The $2 Jeep
You read that right. Our friends at the California Association of 4 Wheel Drive Clubs are once again raffling a well-modified Jeep. This hopped-up Wrangler Rubicon could be yours for just the two-buck cost of a raffle ticket. Among the parts you'll find on this sweepstakes Jeep are a TeraFlex short-arm lift kit, BFGoodrich Mud-Terrains on ProComp wheels, a Warn winch, a Hi-Lift jack, a Bestop bikini top, Poison Spyder body armor, PIAA lights, and much, much more. The association is taking the Jeep to several West Coast events this summer, and you can register when you see it or log on to www.cal4wheel.com to buy your tickets. The raffle runs through February 2011.
Racing's Past returns to Baja
After a 35-year absence from the wilds of Baja, the Bill Stroppe-built Ford Bronco driven by Chris Wilson and Glen Straightiff crossed the finish line of the NORRA Mexican 1000 Rally in La Paz, Mexico, in First Place in Production Class 5C. The NORRA Mexican 1000 was not your typical Baja race. It was a rally with 746 miles of flat-out racing stages joined by more than 300 miles of transit sections. Most of the vehicles entered in the rally were historic Baja racing vehicles-like the abovementioned Bronco-and many were driven by such Baja racing legends as Parnelli Jones, Rod Hall, Walker Evans, and Malcolm Smith.
Wilson and Straightiff drove a total of 1,107 miles in three days, including 50 miles on the third day after getting lost. Unlike most other competitors, they did the entire route wearing open-face helmets and without GPS or race radios, relying on their Baja savvy and intuition to know the correct route. When told about the extra miles, Parnelli Jones laughed and said, "Hell, we got lost all the time down here in the old days!"
The team's vehicle prep was exemplary, as the Bronco required nothing more than a fuel pump change on the first day. Other than losing a few bolts and a grille screen, the truck performed without any problems, consuming half a quart of oil in 1,000 miles and reaching speeds as high as 105 mph. Wilson's goal was "to finish before dark every evening and have a cocktail," and he did. Other than some concessions to safety (thanks to Mastercraft Safety and new BFGoodrich radial tires), the truck was historically accurate in its early '70s as-raced livery.
Small Land Rover Coming
Land Rover will build a small SUV based on its LRX concept vehicle (shown here with a vintage Rover) to go on sale in 2011. The announcement was made to LR dealers at a dealer conference, though no specifications or pricing were discussed, reports Automotive News. The vehicle will debut at the Paris Auto Show this fall and make its U.S. debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show.
This Just In
•Consumer Reports cancelled the "do not buy" rating it had put on '10 Lexus GX 460 SUVs. Lexus corrected the stability control software that caused the issue and recalled the trucks it had already sold. Lexus had stopped making the SUV pending the fix, but production has resumed.
•Remember the "Premium Tool" story we wrote in July about the GMC Sierra Denali 2500HD? Apparently, response to the high-end work truck was so enthusiastic that GM decided to add the luxe equipment to 3500 HD models as well, for both single- and dual-rear-wheel versions.
•Three people won Islander editions of the Jeep Wrangler during the Jeep Tiki Hunt contest. Justin Walter Reade-Chitaphana of Los Angeles, Melissa Block of Virginia Beach, Virginia, and Scott Carman of Golden, Colorado, found the three Tiki figures buried around the country and claimed their limited-edition Jeeps. The maker reported a 275 percent growth in the number of Twitter followers and 32,000 new Facebook friends as a result of the contest.
•Chrysler has extended its Affiliate Rewards program to include Tread Lightly! members. That means that if you belong to the land-use organization, you may qualify for a "preferred price" that's 1 percent below factory invoice for Jeeps and Ram trucks. Go to www.treadlightly.org for more info.
•The Bantam building in Butler, Pennsylvania, where the first Bantam jeep was built, has been nominated as one of the Top Ten Best Preservation Opportunities in the Pittsburgh Area by the Young Preservationists Association of Pittsburgh. This annual list highlights historic preservation projects around the nine-county Pittsburgh region that are threatened but have a good chance for survival and reuse.