep Performance Part's 4.5-inch Long Arm kit, based on the very same setup we have on our Project 'Con Artist. No word from the reps at Chrysler, but with Easter Jeep Safari in Moab just around the corner, wouldn't that be a great place to make an official announcement?

Super Duty To Get Spray-In Liner
According to pickuptruck.com, Ford will become the second OE manufacturer to offer a spray-in bedliner from the factory. The Ford version, co-developed with PPG and dubbed Tough Bed, will first be offered on Ford's 2009 Super Duty pickup trucks. The Tough Bed liner will be applied robotically, will be covered by Ford's standard 3-year/36,000-mile warranty, is said to resist UV fading, and is strong enough for military-grade use. It will only be offered in black.

Not For U.S.
Have any of you Nissan fans ever longed for the rugged simplicity of a regular-cab Nissan Frontier-with a diesel? Well, it turns out such a truck exists in the form of Nissan's Frontier Navara, which is only available overseas. Siam Nissan Automobile Co., Ltd, announced that its Frontier Navara would be available in a single-cab configuration, powered by its YD25DDTi 16-valve 2.5L turbodiesel four-cylinder. This engine puts out 172 hp and 297 lb-ft of torque, backed by a five-speed manual transmission, which sounds just right to us. The Nissan Frontier Navara is built in Thailand.

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