As you know by now, the Mar. '98 issue brands 4-Wheel & Off-Road 20 years old. What began in 1977 as a special-interest publication brought to you by the editors of Hot Rod quickly grew into the biggest truck magazine in the world. This vicennial issue pays tribute to those people, events, clubs, companies, and vehicles that helped put us on the off-road to success!
Who's the Man: The Editors
March 1978-November 1979: Mike Anson
December 1979-June 1983: Craig Caldwell
July 1983-July 1985: Michael Coates
August 1985-October 1985: Mike Anson (also publisher)
November 1985-September 1986: John Stewart
October 1986-August 1991: Steve Campbell
September 1991-April 1994: Drew Hardin
May 1994-January 1998: David Freiburger
February 1998-present: Cole Quinnell
The Cover Photo: The Number of Times the Following Have Appeared
Trucks in water: 42
Trucks in mud: 35
Trucks in sand: 21
Trucks racing: 10
Trucks in snow: 1
Trucks on rocks: 32
Trucks in studio: 8
Trucks driving on dirt: 57
Trucks parked on dirt: 77
Trucks parked on grass: 16
Trucks jumping: 102
Chuck Norris jumping: 1
Trucks burning to the ground: 1
Trucks illustrated: 1
Total fakes: 17
Nuclear war: 1
Engine only: 2
Other Cover Notables
First issue with Jeep as main image: May '95
First issue with early Bronco as main image: Sept. '88
Second issue with early Bronco as main image: Aug. '97
First issue with Ramcharger as main image: July '91
Consider 1979 a year of evolution and refinement
-"1979: All That's New,"
The Ranger-it's probably the worst-kept secret in Detroit, if not the entire state of Michigan.... It tips us off to the investment that Ford has made into its own future.
-"Ford Ranger: Suddenly It's
If the model year '85 was "The Year of the Engine," model year '86 will be remembered as "The Year of Fuel Injection."
-"4x4 of the Year,"
Just remember...it was written here first. Conversations inside both Chevy and GMC indicate that there will be no more fullsize Blazers/Jimmys after 1984.
Hydrogen: Future Fuel?
I envision the Samurai as a now-generation cult vehicle-a modern-day VW Beetle.
-"Miles of Smiles,"
This month we are inaugurating what we feel will be the benchmark of comparative analysis in the field of 4x4 vehicles: the 4-Wheel & Off-Road 4x4 of the Year award.
-"4x4 of the Year!"
A '93 Corvette LT1 350ci V-8 small-block engine...swapped into the pickup truck: This operation may turn out to be the ultimate engine swap of the '90s.
-"The Ultimate Engine,"
Ford introduced a distributorless ignition system (DIS)... expect Ford to apply the new technology to the rest of its truck engines during the '90s.
The last thing we need is a bunch of bureaucrats following us into the desert or mountains with a list of restrictions...get involved and write to your legislators...your investment may be only 13 cents.
The '80s are going to be interesting years for four-wheeling. There's also a new breed in Washington who seems to be more willing to listen to the concerns of the off-road enthusiast and fellow sagebrush rebels.
We automotive enthusiasts don't usually react until a fence has been put up. Unfortunately, most of us don't know that we're already faced with a brick wall.
See if your club or organization will get involved. When we approach the Bureau of Land Management, Forest Service, and other organizations, we show that we are interested and that we care. It shows that we are professionals.
Even if you don't live in California you should worry, because this established a precedent for land closures in other states.
"Smog-legal" is heard now about as often as "increased power."
4-Wheel & Off-Road: Then and Now
1978 U.S. newsstand price: $1.50
1998 U.S. newsstand price: $3.50
1978 4-Wheel U.S. subscription: $9
1998 4-Wheel U.S. subscription: $23.94
Number of pages in Mar. '78 issue: 80
Number of pages in Mar. '98 issue: 172
Number of advertisements in Mar. '78 issue: 31
Number of advertisements in May '97 issue: 308
Base price of a '78 Chevy Blazer 4x4: $5,986
Base price of a '98 Chevy Tahoe 4x4: $26,185
Price of a straight-axle Chevy suspension lift in 1978 ad: $319.95
Price of the same suspension lift in 1998 ad: $525.60
Price of 32-inch tire in 1978 ad: $72.25
Price of a 32-inch tire in 1998 ad: $116.25
President of the U.S. in 1978: Jimmy Carter
President of the U.S. in 1998: Bill Clinton
Biggest news item in 1978: Jonestown
Biggest news item in 1997:
Death of Princess Diana