Chrysler used the Chicago Auto Show to introduce a new trim level for the Ram 1500, the Tradesman. Aimed at, well, tradesmen (and -women), these trucks have the equipment you’d expect from a work truck: painted steel wheels, cloth or vinyl upholstery, and rollup windows.
But this is far from a stripper. Underhood is a 5.7L Hemi V-8. Out back is a standard Class IV trailer hitch with lighted, above-bumper four- and seven-pin trailer wire connectors. In the cab you’ll find air conditioning, a CD/MP3 player, and automatic headlights. Options include a limited-slip differential, chrome bumpers, power door locks and windows, folding trailer mirrors, and more.
The Tradesman will be built in 4x2 and 4x4 versions with regular-cab bodies mated to short or long beds and should be available as you’re reading this. Retail prices start at $22,780.
More from the SEMA Washington, D.C. watchdogs: The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) unveiled a regulatory initiative to identify unspoiled backcountry, which can be designated as wild lands. This could be dangerous as it usurps the exclusive authority of Congress to designate wilderness. The BLM action overturns a 2003 Bush Administration policy barring the agency from identifying wild lands, also known as wilderness study areas (WSAs). The BLM’s legal authority to establish WSAs expired in 1991, but the BLM continued to pursue the initiative until 2003. The new BLM program will likely be challenged in court and reviewed by Congress.
Our friends at Backcountry 4x4
brought to our attention the Forest Service 2020 Plan, under which 70 percent of all Forest Service roads must comply with the Level 3 designation that allows a low-ground-clearance 2WD vehicle to drive on the road. Their concern: Because there’s no funding to modify the roads, the Forest Service could decide to close the roads they can’t bring into compliance. For example, in the Big Bear area there are more than 600 miles of Forest Service roads. About 75 miles of those roads fit the Level 3 requirement or could very easily, and another 50 miles would be fairly easy to bring up to that standard. If the Forest Service closed 420 miles of those roads it couldn’t afford to bring into compliance, then the 125 miles that are easily brought up to Level 3 standards would be just over 70 percent of the total road mileage. That would leave us with just 55 miles of high-ground-clearance 4x4 roads in the Big Bear area, say the Backcountry 4x4 guys. Inevitably, some great wheeling roads would disappear. Since the Forest Service has been closing trails for the last year in this area, this just makes too much sense. We better take this threat seriously. Visit the Land Use Issues page at www.backcountry4x4.com for more info.
Rough Riders Flashback
Here’s when we sound really, really old. Two guys we wrote about (and drove with) years ago when Ford fielded its Rough Riders off-road racing teamJohn Swift and Steve Olligesare back in the desert racing game, teaming up for the Best in the Desert series and select SCORE International and SNORE races in their new BFGoodrich/MasterCraft Safety Trick Truck. They’re even using Swift’s old Rough Rider number, 28, on the truck.
Now, these guys haven’t been couch potatoes since the ’90s. Swift and Olliges’ last win was in 2008 at the Silver State 300. They made their ’11 season debut at the Parker 425, the same venue where they last raced togetherand finished Second in the Trick Truck classin 2009. This year they came in Sixth in Class, 12th overall, not a bad start for a new team and a new truck.
Reel Wars Are On
Royal Purple has launched Reel Wars, a contest that invites customers to make short films showing Royal Purple products being used in unique and creative ways, says the company. Video entries can be posted to the Royal Purple Incorporated fan page, and everyone who submits a video gets a free case of Royal Purple motor oil (or a certificate for merchandise from the online company store).
Entries can be submitted until June 3; between then and June 10 you can visit the site and vote for your favorite video. The top five vote-getters will then be evaluated by a panel of judges, and the eventual winner will receive $5,000. More contest information is available at >www.royalpurple.com/reelwars.
Two F-150s. Confused?
Of course not. But the Blue Oval folks got their knickers all in a twist when Ferrari dared to call its latest F1 racer the F150 in honor of Italy’s 150 years of unity. Ford took the matter all the way to the U.S. District Court in Detroit.
Ferrari has misappropriated the F-150 trademark in naming its new racing vehicle the F150’ in order to capitalize on and profit from the substantial goodwill that Ford has developed in the F-150 trademark, said Ford in the complaint, as quoted by Reuters. Ford is seeking unspecified damages, said the news agency, including $100,000 under the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act.
Ferrari replied that it could not believe anyone would confuse an F1 contender with any sort of commercially available vehicle. But to act in good faith, it would from then on refer to the car by its full name: Ferrari F150th Italia.
Vintage Ford Photos Available
Anyone interested in historic Ford vehicles should drop by www.fordimages.com. The automaker has made available some 5,000 archival photos, advertisements, and other printed material, and hundreds more are going up every week.
Image prices vary considerably, depending on what you’re buying and its size. For example, the least expensive photo of this ’53 F-100 was an 18x24-inch print on archival paper for $59.99. If you really love this truck, you could up that order to a 44x60-inch image on stretched canvas for $469.99. Framing for the prints is available too.
Even if you don’t buy anything, browsing the old pictures is a lot of fun. Trucks are just a small part of the archive available; there are also images of Ford and Lincoln cars, Fordson tractors, hot rods, racing cars, and even military and aviation photos.