Jeep Dealers Get Brute
American Expedition Vehicles (AEV) will offer the Brute, a double-cab pickup conversion based on the Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon, to Jeep dealers as a turnkey, ready-to-sell vehicle. The Brute was on display at the recent National Automobile Dealers Association convention in Las Vegas. No price was announced, but according to Automotive News you can expect the sticker to be in the $65,000-$95,000 range, depending on options.
We showed you the Brute as part of our SEMA Show coverage in the March issue. AEV stretches the Wrangler’s chassis by nearly 2 feet and adds the pickup bed, a 41⁄2-inch DualSport suspension, 37-inch Super Swampers, and Dynatrac ProRock axles with 4.56 gears. Under the hood is a 6.4L Hemi mated to a five-speed automatic transmission.
Spendy British SUVs
The Geneva Motor Show isn’t known for its concept trucks, but this year two British makers used the venue to trot out new SUVs. Bentley (yes, Bentley) unveiled the EXP 9 F, “a vehicle that feels equally at home at an opera gala performance, on the sand dunes, and the overtaking lane of the autobahn,” said the luxury maker. The concept SUV is powered by a twin-turbocharged, 6.0L W-12 engine that makes in the neighborhood of 600 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque, though the company didn’t release details about how (or how many of) the wheels would be driven.
Land Rover, meanwhile, showed off a topless Evoque to “explore the potential for the world’s first premium convertible SUV,” said LR. Based on the Evoque coupe, the concept has a retractable roof with a rollover protection system.
Both concepts are being used to gauge the public’s interest, and no production plans are in the works. At least, none that the makers will admit to.
Xplore Adds Rams to Adventure Series
This modified Ram is the latest 4x4 to be offered by Venchurs Vehicle Systems as part of its Xplore Adventure Series. These trucks (a Wrangler is also available) are aimed at those folks who want to drive a customized rig right off the truck dealer’s lot. Buyers can order them in four stages of modification, from simple interior upgrades all the way up to fully custom builds. The rendering shows a Stage 4 Ram outfitted with black aluminum wheels, BFG rubber, Bilstein shocks, a cat-back exhaust system, ARB equipment racks, matte paint, and more.
Another nice touch: For every Xplore Adventure Series truck purchased, Venchurs makes a donation to the National Park Foundation. Owners also get a free, one-year annual pass to all National Parks and other Federal lands. For more information, visit www.explorevehicles.com.
This Just In
• Like old Land Rovers? The inaugural Land Rover d’Elegance, which is open to Rovers of all kinds, will take place May 19 at West Coast British in Livermore, California. Go to www.offroadexperience.com/wcb for more info.
• Soon after his strong showing in Dakar, Robby Gordon was racing on American soil and was the overall winner at the Bluewater Resort & Casino Parker 425. This time, though, he left his Hummer in the shop and borrowed a Class 1500 buggy owned by Clyde Stacey of RPM Offroad.
• Toyota has released another Trail Teams edition of the FJ Cruiser. The ’12 edition is painted top to bottom in a new Radiant Red color and is equipped with Bilstein shocks, a locking rear diff, rock rails, TRD wheels, auxiliary lights on the roof, and a backup camera.
Coolest Reading Places, Cozy Edition
Jim Grammer sent us this photo with a short note: “Attached is a picture of me reading this issue with the alpacas at my ranch, Islay Hill Alpaca Ranch, in Hillsboro, Oregon.” We guess wrangling alpacas isn’t quite as vigorous as, say, wild mustangs or Brahma bulls.
• As election season ramps up, now is the time to make your voice heard by backing those officials who will work with us in keeping land open for responsible wheeling. You can also help the cause by making a donation to the Trail Political Action Committee (TPAC), founded as “the first national nonpartisan political action committee dedicated solely to championing responsible off-highway vehicle recreation on designated roads, trails, and areas on public lands through the electoral and legislative processes,” said the TPAC website. Help them elect pro-trail candidates by visiting www.thetrailpac.com.
• Tread Lightly! has moved. The offices, which were located in Ogden, Utah, are now in Salt Lake City, a change that has allowed the organization to add fulltime staff members and interns. The new address for Tread Lightly! is 353 E. 400 S., Ste. 100, Salt Lake City, UT 84111. Phone numbers remain 801.627.0077 and 800.966.9900, and the website is www.treadlightly.org.