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Drivelines - May 2014

The Latest News Form The Industry

Detroit Show Reveal: 2015 Ford F-150
How exactly do you go about redesigning a bestseller? We got our first look when Ford took the wraps off the 2015 Ford F-150 at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. When it goes on sale later this year it will feature four engines: a new 2.7L EcoBoost, a 3.5L EcoBoost, a naturally aspirated 3.5L V-6, and a 5.0L V-8, all backed by six-speed automatics (no power figures were available yet). There’s also a new fully boxed ladder frame, and for the first time military-grade aluminum alloys have been used throughout the body to keep the weight down and make the truck more dent-resistant. In fact, the truck is about 700 pounds lighter, meaning it can tow or haul more. The badging even got a new look. Ford says it used a font called “bold leadership” and—we cracked up over this—removed the hyphen between F and 150, which “adds to the message of efficiency.” Way to sweat the details, Ford.

“The truck is about 700 pounds lighter”

When it goes on sale the 2015 Ford F-150 (geez, do we have to spell it the other way now for efficiency?) will be available in the XL, XLT, Lariat, Platinum, and King Ranch models, in regular, SuperCab, and SuperCrew bodies. All three 2015 Ford F-150's will offer a choice of two bed lengths. And the popular FX4 option group will be back, with an electronic rear locker, extra skidplates, and revalved shocks.

This Just In
• You can win an opportunity to be among the first people to test the new 2015 Ford F-150 . Log on to BuiltToughTest.com and tell Ford how you would test the toughness of the new truck. Up to five winners will be chosen to spend a week driving the new F-truck while video crews film the whole thing for Ford Trucks’ YouTube channel. Entries must be in by May 31, 2014.

• Waiting for an EcoDiesel Ram? You and a lot of other people. While Chrysler originally said the new diesels would be available in the third quarter of 2013, dealers just started taking orders in February, says Automotive News. They should be in stock soon.

• Robby Gordon didn’t have the same kind of luck at the Dakar rally that the Mini team had (page 20). In fact, his luck was all kinds of bad. He fought mechanical problems with his HST Gordini race truck throughout the race, getting sidelined for the last time during the 11th stage with an air intake problem. But in typical Gordon fashion, he’s already looking ahead to improve the truck for next year.

• Can’t get enough of the “Farmers” ad Ram did for the 2013 Super Bowl? Now there’s an extended version of the tribute video featuring the complete “So God Made a Farmer” FFA speech given by radio broadcaster Paul Harvey in 1978 and additional farm imagery. You can watch it on YouTube or Ram’s site: www.ramtrucks.com/keepplowing.

• Dirt Every Day returns for ‘14 with a bunch of new shows starting with a pair of episodes involving an old Jeep CJ7 that Fred rescues from ranch duty in Texas, rewires with the help of Painless Performance, and then takes on an adventure road trip just for a slice of pie. Check out the antics and adventures by searching Dirt Every Day on YouTube.com.

Detroit Show Reveal: 2015 GMC Canyon
The second important truck introduction at NAIAS was the 2015 GMC Canyon, sister to the already announced Chevy Colorado. All-new for the 2015 model year, the 2015 GMC Canyon will feature a standard 2.5L inline-four that is currently believed to be worth 193 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque, as well as an optional 3.6L V-6 that will probably net 302 horses and 270 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed transmission is hooked to both. Even more interesting is that in the ’16 model year there will be a Duramax 2.8L diesel.

The 2015 GMC Canyon trans is available, but only with the 2.5L extended cab two-by configuration. There will be a base model as well as SLE and SLT. It also features technology borrowed from its big-pickup brother, including the aero grille shutters that close at some speeds to help aerodynamics and therefore fuel economy, a fully boxed ladder frame, and the CornerStep rear bumper. And a first for the segment: electric power steering and AutoTrac automatic four-wheel drive. The chassis also has coilover independent front suspension, four wheel discs, and an available auto-locking rear diff.

So, the specs sound a lot like the Colorado’s. How will GM differentiate the two? The idea is that the Chevy will be the sporty midsize truck, while the GMC will be positioned as the more premium offering with “big truck” capability in a smaller package. GM North America President Mark Reuss said at the show that the GMC should bring more conquest sales from owners of other brands’ fullsize pickups.

Vintage Cessna, M37 Bring Big Bucks At Auction
Every January, car collectors descend on Scottsdale, Arizona, for a weeklong orgy of circuslike auctions. The Barrett-Jackson auction is the biggest of the bunch, never failing to draw huge crowds, generate headlines, and seemingly make money hand-over-fist. Over the past few years the auction company has set aside many of its “prime-time” auction slots for cars and other vehicles to be sold for charity, and one of the most unusual lots at this year’s sale was the pairing of a restored 1959 Cessna L-19E “Bird Dog” and a Dodge M37. Cessna donated the airplane, which had been used in France as a trainer and as such had fairly low hours on the airframe. The Dodge, donated and restored by Iowa’s Okoboji Classic Cars, was a field find that underwent a 2,500-hour frame-off restoration.

When the bidding ended on Saturday, the Cessna sold for $400,000, the M37 for $350,000. All proceeds will benefit the Armed Forces Foundation and its efforts to support veterans and their families.

Earth Watch
• SEMA’s government watchdogs have alerted us to pending legislation in Hawaii that would make most aftermarket exhaust systems illegal. The problem with the bill is its vague wording. Instead of setting an objective noise-level standard as many states have done (and as SEMA’s model bill for this kind of thing sets down), Hawaii’s bill directs inspection stations to test vehicles to determine if their exhaust systems “emit noise noticeably greater than that emitted by the vehicle as equipped from the factory.” Under the bill, inspection stations found to have issued a certificate of inspection in violation of this provision could be fined up to $1,000 and have their inspection permits suspended or revoked.

• The California Off Road Vehicle Association (CORVA) recently prevailed in a fight to keep the Ocotillo Wells SVRA open in Southern California. Earlier this year, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) filed suit against California State Parks to stop operations at Ocotillo Wells. CORVA consulted with its attorney, Jesse Barton, and at his recommendation filed for intervenor status in the Superior Court of California. CORVA’s demurrer supported State Parks and alleged to the court that the suit filed by PEER had no legal viability and must be dismissed by the court. Judge Timothy Frawley ruled in favor of State Parks and CORVA and upheld the right of State Parks to continue operations at Ocotillo Wells SVRA in the same manner enthusiasts around the state have enjoyed for more than 30 years. Nicely done, CORVA.

Jeepers Jamboree Vendors Back in Georgetown
For the first time in more than 15 years, the Vendor Show and Outdoor Expo that kicks off the Jeeper’s Jamboree will be back in Georgetown. On Wednesday, July 23, Georgetown’s streets will be lined with booths and semi-truck trailers full of gear, project vehicles and more. Admission is free. To learn more about the Expo—and the trail rides on the Rubicon—go to jeepersjamboree.com.

Back at Altitude
Jeep is offering special Altitude Editions of the Cherokee, Grand Cherokee, and Wrangler (seen here) for the ’14 model year. Previous Altitude models were distinguished by their blacked-out trim; the new Altitude Jeeps are no different. Wrangler Altitude models, for example, get a matte-black grille with gloss throats, black headlight bezels, black Jeep badges, and a matte-black Wrangler decal on the hood. Inside you’ll find black leather seats with black stitching and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with black-painted spokes. The Cherokee and Grand get similar treatments. Look for the Altitude models at dealerships right about now.

Mini Finishes 1-2-3 at Dakar Rally
For the third year in a row, a specially prepped Mini Countryman has won the Dakar Rally, which is now held in South America. This year Mini not only won the event, but members of the 11-car Mini team took First, Second, and Third Places. Seven Minis placed in the top 10, and all 11 Minis finished the race.

Spanish driver Joan “Nani” Roma was the winner, finishing just 51⁄2 minutes ahead of second-place Mini racer Stéphane Peterhansel. This was Roma’s first Dakar win in a car; he won on a motorcycle in 2004, back when the rally was still held in Africa.

This year’s event consisted of 13 stages that ran through 9,374 km (about 5,800 miles) from Argentina, across the Andes, and into Chile.

Hey, Joe!
Yes, that was Vice President Joe Biden at the Detroit auto show checking out the new iron at Ford’s display. FoMoCo Executive Chairman Bill Ford and Congressman John Dingell were among the other bigwigs on the stand with the VP, talking about the “importance of the auto industry,” said Ford public relations. We’re guessing it was more about which of the chophouses near Cobo Hall served the best breakfast.

Ace: A New Type of OHV
Is it an ATV, a side-by-side, or something else? According to Polaris, its Ace is something wholly new. It is like an ATV but has a chassis you sit down in, a UTV’s cagelike protective frame, and a steering wheel instead of handlebars. The driver sits centrally in the Ace and controls the 32hp DOHC engine with a foot throttle. The rear wheels are fully independent and offer 91⁄2 inches of travel. Ground clearance? More than 10 inches. Polaris has equipped the Ace with its on-demand AWD system, which automatically engages when needed and then returns to 2WD when not. Looks like fun to us, and something perfect for Fred to wring out on one of his DED adventures. Stay tuned.

Mopar and the New Monster Truck
Go ahead, guess how long it’s been since there’s been a new OE monster truck in the Monster Truck Jam series. A year? Two years? Three? Fail. Try more than a decade. Called Mopar Muscle, it’s a Ram-based, Mike Miller–driven monster truck with a supercharged version of the 426 Hemi, worth 565 cubes and 2,000 horses. It weighs in at 10,300 pounds and stands 10 feet tall. See it for yourself at the Chrysler Group YouTube channel or monsterjam.com, or go in person to any of the 4Wheel Jamborees this year: May in Lima, Ohio; June in Springfield, Missouri; July in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania; and September in Indianapolis.

• May 2-4: Canidae Tap It Silverstate 300 desert race by Best in the Desert, near Las Vegas, NV. Info: www.bitd.com

• May 3: Adopt-a-Trail work day, Kansas Rocks Recreation Park, Mapleton, KS. Info: www.ksrockspark.com

• May 3: Cadillac Jeepers annual Jeep Blessing, Mesick, MI. Info: CadillacJeepers.com

• May 3: W.E.Rock Dirt Riot MidStates, Shamokin, PA. Info: www.werocklive.com

• May 3: Lone Star Jeep Club Spring Run, Superlift ORV Park, Hot Springs, AR. Info: www.lsjc.org, www.orvpark.com

• May 8-10: Big Bear Jeep Jamboree, Big Bear Lake, CA. Info: www.jeepjamboreeusa.com

• May 8-10: Top of the Ozarks Jeep Jamboree, Seymour, MO. Info: www.jeepjamboreeusa.com

• May 9-11: Molina Ghost Run by the California Association of 4WD Clubs, Hollister Hills SVRA, Hollister, CA. Info: www.cal4wheel.com

• May 10: Getting Started Off-Road Driving Clinic by Badlands Off-Road Adventures, Hungry Valley SVRA, Gorman, CA. Info: 310.374.8047, www.4x4training.com

• May 10-11: W.E.Rock Eastern Series, King Knob, Bridgeport, WV. Info: www.werocklive.com

• May 10-14: NORRA Mexican 1000 Rally, Baja California, Mexico. Info: www.mexican1000.com

• May 15-17: Palo Duro Jeep Jamboree, Amarillo, TX. Info: www.jeepjamboreeusa.com

• May 15-17: Land Between the Lakes Jeep Jamboree, Marshall County, KY. Info: www.jeepjamboreeusa.com

• May 16-18: 4Wheel Jamboree, Allen County Fairgrounds, Lima, OH. Info: www.4wheeljamboree.com

• May 17: Jeep Go Topless Day by Ocean State Jeepsters, Monson, MA. Info: email gtd2014@oceanstatejeepsters.org

• May 17: W.E.Rock Dirt Riot Southeast, Gray Rock, Birmingham, AL. Info: www.werocklive.com

• May 17: Membership meeting, Wisconsin Off-Road Vehicle Park, Potawatomi Casino & Lodge, Wabeno, WI. Info: www.WORVPI.org

• May 17-18: Iron Range Offroad driving school, near Minneapolis/St. Paul. MN. Info: www.ironrangeoffroad.com

• May 22-26: Sam’s Offroad Memorial Day Run, Superlift ORV Park, Hot Springs, AR. Info: www.orvpark.com

• May 23: Speed Energy Stadium Super Trucks race, Indianapolis, IN. Info: stadiumsupertrucks.com

• May 23-25: Hi Desert Roundup by the California Association of 4WD Clubs, location TBD. Info: www.cal4wheel.com

• May 29-31: Canyon de Chelly Jeep Jamboree, Chinle, AZ. Info: www.jeepjamboreeusa.com

• May 31: W.E.Rock Dirt Riot Central, Canyons Off-Road Park, Fredericksburg, TX. Info: www.werocklive.com

• May 31: Tire Repair & Hi Lift Jack mini clinic by Badlands Off-Road Adventures, Hawthorne, CA. Info: 310.374.8047, www.4x4training.com

• May 31–June 1: Ventura County Off-Road Show, Ventura County Fairgrounds, Ventura, CA. Info: www.venturacountyoffroadshow.com

• May 31–June 1: Speed Energy Stadium Super Trucks race, Detroit, MI. Info: stadiumsupertrucks.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.