1. home
  2. news
  3. Drivelines - May 2014

Drivelines - May 2014

The latest news from the industry

Trophy Truck Sets Speed Mark
Ever found yourself in a discussion—or bar bet—about just how fast a Trophy Truck is? Be prepared to collect (or pay up). Jay Reichert and his crew at R&D Motorsports took their Jimco-built Trophy Truck, nicknamed the War Machine, south of the border to the Laguna Salada dry lake in Baja last fall and hit 136 mph on the radar gun. The Guinness Book of World Records lists 124 mph as the current Trophy Truck record to beat, so it looks like Reichert has bragging rights at least. He’ll need to duplicate the effort in front of Guinness judges to make it official.

Based on a new-generation, lightweight Jimco chassis, the War Machine is powered by a Kroyer Racing Engines small-block V-8 and rolls on BFGoodrich tires.

“I just wanted to start a war and see who was the fastest in off-road racing,” said Reichert, who believes his truck has 140 mph or more in it, given the right conditions.

“I just wanted to start a war and see who was the fastest in off-road racing”

Mossy Oak Ram Returns
Missing in action for the ’13 model year, the Ram 1500 Mossy Oak edition is back in the lineup for 2014. Based on an Outdoorsman crew cab, the Mossy Oak Ram features the camo company’s Break-Up Infinity camouflage pattern on the bedrails, tailgate, and optional lower cladding. Inside the truck the instrument panel and door panels are also covered with the camo, while the Mossy Oak logo is embroidered on the seats and headrests. New this year, the Mossy Oak upgrades are available on trucks with the RamBox cargo storage system. Pricing for the camo Ram starts just a tick under $40,000.

4x4 of the Year Awarded
At the Los Angeles Auto Show, Rick Péwé, editor-in-chief of this magazine, presented Kim McCullough, brand vice president at Land Rover North America, with our 4x4 of the Year award for the 2014 Range Rover Sport. Land Rover’s win of the coveted industry award, now in its 32nd year, was announced last November after the annual testing resulted in top numbers going to the luxury SUV. Vehicles were tested and awarded points in a variety of categories, with the most weighted category being off-road capability. (The full story on the test ran in our Feb. ’14 issue.) This marks the second time Land Rover has taken home the award; the LR4 HSE earned the top spot in 2011.

This Just In
Johnson Valley is finally safe! The 2014 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which included a measure to protect off-highway vehicle access to Johnson Valley, was finally passed by Congress and the Senate and signed into law. According to SEMA, under a provision included within the NDAA, 79,000 acres of Johnson Valley are being transferred to the adjoining Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center at Twentynine Palms, California. The legislation also creates the “Johnson Valley Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation Area,” providing federal protection to more than 96,000 acres established in 1980 for OHV recreation by the state of California. Twice a year, 53,000 acres of the OHVA will be provided to the Marine Corps for 30 days of training exercises. No dud-producing ordinance will be used at that time in order to ensure safety and continued access to the area.

Chrysler is now wholly owned by Fiat. Early in 2014, the Italian automaker struck a deal to purchase the remaining stake in the company. This final payment, plus others that Fiat has made since it began acquisition following Chrysler’s 2009 bankruptcy, brings the total Fiat has paid for the company to more than $6.3 billion. As reported in Automotive News, Sergio Marchionne, CEO of both Fiat and Chrysler, says the merger will make the company the seventh largest automaker in the world.

Ford’s F-150 pickup was the best-selling vehicle, car or truck, in 2013. This marks the 32nd consecutive year it has earned the title and the 37th year it was ranked the best-selling truck. Chevy’s Silverado came in second in both total vehicle sales and truck sales for the year.

Earth Watch
Daystar Products will join forces with the El Dorado County Parks Division of El Dorado, California, to adopt a half-mile portion of the Rubicon Trail. Daystar will adopt the section from the beginning of Buck Island Dam to the Crest of the Big Sluice. “This is an opportunity for Daystar Products to give back to what we have enjoyed for such a long time, and we look forward to maintaining the beauty that the Rubicon Trail offers,” said Daystar Products CEO Mark Turner.

SEMA reports that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has agreed to lower targets for ethanol/gasoline blends. The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), written in 2007, requires an increasing amount of biofuel be blended into gasoline each year, from 9 billion gallons in 2008 to 36 billion by 2022. However, nearly all gasoline sold in the United States contains up to 10 percent ethanol (E10), and there is widespread opposition to increasing that amount to 15 percent (E15). As SEMA put it, we have hit the “E10 blend wall” in terms of public acceptance of the biofuel, given the harm it can do to engine components. SEMA has joined with a number of other organizations representing a variety of industries in asking Congress to repeal or scale back the RFS biofuel mandates and to ban the sale of E15.

Hot Rod Teams With Baja Social Club
The makers of the documentary film Baja Social Club are working with Hot Rod magazine and Source Interlink Media archivist Thomas Voehringer to incorporate Hot Rod’s photos from the earliest days of Baja racing into the film. Magazine staffers covered the races from their beginnings in 1967 and participated in several too, helping to bring national attention to the fledgling event. Beyond Baja, Hot Rod was also involved with other off-road races and teams; note the magazine’s logo prominently displayed on the front fenders of these Stroppe-prepped Broncos at the 1968 NORRA Stardust 7-11.

The documentary, slated for release this year, mixes modern Baja race footage with newly discovered 16mm film from the first NORRA races. The stars are several off-road-racing pioneers, including inaugural 1967 NORRA Mexican 1000 winner Vic Wilson, fiberglass dune buggy inventor Bruce Meyer, 21-time Baja winner Walker Evans, motorcycle legend Malcolm Smith and his son Alexander, and racing legend Parnelli Jones, who returned to Baja in conjunction with the new NORRA Mexican 1000 rally.

Voss Wins Best in the Desert Championship
Jason Voss was a big winner at the end of the 2013 Best in the Desert (BITD) off-road racing series. Voss and his Ford won their first Trick Truck Championship, the Grand Championship for the Car and Truck Classes, the Camburg Best in the Desert Award (given for the fastest average speed for all combined race miles), and the Trick Truck Challenge Cup.

This was the third year BITD held the Trick Truck Challenge. Voss earned the cup with two First Place Trick Truck finishes, a Second Place, two Thirds, and a Fourth.

Beware the Reaper
Chevy truck fans who wish GM had a Raptor beater should check out the Reaper, a high-performance Silverado half-ton being built by Lingenfelter Performance Engineering in conjunction with Southern Comfort Automotive. Each Reaper is outfitted with a 3-inch lift and long-travel suspension, Fox racing shocks, General Grabber tires on 20-inch wheels, and a number of body pieces—a new front clip, hood, and wide-body fender flares—to give the truck a more aggressive look. The standard Reaper package also includes a Lingenfelter performance exhaust system, but the truly power hungry will want the optional supercharger. A 17-inch beadlock wheel/tire package and matte paint are other options available; soon to come are an increased cooling package and a rear locker.

The trucks are being built at Southern Comfort Automotive in Alabama (an authorized GM upfitter for trucks and vans). Lingenfelter’s vice president of operations, Mike Copeland, told us that they’ve taken orders for more than 30 trucks, “and we haven’t shown them to anyone yet.” Copeland took a recent shakedown trip in an early Reaper and said, “The truck is really good running across the desert. I could run 60 mph without any issue. On the larger whoops I could run 30-plus mph for miles.”

Look for a road test and more info on the Reaper after its launch in early 2014.

Coolest Reading Places
Remember this? “Coolest Reading Places” was a regular Drivelines feature for years. Readers would send in photos of themselves reading our humble little mag in the most outrageous, exotic—and sometimes dangerous—places in the world. For some reason the submissions dried up, but recently John Mears sent us a 4xSelfie from Machu Picchu, the ancient Inca site in Peru. “And I actually did read it while waiting for the bus!” says Mears.

We’ll start CRP (oh, that’s unfortunate) again if you all will send us your pictures plus a few words about where you were and what you were doing there. High-resolution digital photos (1600x1200 pixels minimum) are best, though we can accept prints (we just can’t return them). Send your submissions to 4wheeloffroad@sorc.com with “Coolest Reading Places” in the subject line. Or mail your prints to Coolest Reading Places, 4-Wheel & Off-Road, 831 S. Douglas St., El Segundo, CA 90245.

NORRA 1000 Growing
When NORRA opened registration for its vintage-themed Mexican 1000 rally on New Year’s Day, 73 racers signed on for the Baja adventure, a record high for the organization. The first entrant was Dave Sykes, who will race his ’72 Ford/ Dodge hybrid race truck nicknamed the SuperFodge. Other notable off-road racers joining Sykes include Walker Evans, John Swift, Mark McMillin, Troy Herbst, and Dave Westhem.

The Mexican 1000 rally takes place May 10-14 and runs along the entire Baja peninsula from Ensenada to San Jose Del Cabo. NORRA expects to host 200 teams for the race, which would set another high mark for the event. For more info on the rally, visit www.mexican1000.com.

Stadium Super Trucks Sets 2014 Schedule
Robby Gordon’s Stadium Super Trucks (SST) series rolls into 2014 with a 15-race schedule at 10 different venues, including races at the ESPN X Games in Austin, Texas, and the Detroit Grand Prix on Belle Isle in Michigan. The off-road race trucks will be dueling and dicing on the grand prix track, catching air off of jump ramps set up along the circuit. For more info and the complete race schedule, visit www.stadiumsupertrucks.com, or go to the series’ Facebook page or Twitter feed.

Apr. 2-5: Rally Diabolico, Sonora, Mexico.
Info: www.rallydiabolico.com

Apr. 5: Getting Started Off-Road Driving Clinic by Badlands Off-Road Adventures, Hungry Valley SVRA, Gorman, CA.
Info: 310.374.8047, www.4x4training.com

Apr. 5: W.E.Rock Dirt Riot Southwest, MC Motorsports Park, Tucson, AZ.
Info: www.werocklive.com

Apr. 5: Wisconsin OHV Assoc. Workshops, Mole Lake Lodge & Conference Center, Crandon, WI.
Info: www.wohva.com

Apr. 6: Advanced Beginner 4WD Clinic by Badlands Off-Road Adventures, Mojave, CA.
Info: 310.374.8047, www.4x4training.com

Apr. 7: Tire Repair and Hi-Lift Jack Mini Clinic by Badlands Off-Road Adventures, Mojave, CA.
Info: 310.374.8047, www.4x4training.com

Apr. 9-12: Tennessee Mountains Jeep Jamboree, Oak Ridge, TN.
Info: www.jeepjamboreeusa.com

Apr. 10-12: Parker Jeep Jamboree, Parker, AZ.
Info: www.jeepjamboreeusa.com

Apr. 11-13: Midsouth Jeep Club Spring Run, Superlift ORV Park, Hot Springs, AR.
Info: midsouthjeeps.com

Apr. 12-13: Speed Energy Stadium Super Trucks Series, Long Beach, CA.
Info: stadiumsupertrucks.com

Apr. 12-20: Easter Jeep Safari, Moab, UT.
Info: www.rr4w.com

Apr. 19: W.E.Rock Dirt Riot Mountain, Moab, UT.
Info: www.werocklive.com

Apr. 19: Easter Egg Hunt, Superlift ORV Park, Hot Springs, AR.
Info: www.orvpark.com

Apr. 24-26: Cajun Jeep Jamboree, St. Francisville, LA.
Info: www.jeepjamboreeusa.com

Apr. 24-26: Arch Canyon Jeep Jamboree, San Juan County, UT.
Info: www.jeepjamboreeusa.com

Apr. 25-27: SCORE Imperial Valley 250 desert race, Plaster City, CA.
Info: SCORE, www.score-international.com

Apr. 26: Getting Started Off-Road Driving Clinic by Badlands Off-Road Adventures, Borrego Springs, CA.
Info: 310.374.8047, www.4x4training.com

Apr. 26: Spring Off-Road 101 Course, Kansas Rocks Recreation Park, Mapleton, KS.
Info: www.ksrockspark.com

Apr. 26-27: WE Rock Western Series, Rangely Off-Road Park, Rangely, CO.
Info: www.werocklive.com

Apr. 27: Advanced Beginner 4WD Clinic by Badlands Off-Road Adventures, Borrego Springs, CA.
Info: 310.374.8047, www.4x4training.com

Note: If you have a 4WD event you want us to publicize, please send the date, location, a description of the event, and contact info—phone numbers and/or email/website address—to Calendar, 4-Wheel & Off-Road magazine, 831 S. Douglas St., El Segundo, CA 90245; fax 818.566.8501; email 4wheeloffroad@sorc.com. Please submit your info at least four months in advance of the event due to our press lead times.