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September 2007 Best Whoops! Ever Part 1

4x4 Under Water
Posted September 1, 2007

30 Years of Floaters!, Rollovers! And Belly-Up Stucks!

Our "best"-themed specials are difficult to do. First, we say goodbye to our life for a couple of days-we're talking 30 years of history to rummage through! Second, we become easily distracted. Traveling deep into the bowels of our office building to get to where all the old issues of 4-Wheel & Off-Road are stored is a lot like when you stumble upon that box in the back of your closet overflowing with old photos. Loads of memories-and many flashbacks of bad hair. Even though we were on a Whoops! mission, we probably lost a full day simply cruising through old news columns and tech stories (the bad-hair cup runneth over).

Once we refocused on collecting Whoops!-which used to be part of our Tailgate department back in the '80s-we had the difficult task of culling the best of the bunch. Is there really such thing as a bad Whoops!? No-and we failed miserably at narrowing them down. So that's why we're putting together two Best Whoops! special editions. This month's will focus on the first 15 years of submissions to the magazine, and the second round will appear next month, featuring the last 15 years. We've left the entries exactly as they ran in the day-complete with their cheesy text and dated humor.

And, as always, keep your Whoops! coming!

Send yours to:
4-Wheel & Off-Road
6420 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90048
E-mail to:

Check Out the Flying Grille
"Take two aspirin."
Photos by Dave Silvernail, July '84


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"Dang it, Mona, when I said we had high-flotation tires, I didn't mean...."
Photo by Steve Haffner, July '86

Mud Hole 1, New Engine 0
I was at Little Rock Dam near Palmdale, California, with my '74 Chevy truck. It seemed like a good place to test the recently installed 350ci engine, but before I knew what was happening, this mud hole "jumped" out in front of me, and I was stuck. Luckily, my pal Joe was nearby with his '77 Chevy 4x4 to pull me out. Nothing broke, but the frame was really twisted.
Dave Beaudin, Sun Valley, CA, Dec. '91

Tropical Mud
This picture was taken while I was stationed in Hawaii with the Navy. We were on our way home in my stock '79 CJ-7 Renegade and we saw this harmless-looking mud hole. I thought I would just buzz right through and sling some mud. Next time, I guess I'll be sure to lock in the hubs before I assume how harmless something is.
Robert LaGrange, Arp, TX, Oct. '88

Not the Loch Ness
We are not really sure how the gentleman in this photo came to find himself in this situation. It must just be his way of cooling off after a long, hot day of fishing on Folsom Lake.
Bill Wallis, Orangevale, CA, Aug. '88

Water World
"Artie, I told ya: Don't never pick a campsite when the tide's out."
Photo by Tim McGuire, July '86

Stuck, Stuck
I shot this picture along the lower Salt River near Mesa, Arizona. The river is a popular place to off-road for all types of four-wheel drives. The older, gray Toyota got stuck on an underwater cliff. The newer, white Toyota went in to help and you can see what happened to him. The Suburban couldn't haul either vehicle out. Finally, another Toyota hauled the gray truck out and the white truck was pulled across to the other shore.
Philip A. Fortnam, Scottsdale, AZ, Nov. '88

It Was Totaled?!
I just developed some pictures taken two years ago of my friend and his Jeep. The Jeep was wrecked, but my friend managed to save the radio and console.
Tim McCarthy, Potomac, MD, May '88

Stuck in a Foreign Land
Lt. Col. Joe Worley took this photo when the temperature was over 130 degrees Fahrenheit. We all get stuck occasionally when off-roading, but to get unstuck in that kind of heat means these two Army majors deserve a special four-wheeling award. Joe says that his field artillery unit is stationed in Saudi Arabia to advise its National Guard. He's based in the capital of Riyadh and says that his unit travels considerably throughout the desert. "We exclusively use GMC Jimmys and Suburbans (buy American) and we get great service out of them," he writes. This Jimmy is buried up to its axles in Arabian sand. "The two gentlemen studying the problem are about to practice sand ladder extraction over a very long distance before freeing the vehicle," says Joe. Come on, Colonel, don't you think you ought to help out a little bit?
4-Wheel & Off-Road staff, Dec. '87

Not Thelma or Louise
We were two girls in a Toyota on the Upper Eel River for a fishing trip. We made it across the river, but the bank gave way and the truck floated downriver about 15 feet. Just on the other side of the truck is a 15-foot waterhole. We got towed out three hours later, and the "mini-sub" started like a true Toyota. We gave a yell and went on fishing, but with our poles this time.
Cricket Thibeault and Ronda Card,
Santa Rosa, CA, Apr. '91

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