Auto Industry News: 4×4 Madness, Lowriders and Engine Swaps

A Mecca for 4×4 Madness

Naturally, Instagram and Facebook are littered with 4×4 images as excitement for the upcoming Easter Jeep Safari at Moab, Utah nears. Justin Andrews of Factor 55 discussed how the event multiplies every single year. It’s not only attracting more participants and unique rides like side-by-sides, but also more manufacturers. And it serves as the purest of testing grounds for leaders like Jeep to launch mild-to-wild concept vehicles and gauge consumer reactions. Thus, it’s only fitting to start this week’s auto industry news with crazy concepts.

Auto Industry News - Jeep® Safari Concept - Courtest of Motor Authority

This year, “the Wrangler-based Jeep Safari concept is all about catering to backseat passengers while exploring the unbeaten path. Jeep outfitted the Safari concept with a translucent hard-top roof panel to ensure the best views for those sitting behind the driver. The doors, which Jeep calls ‘windoors’, are hinged to allow easy access into the vehicle and even feature a zipper opening to let the great outdoors in,” said Motor Authority.

“A Dana 44 axle, equipped with selectable differential lockers sits under the Safari’s skin, while the body rides atop 35-inch BFGoodrich mud-terrain KM2 tires. Power comes from the tried and true 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine, while Jeep selected a five-speed automatic transmission to distribute the power,” continued Motor Authority.

Does all this off-road chatter have your wheels turning? Then make sure to add these trails to your bucket list. Now, let’s turn our attention from jacked up to slammed low.

More Power, Please

Admittedly, I’ve never been one for the lowrider scene. Yes, the classic rides, artistic flare and attention to detail are striking. “On the outside, the vintage cars seemed identical to lowriders that cruised Whittier Boulevard in the 1960s and Van Nuys Boulevard during the 1970s, when rolling examples of Southern California’s homegrown road art met for weekly exhibitions,” said Charles Fleming in his editorial The Art of Lowriding, Born on L.A.’s Eastside, Gets Supercharged.

Call me crazy, but obnoxiously fast and loud always appealed to my inner wild child. Even when I was stuck driving a banged-up, mid-90’s teal Cavalier that seemed to overheat every time I approached an incline. Truth is, I’d still choose a spin in our family’s 1970 Plymouth Barracuda with a 440-6 over a “low, slow and show” any day.

But what if the traditional lowrider scene were slowly evolving into a “low, show and go”, with an emphasis on aggressive powerplants? “Under the hoods of the pinstriped, chromed-out cruisers was something unusual. These lowriders all sported massive motors, late-model Detroit-built V-8s capable of two to three times the horsepower of the engines originally installed in the vintage cars,” continued Fleming. Well, looks like my decision just got a little harder.

Nowadays, “if you have the ultimate paint job, you better have the ultimate engine,” said Lowrider Magazine editor Joe Ray. Amen to that. Do we have your attention? Though so… check this out!

Duramax-Powered 1973 Chevrolet Nova

Whilst on the topic of “Bitchin’ Rides”, ever come face-to-face with a Duramax powered 1973 Chevrolet Nova? Grudge racing a triple turbo, nitrous assisted, 1,000 horsepower track monster is the ultimate shot of adrenaline but this… this ride has the potential to be the stuff legends are made of.

“The story starts back in 2008, when Nova owner Russ Wullenwaber met Rick Fletes at Pinks All Out. Russ had an 11-second truck with a built motor, and Rick had shoehorned a stock Duramax with a tune into his Chevy Chevelle. After a year or two, the team decided to partner up, and Russ (who started RPM Motorsports) swapped his truck engine into Rick’s Chevelle. The result was a rocket of a ride, with the Chevelle eventually running the quarter-mile in 9.70 seconds at 140 mph,” said Truck Trend.

Competitors turned bromance to complete such a swap – priceless. Sorry, but that’s about all the “spoiler alert” you’re going to get from us. Read the details here!

Ghostface Muzilla

Muzilla - Courtesy of Super StreetSpeaking of swaps: it was a long hard road, but the chutzpah of early import tuners to reinvent the meaning of performance with econo box, front or all-wheel drive rides eventually earned them street cred and industry praise as next-generation hot rodders. “At one point in time engine swaps and JDM conversions were an unorthodox and expensive procedure. Performing either often forced you to take a vow of poverty and gear up for instant ramen for the next few months,” said said Jofel Tolosa of Super Street Magazine. Today, toss all your fav four-cylinder rides in the blender and you have the makings of a wicked new mix.

Let Jerry Fan’s 2010 Nissan GT-R/1970 Ford Mustang, Ghostface Muzilla, be all the proof needed; an unlikely match made in heaven, we know. “It may look like a Mustang, but dig deeper and you’ll find Godzilla,” said Tolosa. It spits an insane 525 horsepower and 569 lb-ft of torque, featuring some serious aftermarket mods and tuning craftsmanship. “Most gearheads might think this three-year-long project is nothing more than a widebody Mustang, but on paper Jerry’s car is actually a ’10 Nissan GT-R,” continued Tolosa. Cat got your tongue yet? Check it out!

Summer Fun

But onto a more practical topic to close out this week’s auto industry news. Junkyard finds are the best kind. So believe us when we say turn that “trash” into creativity with these clever uses for old car parts. Consider a one-of-a-kind fish tank, pool table, swing, bed or BBQ pit as the next potential dumpster-dive treasure!

If digging through rusty parts is a turn off then turn on the Buzz Feed. A contributor recently posted a nifty “thrifty” summer project. Who thought unwanted tires could become colorful outdoor seating arrangements? If DIY doesn’t trip your trigger, then maybe the Car Pool Deville will cool you off.

Consumer Rebates

In need of some retail therapy? Here are some savings, courtesy of the manufacturers.

Yukon Gear: Claim up to a $150 rebate with a qualifying purchase of drivetrain components between March 6, 2017 – May 19, 2017.

Gibson Performance: Claim up to a $75 rebate with a qualifying purchase between March 1, 2017 – May 31, 2017.

Edelbrock Performance: Receive a FREE air cleaner with the purchase of a new Performer or Thunder Series Carburetor. Offer valid between March 1, 2017 – April 30, 2017.

Corsa: Claim a $25 rebate with a qualifying air intake purchase between March 1, 2017 – May 31, 2017. Claim a $50 rebate with a qualifying Corsa or dB exhaust between March 1, 2017 – April 30, 2017.

Auto Meter: Claim up to a $175 rebate with a qualifying purchase of AutoMeter tachs between March 1, 2017 – April 30, 2017.

Air Lift: Purchase an Air Lift on-board air compressor system or any qualifying Air Lift adjustable air spring kit from a professional installer, have it installed by them and get a $75 rebate. Offer valid through 4/30/2017.

* Visit the manufacturer websites for downloadable forms. Remember to #shoplocal and support your area retailer! Until next week’s auto industry news, enjoy the fun that awaits you this weekend.

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