Wednesday, July 6, 2011 08:00
It’s hard to imagine a sand-encrusted off-roader or admirer of VW Beetles who hasn’t heard of Bruce Meyers, the Mac Daddy of all dune buggies. The Meyers Manx is arguably one of the most significant vehicles of the last century, not only for its record-breaking achievements in the 1967 Baja 1000, but also for capturing the imagination of countless dune-chasing off-roaders (and several hundred copycat manufacturers to boot). It’s far more than just a VW-based sandrail; it’s iconic, a cultural waypoint of the Sixties that captures the feel and look of a generation, a vehicular version of Beatles music and Peter Max art.
Now in his eighties, Meyers is hardly the type to sit on the porch in a rocking chair. His fertile imagination has spawned a neo/retro variant of the Manx. Instead of using a shortened VW pan, the Manxter has a full-length Beetle chassis, allowing for four seats instead of two. More significantly, the air-cooled Type 1 engine is gone (or rather, used only on the base 2+2 Manxter now). Instead, a modern, water-cooled, turbocharged Subaru WRX engine hangs off the back end.
Meyers is not content to simply rehash an old idea. The Manxter takes the Manx to a new level of performance, using modern mechanicals, such as the long-arm off-road suspension (on the DualSport, shown here) to the 250-hp Subbie boxster engine. The latter is typically mated to an upgraded VW Type 1 transaxle or a stock Type II with a Kennedy adaptor. More...
Thursday, June 9, 2011 07:00
Off-roading, whether by ATV, dirt bike or 4x4 rig, provides unparalleled freedom. But—and you knew there would be a “but”—with that freedom comes responsibility.
Off-roaders have a natural obligation to respect and preserve the beauty of the backcountry for both their fellow off-roaders and for everyone else who follows on foot, by mountain bike or horseback. Don’t get us wrong, flying over jumps and kicking up a dirt rooster tail is great fun; that’s why there are specifically designated areas or parks for just that. When you cruise along dirt trails, you’re an ambassador, whether you applied for that job or not. Over the past years, environmentalists have used motorized vehicle users’ abuse of public lands as a reason to impose restrictions. By treating the land with respect, off-roaders are not only preserving the beauty of the land, they’re preserving the right to use it.
The following are some guidelines, offered by Tread Lightly, a non-profit organization dedicated to educating the off-highway vehicle community and keeping OHV trails open for public use. These guidelines apply to 4x4s, ATVs and dirt bikes. More...
Friday, May 20, 2011 05:00
Ahhh, rednecks. Hicks, hillbillies, trailer trash, America’s punchline. Also, masters of innovation, Mickey Mouse engineering, simplification of the complicated, and blue-collar geniuses, plus gumbo. You can’t give rednecks crap without secretly wishing you’d done the same thing they did, perhaps with a little more panache. And a shirt.
To be honest, I don’t believe there is much trashiness amongst these folks, though the blue-collar humor is certain. It’s just a few red-blooded Americans having some simple fun in the dirt. In this fine piece of YouBoobage, rather aptly labeled “Redneck Truck Recovery Gone Wild,“ we are treated to a fine equestrian moment of a Bronco being saved by some sort of Super Bronco Mutant.
The real charmer of this video is the absurd—absurd by pedestrian standards, but very effective on the trail—first-gen Bronco on redonculous implement tires, fully exo’d, rolling the dual corporate axles coupled to what sounds to be a seriously rorty motor.
We’re not judging. Okay, we are. Some folks are not the prettiest to look at, but that doesn’t take away from the generous helping hand, fine humanity and really radical rig pulling another somewhat stockfish rig out of a gaping rut (on what looks to be a fun backwoods piece of logging trail. Where is it?). Good dirt moment.
Tuesday, September 21, 2010 02:30
Finding folks crashing their junk and junking their crash all over the web is easy. These web-vids don’t speak too highly of mankind, though. How about something to brag to your alien buddies about? Supreme examples of professionals doing extraordinarily skillful things, piloting wonderful vehicles being used as their makers intended are also to be had. Let’s be proud of our species for a change. And, no, if you did it on Gran Turismo, it doesn’t count. Posting your video-game heroics on YouTube is, in fact, one of the sure signs you’re a poseur.
Massive Road-Race & Rally Action
Yuppers, more hillclimbing, but here they’re racers laying it down with massive prowess. The first driver on “3 Car Pile Up—Episode 8—Hill Climb” is purported to be none other than Japanese hillclimb legend Nobuhiro “Monster” Tajima (you’d be called “Monster” too if you were a six-foot seven Japanese guy), who’s come so close to the record on Pike’s Peak (and to the edge of Pike’s Peak) that he likely can actually taste it. He’s awesome. The second portion of the web-vid is of an unidentified hillclimber in Europe (traditional hillclimbing is often done on tarmac, in road-race vehicles) in a very identifiable Ferrari 333SP. And, no, the video is NOT sped up. Okay, so there’s a snippet at the end that’s got a radical trail buggy trying to go up a sheer cliff, but count that as a bonus. More...
Tuesday, September 14, 2010 01:30
It seems that off-road spectacularama is where it’s at on YouTube nowadays. OMG, I just wrote “where it’s at” – what am I, 80? Jumping, crashing, rolling, near-death and rod-knock doom in every other vid. Who needs YouTube for pop-culture nonsense (why do you think it’s called “pop” – here for a second, then gone because it didn’t matter) when you can see your fellow hot-rodders and off-roaders pulling stunts that you wish you’d thought of first?
Incredible Dune Hillclimb
This one is extra awesome, a web-vid legend. In “Nissan Patrol CRAZY HILL CLIMB!” a tiny Euro/Asia/third-world only Nissan Patrol with a V8 in it (which in four-by, at high-RPM mean tons of torque steer) attempts an epic fail at the peak of an indescribable 10-story dune in – we’re guessing but can’t confirm – Australia, at an angle that defies logic. Prepare yourself for a super-pucker moment at the top that could easily go catastrophic. You WILL show this to friends. Turn up the sound, too – you can hear what’s probably a carbed V8 start to miss or tap the limiter, and then the crowd’s reaction. The trick to finding this one is to search “partrol,” because for years it was misspelled. More...