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The Bollinger B2 all-electric pickup truck 28

A show within a show featured unique Broncos 32

Exterior Accessories Buyers Guide 18

Grilles/Grille Guard Buyers Guide ... pg 34

We got behind the wheel of the recently updated Mercedes G-Class 12

SEMA Overland Concepts

Check out some of the coolest Overland concepts from the OEM manufacturers at the recent 2019 SEMA Show 37

Off-Road Pickups We did some serious off-roading in the Ram Rebel and Power Wagon pickups 24


Fresh Tracks------------------------------ 4 Gearing Up--------------------------------42 Winchin’ Out------------------------------46 DEC/JAN 2019 OFF-ROAD Plus MAGAZINE 


Jeep Officially Unveils 2020 Wrangler EcoDiesel


or the first time in North America, the ever-capable Jeep Wrangler will be offered with a diesel engine option, with the introduction of the 2020 Jeep Wrangler EcoDiesel. Wrangler four-door models will offer the new 3.0L EcoDiesel V6, the same found in the Ram 1500, which is rated at 260 horsepower and an impressive 442 lb-ft. of torque. The new engine option is paired to a TorqueFlite 8HP75 eightspeed automatic transmission which has over 40 individual shift maps to optimize shift points for fuel economy, performance capability. “One of the most common questions consumers have asked us over the last few years has been, ‘will you please offer a Jeep Wrangler diesel?’, and I’m pleased to answer that with a resounding, ‘Yes!’,” said Jim Morrison, Head of Jeep Brand – North America. “I recently drove the new Jeep Wrangler EcoDiesel  OFF-ROAD Plus MAGAZINE DEC/JAN 2019

on the Rubicon Trail and can unquestionably attest to its incredible off-road capability. Combining that unmatched off-road capability with the vehicle’s fun-to-drive on-road performance, best-ever Wrangler fuel economy and incredible driving range underwrite the fact that our customers knew exactly what they were asking for. Although it’s the first time it will be offered in

Craig’s Jeep.® Craig’s Adventure.


Jeep® is a registered trademark of FCA US LLC, Omix-ADA®KUPQVCHƒNKCVGFYKVJ(%#75..%


When Craig Anderson, owner of Rocky Mountain Jeep Rentals, isn’t helping his customers conquer Colorado’s highest peaks, he likes to get out there, change his perspective, and hang with his faithful friends – his dog Diesel and his Wrangler he calls “Monster Minion.” From bumpers to body armor, Rugged Ridge helps his Jeeps slide off rocks, winch trees off trails, and climb just about anything you put in front of them — letting Craig and his customers get the most out of their Jeep adventures. Rugged Ridge. Your Jeep. Your Adventure.™

Volume 3, Issue No. 6

December / January 2019 STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS

Publisher: Dean Washington Associate Publisher: David Symons Managing Editor Jordan Allan Distribution Manager: Brenda Washington Copy Editor: Gerry Frechette Advertising Sales:

a Wrangler, this will be the third generation of the EcoDiesel motor which has seen its horsepower, torque and fuel economy significantly increase since the last time around. Fuel economy numbers are yet to be released, but given the engine’s track record, you can be sure that it will do very well in this category and provide fuel range that has not been seen before in a Wrangler. The 2020 Jeep Wrangler EcoDiesel is available now.

FCA and Peugeot-maker PSA Merge to Create Fourth-Largest Automotive Group in World FCA and Groupe PSA, which produces Peugeot, Citroen, Opel and Vauxhall vehicles in Europe, have announced a 50-50 merger with a new company being formed which will become the fourth-largest automotive group in the world. The merger is said to save 3.7-billion Euro annually and will not require either side to close production plants. The ultimate goal of the merger is to utilize both companies’ growing technologies to develop safe self-driving technology and electrification. The company will operate under the umbrella of a Dutch parent company and will anoint Carlos Tavares of PSA as the new CEO of the company while FCA Chairman John Elkmann will retain his role.

Elaine Fontaine Contributing Writers / Photographers: Jordan Allan Howard J Elmer John Gunnell Spencer Whitney CONTACT INFORMATION

OFF-ROAD PLUS Magazine is published seven times per year by RPM Media Inc. MAILING ADDRESS: 2460 Kingsway Avenue Port Coquitlam, BC, Canada V3C 1T4 TELEPHONE: (604) 629-9669 FAX: (778) 285-2449 TOLL FREE: (888)-500-4591 EMAIL: WEBSITE: Second Class Mailing Agreement #40050183


SEMA Announces New Product Award Winners The 2019 SEMA Show once again began the week by announcing the 2019 New Product Award Winners which are meant to recognize the most innovative and cutting-edge products at the show that will go on sale in 2020. The products are judged in 16 categories with each one naming a winner and two runners-up selected on a variety of factors such as superiority of innovation, technical achievement, quality, workmanship and consumer appeal. Beginning with the Best Off-Road/4Wheel Drive Product category, ICON Vehicle Dynamics took home top prize with their Jeep Gladiator 2.5-in. Suspension System system, while Dana Inc. and HaulGauge/Garage Smart were named runners-up with their Ultimate Dana 60 Axles for Jeep Gladiator, and Garage Smart Lifter and Storage system, respectively. Next up in the Best New Exterior Accessory Product category, CURT took home top prize with its BetterWeigh Mobile Towing Scale with TowSense Technology, while Dee Zee and RSI SmartCap were named runners up. Yokohama dominated the Best New Tire and Related Product category with its Geolandar X-AT tire winning and the Geolandar X-CV and Advan Apex tires being named runners up. Finally, in the Best New Van/Pickup/Sport-Utility Product, RSI SmartCap’s SmartCap EVO took home top prize, while Bestop’s Gladiator Bedside Storage Lockboxes and BuiltRight Industries’ Gladiator Bedside Rack Storage System were named runners up.

Volume 3, Issue No. 6

December / January 2019 ADVERTISER INDEX

Anzo USA ------------------------------------ 2 Bright Source ------------------------------ 17 Formula Distributors - -------------------- 39 Husky Liners - --------------------------20,21 HyperTech - ---------------------------------- 7 Iron Cross Automotive ------------------- 29 Lordco Auto Parts ------------------------ 45 Mickey Thompson -------------------------- 9 Quality Gear - ------------------------------ 23

Nissan Showcases Frontier Desert Runner and Accessorized 2020 TITAN at SEMA Show Nissan had another strong presence at the recent 2019 SEMA Show, showcasing the Nissan Frontier Desert Runner and fully accessorized 2020 Nissan Titan for the first time. Desert Runner is one of five available Frontier models, but the one showcased at SEMA was much different than that 4x2, off-road style package. MA Motorsports out of Glen Arm, Maryland worked in tandem with Nissan Motorsports to create a full-blown race truck. The conversion began under the hood with the replacement of the factory 4.0L V6 with a 5.6L Endurance V8 from a full-size Nissan Titan. The en-

Rugged Ridge ------------------------------- 5 Summit Racing ---------------------------- 35 Superwinch -------------------------------- 48 TrailFX -------------------------------------- 47 PICK UP LOCATIONS

gine underwent a complete race-spec rebuild and now boasts 600-plus horsepower and 700 lb-ft of torque and is paired to a Nissan 6-speed manual transmission. The suspension is, of course, heavily modified and includes a BTF Fabrication long travel front suspension kit, King Racing Triple Bypass front shocks and coil-overs, rear King Racing Triple Bypass shocks and Giant Motorsports Link Killer rear leaf springs. The 37-in. BFGoodrich Baja T/A tires surround the Fifteen52 TurboMac HD wheels and to top it all off, MA Motorsports installed Fiberworx Pre Runner fenders and fabricated new front and rear bumpers. In addition to the Frontier build, Nissan utilized the SEMA Show to showcase one of its new, 2020 Titan trucks with a full suite of Genuine Nissan Accessories including Rugged Step Boards, Sliding Bed Extender, Illuminated Kick Plates and a Sport Bar with off-road lights and light covers.  OFF-ROAD Plus MAGAZINE DEC/JAN 2019














Jay Leno, Ford Performance and SEMA Garage Combine to Restore and Upgrade Classic 1968 Bronco for SEMA Show On the eve of his last taping, fellow comedian and late night talk show host Craig Ferguson parked a 1968 Ford Bronco in Jay Leno’s parking spot in what was meant to be a practical joke. Being one of the biggest car collectors around, Leno

knew better than to just get rid of the truck and accepted the gift which then sat in his garage until recently. With the recent announcement of the new Bronco on the way, Jay and Ford thought it would be a great time to finally restore the Bronco


and display it at the mecca for the aftermarket automotive world, the 2019 SEMA Show. Ford Performance worked with some of the industry’s true all-stars to bring the ‘68 Bronco back to glory and began by outfitting it with the same engine from the allnew Mustang Shelby GT500 which is the most powerful street legal Ford ever, pushing out 760 horsepower from the factory. Noted Bronco licensee Kincer Chassis were recruited to help restore the vehicle by building the chassis and installing the powertrain. Dennis Carpenter Ford Restoration Parts provided the body panels while SEMA Garage contributed technical expertise in computer-aided design, 3D printing and calibration work. LGE-CTS Motorsports helped revive the body with new sheet metal, custom body panels, paint and the final assembly. In addition to having been on display at the recent SEMA Show, the 1968 Bronco Wagon will be seen on an upcoming episode of Jay Leno’s Garage on CNBC and will be showcased on the Jay Leno’s Garage YouTube channel.

2019 SEMA Awards Winners Announced The annual SEMA Awards are given out to the cars, trucks and SUVs that aftermarket manufacturers are investing in and developing products and accessories for. The awards are open to all participating OEMs at the SEMA Show and eligible vehicles must be current or next model year to be considered. After dominating last year, Ford had to settle for just the Car of the Year Award handed out to the Mustang, while Chevrolet took its place for Truck of the Year with the Silverado. The 4x4/SUV of the Year was awarded to the Jeep Wrangler for an unprecedented tenth consecutive year. Rounding out the awards are the Audi RS 3 winning Sport Compact Car of the Year and the Polaris RZR taking home Powersports Vehicle of the Year.


Truly An Icon The Mercedes G-Class was updated for 2019 but has stayed true to what has made it an off-road legend

he Mercedes-Benz G-Class, or G-Wagen as most prefer, is one of few vehicles that has been able to go T basically unchanged for decades yet somehow achieve and maintain iconic status. There are some others - including the Volkswagen Beetle, Mini Cooper and Jeep Wrangler – that come to mind but even those have gone through more updates over the years than the G-Class has. For the 2019 model year and for the first time since 1979, Mercedes is calling the G-Class brand new and, although there have definitely been some updates, they have done a great job in making sure it stayed true to its roots and not to deviate too far from what has made it a true legend in the automotive world.

Story and photos by Jordan Allan, additional photos courtesy of Mercedes-Benz Canada

Having only had a brief experience behind the wheel of a G-Wagen many years ago, I was very excited to learn I’d be spending an entire week in the G550 model as it would give me an opportunity to see firsthand what all the fuss is about. The 2019 version of the G-Wagen is slightly taller, longer and wider than the outgoing version and although they’re saying it’s all-new, the appearance really hasn’t changed much save for a few little tweaks here and there that aren’t that noticeable. What is noticeable is the retention of the design cues that have made it a

legend over the past few decades. The distinctive door handles are still featured on the doors that give that amazing closing sound, while the exposed rear wheel and exterior protective strip have stayed around. Aside from getting a little bigger, up close there really isn’t much that jumps out as new, and if you ask me, that’s a good thing. Inside is probably where the most updates have occurred over the years with the addition of new technologies, safety features and infotainment systems. The classic look is retained but the modern redesign has upped the ante in terms of luxury and practicality even more. If optioned like our test model, two 12.3-in. displays blend visually into one big screen that contains everything from your speedometer and fuel gauge to the navigation and radio controls. These screens are highly modifiable and give users a chance to choose a setup that best suits their driving needs. The aforementioned infotainment system is controlled via the centre console-mounted touchpad which is normally something I’m not a fan of, but in this case it is very well done and easy to use. The driver’s seat gives you a high-up seating position which allows you to easily view all of the corners and will provide amazing support in uneven and bumpy off-road situations thanks in large part to the optional Active Multicontour Seat Package which adjusts the side bolsters in real time as you take corners. Additionally, the front seats feature heating and cooling functions plus various massage functions which gives you a truly luxurious experience. Rear seat room isn’t amazing, but when you’re in a vehicle that is as cool and unique as this one, this probably wouldn’t be on anyone’s mind. Under the hood of the new G550 is a 4.0-litre Biturbo V8 that makes a very impressive 416 horsepower and 450 lb-ft of


torque. This not only provides some fun during on-road situations, but also gives you that added push that is sometimes needed in challenging off-road environments. The engine is paired to the new 9G-TRONIC automatic transmission with torque converter that was specifically adapted to meet the needs of the G-Class. The wide gear ratios not only provide a more comfortable driving experience but also better efficiency, which is a must these days. Mercedes themselves are saying that this new G-Class is even better off-road than any of its predecessors. Although, at first glance, this may be hard to believe, but when you consider the technology available today, there is no reason to believe it isn’t. It still features its standard ladder-type frame, three differential locks and low range off-road gear selection, all of which work in lock step to allow the vehicle to tackle all types of terrain in every type of environment.

depth of 70 cm (27.5-in.), and better departure, tilt and break-over angles thanks to its increased size and improved design angles. Driving the G-Class is truly like nothing I’d ever experienced before. On one hand, it feels very old school with its loud shutting doors, box-like appearance and overall large size but on the other, it is truly one of the most luxurious vehicles available. My initial expectations would be that while driving on-road, it would feel very rugged and somewhat harsh in much the same way a Jeep Wrangler does, but thanks to features such as an optional Adaptive Damping suspension and Dynamic Select drive mode selector, this was not the case.

What’s new in terms of off-road capability is the addition of a new independent suspension with double wishbone front axle and rigid rear axle. This new front axle has been designed especially for the G-Class and improves the rigidity of the body’s front-end due to the addition of a strut tower brace which now connects the front strut towers. In the rear, a new rigid axle is now controlled at the rear by four trailing arms on each side which provides a smoother ride on-road and increased capability off-road. The G-Wagen now features a ground clearance between axles of 24.1 cm (9.5-in.), a maximum water fording DEC/JAN 2019 OFF-ROAD Plus MAGAZINE 15

that it is the true off-road legend that people have been saying it is for the last few decades, but sadly this is not the case. Although it’s what it is truly meant for, putting a vehicle with a starting MSRP of $134,000 in any kind of extreme situation would make almost anyone nervous and I decided not to put myself through that. Luckily for me, many have put the Mercedes-Benz G-Class through some very challenging situations over the years and by all accounts it has and will continue to perform admirably in any situation, and remains one of the three most capable off-road vehicles available today alongside the Jeep Wrangler and Land Rover.

The G-Class offers a very refined ride and a sense of performance I have rarely if ever felt in a vehicle of this size. The Biturbo V8 propels the heavy SUV to highway speeds very quickly and when putting around town or sitting in traffic, driving the G-Wagen didn’t feel like a difficult task as larger vehicles sometimes do. Although I made sure to travel down some local gravel roads with minor bumps and obstacles, I will admit to the fact that I was a bit scared to do anything more than that in terms of off-roading. I wish I could tell you that I truly put the G550 through its paces, and determined on my own


One last thing that has to be mentioned about the driving experience in the G-Wagen is the sense of prestige or status getting behind the wheel gives you. I’m not sure if it’s the numerous rap songs it has been mentioned in or movies it’s been featured in over the years, but there is a feeling you get when you’re behind the wheel that no other vehicle has ever given me to this day and one that is hard to put into words. Not everyone is into cars or trucks, and even they could tell you what a G-Wagen is and this is only something that could be achieved by a vehicle that is truly an icon. Given all of the change that has happened and all that will come in the automotive world as we focus on electrification and efficiency, the Mercedes G-Class is the type of vehicle that could withstand all that and keep on keeping on. Don’t be surprised if it is able to stick around for another 40 years.


BUYERS’ GUIDE ARIES Jeep Heavy-Duty Spare Tire Carrier

Description: This HD rear door carrier is designed to be highly adjustable and extra strong to accommodate oversize spare tires up to 37-in. in diameter. It can be adjusted both vertically and horizontally, and the third brake light bracket can be moved up and down as well. To give the ARIES HD spare tire carrier adequate strength to hold large off-road tires, it comes with heavy-duty hinges. These hinges are designed to replace the existing Jeep JK door hinges with a heavier-duty option, strengthening the door and tire carrier for extreme off-roading. The hinges and the carrier itself install with no drilling required, utilizing the existing factory mounting points. Specifications: The HD Jeep tire carrier is also constructed from welded steel for maximum strength, and it features a highly durable carbide black powder coat finish for superior rust resistance. Applications: 2007-2018 Jeep Wrangler JK Website:

Bestop HighRock 4x4 Element Doors Description: Bestop’s HighRock 4x4 Element Doors are high-strength tube doors that provide superior visibility while also providing enough options to match your vehicle and your style. Some of these options include storage bags, enclosure kits or upper door panels which allows the doors to be versatile enough to fit into any Jeep’s appearance. They feature a fully-welded construction with door-stop straps, and offer mounting points for Highrock 4x4 Mirrors for bolt-on convenience. Specifications: Available in choice of finishes including Satin or Matte Black. Applications: Available for the Jeep Wrangler JK and JL. Website:

Body Armor 4x4 Backbone Description: The Backbone by Body Armor 4x4 is a unique 4-in-1 functionality that is able to handle a multitude of jobs in one convenient and easy-to-use package. It functions as a sturdy skid plate, a nonskid step, a recovery point for a variety of tow straps and a reliable wheel chock. Made from heavy-duty ¼-in. steel plate, it fits a 2-in. receiver and works with almost any factory or aftermarket bumper. Specifications: Backbone comes in a black E-Coat finish and is easy to install with no tools required. Applications: Fits a 2-in. receiver and works with almost any factory or aftermarket bumper. Website:

Bushwacker Pocket-Style Fender Flares for 4Runner Description: Bushwacker’s Pocket-Style Fender Flares for the Toyota 4Runner feature recessed stainless steel bolts and are made to complement oversized tires and high-clearance lift kits. They feature a tough, OEM-style matte black finish and are UV protected. They are easily installed with only minimal drilling required and offer a finish that is easy to paint or leave as matte black. Specifications: Adds up to 1.5-in. of tire coverage from debris. Applications: Now available for the 2016 Toyota 4Runner. Website:

Bushwacker Trail Armor Rear Corner for Jeep Description: Bushwacker’s Trail Armor Rear Corner provides your 2018-2020 Jeep Wrangler JL with protection from brushes, limbs and other debris often encountered when off-roading. All Trail Armor components for the Jeep are made with rugged off-road durability in mind and not only will protect your Jeep but also will give it a customized look. Specifications: Installed with automotive-grade high bond tape and a no-drill process. Applications: Available for the 2018-2020 Jeep Wrangler JL. Website: 18 OFF-ROAD Plus MAGAZINE DEC/JAN 2019

CURT Ratcheting Tray-Style Bike Racks Description: The new CURT tray-style bike rack is a convenient and highly secure way of transporting your bicycles to that next destination. Its secret is a three-point mounting system. With two bottom, tray-style cradles and a ratcheting vertical arm, the bike rack holds each bike frame at three points, keeping it locked in place over hills, bumps and whatever else the road has in store. Specifications: The ratcheting arm also features an integrated lock to keep your bikes even more secure and well protected from theft. CURT tray-style bike racks are available in two-bike and four-bike models. Applications: 1 1/4-in. or 2-in. receiver tube (depending on the model) Website: Dee Zee Jeep Rear Door Work Bench Description: Dee Zee’s Jeep Rear Door Work Bench simply attaches to the inside of the rear door of the Jeep JL, providing users with a work space that wasn’t there before. The bench simply folds out of the way when not in use and is ideal for job sites, camping, or just anytime a surface is needed. Constructed from 14-gauge steel, the work bench is finished in a textured black powder coating for long lasting protection. Specifications: Maximum capacity of 75 lbs. Applications: Available for the Jeep Wrangler JL. Website:

Enthuze Jeep Spare Tire Carrier Description: The Enthuze Spare Tire Carrier for Jeeps accepts oversized, off-road-style spare tires up to 37-in. in diameter. Fully adjustable and constructed from welded steel for reliable strength and a durable carbide black powder coat finish for maximum rust resistance. Specifications: Replaces factory door hinges with heavy-duty hinges for a secure mount. Applications: Available for the Jeep Wrangler JK. Website:

Fab Fours Jeep Tube Doors Description: Fab Fours’ Jeep Tube Doors provide a unique combination of aggressive styling, functionality and durability, which will make your open air driving experience that much more enjoyable. The doors generate little-to-no vibrations and offer increased visibility, full surround tubing, and an integrated sun visor. Specifications: Made with 1.5-in. OD tubing with a two-stage matte black powder coat with epoxy primer. Applications: Now available for the Jeep Wrangler JL. Website:

Go Industries Jeep Wrangler Light Brackets Description: Go Industries’ Jeep Wrangler Light brackets are made from 7-gauge steel and are easy to install, as they utilize the existing hardware on your Jeep. They are coated with a black wrinkle finish and are a great way to install your 50-in. light bar. Specifications: Manufactured utilizing 7-gauge steel. Applications: Available for the 2007-2018 Jeep Wrangler JK. Website:

Go Rhino Overland Rack Description: Go Rhino’s new Overland Rack System for the Jeep Wrangler JKU combines overhead cargo management with front facing lighting options and rear taillight protection. The racks come complete with Go Rhino Windshield Light Frames and protective steel rear taillight covers. The body-to-body mounting design improves load displacement integrity and makes for quieter driving and wheeling. Specifications: Windshield Light Frame include options for a 50-in. light bar, 30-in. light bar with four 3-in. cube lights, and 40-in. light bar and two 3-in. cube lights. Applications: Available for the Jeep Wrangler JKU. Website: DEC/JAN 2019 OFF-ROAD Plus MAGAZINE 19

Husky Liners FormFit™ Mud Guards Description: Husky Liners® FormFit™ Mud Guards are made from durable, impact resistant all-weather thermoplastic that’s as tough as nails (or rocks for that matter). They’re easy to install, conform perfectly to your fenders, and protect your ride and those around you from the rage of the road. Specifications: The durable, impact resistant all-weather thermoplastic material holds up to whatever the road spits at it. Applications: Available for many full size trucks and SUVs. Website:

N-Fab Modular Roof Rack Description: N-Fab’s Modular Roof Rack has been designed to vehicle-specific OEM specifications which ensure a perfect fit. The rack features a front and rear multi-mount system for a combination of LED light bars of up to 36-in. across, and the aluminum construction allows the product to be lightweight yet strong with a heavy-duty load rating of up to 150 lbs. The Roof Rack’s centre rails are designed with anchor points for tie-down bungees, and are aerodynamically designed to reduce wind noise. Specifications: Available in a textured black powder coat finish using N-Fab’s 3-stage powder coating system. Applications: Available for Toyota and Jeep applications. Website:

Rampage Products Trailcrawler Skid Plate Description: Rampage Products’ new Trailcrawler Skid Plate is manufactured with 3/16-in. steel which will give you the ultimate protection for the undercarriage of the Jeep Wrangler JL. Two models are available; one with a 20-in. light bar for added visibility and one without. The black appearance of the skid plate will fit seamlessly into your Jeep’s black bumper designs. Specifications: Manufactured from 3/16-in. steel. Applications: Available for the 2018-2020 Jeep Wrangler JL. Website:



Road Armor TRECK Bed Rail System Description: At the recent 2019 SEMA Show, Road Armor took home a 2019 SEMA Global Media Award for the best new Aftermarket Truck & Jeep Accessories product with the all-new TRECK Bed Rail System. The product will be available in 2020 and provides customizable configuration options, multiple platform heights as well as a wide variety of accessory mounts and a tire relocation mount. Specifications: The system is constructed from 11-gauge, laser-cut steel that is able to support up to 800 lbs. Applications: Application listings to come. Website:

Rugged Ridge Rear Tag Relocation Bracket Description: If you’ve upgraded the rear bumper on your JL, you’ve had to ask yourself that dreadful question “Now what do I do with the license plate?” Well, don’t break out the self-tapping screws or zip-ties just yet! Rugged Ridge designed a simple, sturdy and highly-effective plate mounting solution that doesn’t break the bank or put holes in your body. The Rugged Ridge Tag Relocation Bracket takes the plate from its vulnerable pocket in the rear bumper and moves it far from harm, mounted securely and visibly on the spare tire carrier. Sturdy all-steel construction stands up to the rigours of off-road driving, while full adjustability allows for a wide variety of tire widths and offsets. Fully compatible with factory rear-view camera equipment. Specifications: Steel construction w/ satin black powder coat finish. Application: 2018-Present Jeep Wrangler JL / JLU. Website:

Rugged Ridge DRL Flare Chop Brackets Description: Modifying JL/ JT flares for off-road is easy and the look is nothing short of heroic with the Rugged Ridge Fender Chop Bracket Kit. By removing the bulky factory fender light assembly, you’ll have greater clearance for oversized tires with nothing to get between you and that next obstacle. Sturdy steel chop brackets install easily and lend support for the front of the factory fender flare, adding a fearless, aggressive new look. And since Jeeps don’t live solely off-road, radical dual-output DRL tubes provide a cool white running light by day that turns a vivid amber with your vehicle’s turn signals. Chop Brackets come in pairs, for both Rubicon and Sahara models, and feature a matte black powder coat finish that blends seamlessly with the factory flare finish. Specifications: Steel construction w/ satin black powder coat finish / Dual-colour 12V LED DRL tube Application: 2018-2019 Jeep Wrangler JL / 2020 Jeep Gladiator JT Website:

Precision fit to perfectly match the contours of your truck or SUV.

StayPut™ Cleats keep your liner from shifting around underfoot over carpet or vinyl.

FormFit Edge™ contains a spill until you can pull it out, wash it off— good as new!

Choose from Cocoa or Black to match the interior of your vehicle’s carpet or vinyl.

Go to or call 800.344.8759 to avoid unwanted stains and damage.

Smittybilt Atlas Door Steps Description: Smittybilt’s Atlas Door Steps combine safety, functionality and durability, and provide a safe, surefooted solution to offer easy access to Jeep roof racks and more. They feature an easy, direct bolt-on installation with no drilling required, and a 350-lb. load limit. The steps also feature a built-in bottle opener and a non-slip serrated step design. Specifications: Constructed of 1/8-in. steel with a durable black powder-coated body with clear zinc step. Applications: For 2007-2017 Jeep Wrangler JK. Website:

TrailFX Tube Doors for Jeep JK Description: The TrailFX tube doors give the Jeep JK an incredible open air experience while still providing protection for its passengers, both on and off the road. Look good wherever you take it and take advantage of the additional visibility they provide. Specifications: These are direct bolt-on replacements using the factory hinges, and include side view mirror mounts on the front doors. Application: 07-18 Jeep JK Website: Truck Hardware’s Gatorback Removable Nylon Off-roading Mudflaps Description: Gatorback nylon mudflaps are for the driver who has to have mudflaps when on the highway, but needs to be able to remove them quickly when going off-road. This new patented design allows for a quick, tool-less removal of the mudflaps in less than a minute. Featuring a 1” offset, these durable nylon kickback brackets have a built in locking channel that allows a specially designed Gatorback mudflap to slide out when required, giving you all the off-road clearance of not having a mudflap. When returning to the highway simply slide the lower rubber Gatorback back into the bracket and insert the locking clip to secure.  Specifications: Available in two lengths, and in four plate finishes, also a Dually size is available. Interchangeable licensed logo’d plates available. Applications: Universal fitment and some custom-fit applications available. Website: Truck Hardware’s Precision Design F150 3-Piece Skidplate Description: Precision Design’s 3-Piece skidplate for the 2015+ F150 is the ultimate in offroad protection for the undercarriage of your truck, Complete drivetrain protection and peace of mind, this no-drill skidplate bolts up to existing mounting points and features a removable access door for oil changes. Specifications: Manufactured in Canada using premium materials, aluminum construction, No-drill installation. Applications: Made for the 2015+ Ford F150, Other options and applications available. Website: UWS UTV Tool Boxes Description: The UWS UTV tool box is the perfect way to add secure storage to a UTV -- a vehicle made specifically for outdoor work. It is designed to install with vehicle-specific brackets for a custom fit. The tub is constructed from powder-coated aluminum and welded together, in the USA, to be a single-piece design. Specifications: The lid is filled with rigid foam for extra strength, and it has a MicroSeal™ gasket to help stop moisture and keep items well-protected from the elements. Applications: Can-Am Defender, Honda Pioneer 1000, Kawasaki Mule Pro-FXT, Polaris Ranger and Yamaha Viking Website: WeatherTech No-Drill MudFlaps Description: WeatherTech’s NoDrill MudFlaps are laser measured for a perfect fit and mount in minutes without the need for wheel or tire removal and, most importantly, no need for drilling into your vehicle’s painted metal surface. The flaps are contoured specifically for each application and molded from a proprietary thermoplastic resin. Specifications: Many of the MudFlaps featured the patented QuickTurn hardened stainless steel fastening system while other applications come with the supplied hardware. Applications: Available for a wide array of vehicles. Visit website for complete listings. Website: 22 OFF-ROAD Plus MAGAZINE DEC/JAN 2019

Off-Road Test The Ram Rebel and Power Wagon are put to the test in the mountains of B.C.

Story and photos by Howard J Elmer, additional photos courtesy of FCA Canada


am brand pickups have been gaining market share for years now, and part of that sales success can be attributed to two key players among the Ram models – the Rebel and the Power Wagon. Recently I was driving both, in the mountains of British Columbia, to see what’s new with these two nameplates, one relatively new, while the other can be considered the grand-daddy of off-road trucks.

Driving the Rebel up a mountain on a soggy B.C. day reminded me that I have always liked what the Ram design team has done with Rebel. Though it’s a Ram 1500 at heart, the colour schemes and design cues have always set it apart in a significant way. Just look at the interior theme for example, where aggressive tire tread patterns criss-cross the seats. However, while working the rocky switchbacks on Grouse Mountain, I also realized that its updated rough terrain capabilities now let me love it for being a decent off-roader too. My next ride after the lunch stop (at 6,000 feet of elevation), was the Ram Power Wagon. This iconic truck got its start doing military

The Rebel was launched in 2015; based on the Ram 1500, it was more of a trim/styling package than a mechanically ungraded truck, at first. That fact, though, didn’t stop it from becoming a popular sales choice. Since then, Ram has rewarded Rebel buyers with a growing list of real off-road features – to where now, the 2019 Rebel I just drove can legitimately be called an off-roader. This new Ram Rebel features aggressive 32-inch all-terrain tires, a one-inch factory lift, Bilstein shocks, a locking rear differential (standard), multi-link rear coil spring suspension, full skid plate protection and integrated tow hooks. The two-speed 4WD transfer case features shift-on-the-fly controls and also works with a new Hill Descent Control system. Rebel can be powered by either the base 5.7L V8 Hemi engine (395 hp and 410 lb-ft of torque) or the optional 3.0L EcoDiesel V6 (newly redesigned; now making 260 hp and 480 lb-ft of torque). 24 OFF-ROAD Plus MAGAZINE DEC/JAN 2019

Ram Rebel

service and then as a civilian version, introduced in 1946. With a new cab and a purpose-built 8foot cargo box, it rode on a 126-inch wheelbase chassis and featured a 230 cubic-inch flathead six-cylinder engine, a two-speed transfer case, a four-speed transmission and had a power take off (PTO). It was produced (with very little change) till 1968, when new light-duty truck safety regulations in the United States made it obsolete, though trucks were built for export well into the 1970s. The 2019 truck I was driving, though (built on the Ram 2500 chassis), harks back to its re-introduction in 2005 at Chrysler’s Chelsea proving grounds in Michigan. There, an earthen presentation podium exploded revealing a new Dodge Ram Power Wagon. That was the rebirth of the modern Power Wagon, a truck that remains mostly unchanged; mainly because its purpose is also unchanged – conquering the unpaved world. The key features of this 2019 Power Wagon are front and rear electronic lockers, a sway-bar disconnect system, integrated 12,000-lb Warn winch system, 33-inch off-road tires, full underbody armour, and up to 26-inches of individual wheel travel deflection. Powering this beast is the 6.4L Hemi V8 engine that, along with the 8-speed automatic transmission, makes 410 hp and 429 lb-ft of torque. Crawling back down the mountain, I was reminded of two things. One – the Power Wagon will go almost anywhere, just not fast. Its suspension

Ram Power Wagon DEC/JAN 2019 OFF-ROAD Plus MAGAZINE 25

is set to clamber over obstacles at a crawl – not at speed. Two – because of # One, it remains a favourite of Fire/Police/Forestry and Search & Rescue outfits. To that end, its also good to know that the Power Wagon version of the Ram 2500 can be ordered with the lowest of the trim packages. That would be “Tradesman,” so, unlike with some other off-roader models, purchasers are not pushed into top-level trim packages simply because they want the off-road features.

So, while it’s fun driving trucks like these off-road, I had a nagging question. Why had Ram set up this program? Neither of these trucks was significantly new – so, I asked around. Most of the answers I got referred to the future of the Ram off-road brand. So, I started thinking about what was not at this program, but has now been officially confirmed - the Ram Rebel TRX, which will be built for the 2020 model year. My thought after learning this was that the B.C. mountain climb then was just an appetizer to warm us up for this significant new truck coming soon enough. This is an exciting development, as this addition will now give Ram a trio of off-road trucks that will cover the desertracer market; the rock-climbing segment and offer a general mud-slinger truck. If you haven’t heard of the TRX, well, it’s worth knowing as much as you can right now; this one will be big. First shown as a concept at the Texas State Fair in September of 2016, it really caused a stir; then nothing. Frankly many (including me) were beginning to wonder if it would actually get built. So, now I say, better late than never. Here is what we can expect next year. Based on the Ram 1500, this Rebel TRX will be a fully engineered and designed pickup meant for extreme offroading at speed. It will feature a 575-hp


6.2L Hemi V8 coupled with a TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmission. Its front and rear axles are designed for severe duty, and the truck will sport 13-inches of wheel travel at all four corners. Using bypass performance shocks at the front and rear, the TRX should have impressive damping ability. The truck body will be six-inches wider than a standard Ram 1500, mainly to accommodate the large fender wells that house the aggressive 37-inch tires. They are all bead locked and the bed will carry two spare tires. The 4WD system is sourced through BorgWarner and employs different computer-controlled modes such as Normal, Wet/Snow, Off-road and Baja. The front axle uses an open differential, while the rear has a selectable locker that works at any speed. The look of the TRX is macho-aggressive, an overall impression that is enhanced by the specially tuned exhaust note that blasts out of the short 5-inch pipes just ahead of the rear wheels. Its design will borrow from both the Rebel and the Power Wagon – good company to be in. Stopping the truck is a Baer six-piston monobloc caliper mounted on 15-inch rotors. Ram says this TRX will easily be a 160-km/h off-road machine that pickup fans will appreciate. I know I’m looking forward to it.

Ram Rebel TRX Concept



New Kind of Truck Story and photos by Howard J Elmer


ill your next pickup truck be electric? It’s a strong possibility as several companies are moving quickly to bring electric-powered pickups to market – including the major Detroit builders. I recently visited one of these companies in suburban Detroit to see just how far along its electric truck development has come. The company is Bollinger Motors, and yes, there is a Mr. Bollinger, a man who put up his own money to bring a new kind of pickup to market. According to the company website, Robert Bollinger spent his childhood drawing cars and dreaming of his own car company. He attended Carnegie Mellon and earned a degree in Industrial Design, and was planning to further his education at an automotive design grad school. Instead, he found himself in New York City, working his way up the advertising ladder, becoming a creative director. He then partnered with a friend growing a very lucrative hair care company. With the successful sale of that business, he moved to a farm in upstate New York. Once again, he starting dreaming of building his own car, but he decided he wanted a truck for farm use instead. With that use in mind, he started designing what he thought would be a very practical pickup. Interestingly, his choice of electric power as the mode of propulsion wasn’t born of a rabid anti-fossil fuel attitude. Instead, he found early on that using off28 OFF-ROAD Plus MAGAZINE DEC/JAN 2019

the-shelf electric components was a cheaper and faster way of getting his truck to market. At Bollinger’s headquarters, a rolling B2 pickup chassis is on display; work continues but I can see it’s almost done. What I saw there was a truck design that can be described as the boiled down essence of practicality. Its square body is built for service, and its frame, suspension and drivetrain will haul people, payload and go just about anywhere. In fact, once you get past the whole electric thing, this appears to be one tough utility truck.

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other storage space (a 14-cu. ft, “frunk”). This space also has a rear access door through the firewall which, when open, creates a 16foot long pass-through right to the rear of the cargo bed. Inside, the IKEA-simple, clean design continues. Everything is flat or square. Controls are knobs and toggles, all well placed and easily used. Bollinger engineers seemed to find simple, yet elegant, solutions for all the accessory needs. The feature that struck me was the window defroster – rather than using a larger in-dash vent selector and complicated powered duct diverter, the B2 employs a perforated cylinder that runs the length of the dashboard that spins by hand. If you need defrost – you turn the holes in the one-half of the cylinder upwards, towards the glass. Want it off – simply spin back, till it’s closed. Looking at the B2, I was struck with its box-like build, which to me is reminiscent of a Mercedes G-Wagon or old-school Land Rover Defender. Good company to be in. However, this is not a steel shell; as weight is the enemy of any electric vehicle, the B2 features an all-aluminum body. It has four standard doors, seats four passengers and has a six-foot cargo bed. However, it has a few smart features that will add to that space including a lifting rear glass and a fold-flat mid-gate panel that opens up the bed to the interior. The rear passenger seats are also removable to create even more cargo room. Oh, but there is more. Because the hood does not cover a traditional engine, it lifts to reveal an-


Still, it’s not all low-tech. Above your head is a four-panel, removable, full glass roof. They have invested in some very eye-catching features. What was hard to see on the floor model was the drivetrain. Most of the components are run through a raised tunnel that runs the length of the truck. In fact, looking under the truck revealed a clean surface that is virtually flat, which explains the extra ground clearance. For the B2, that is 15½ inches at the wheels (individual wheel travel is also 10-inches), because these electric drive components eliminate low-hanging axle supports and prop shafts. So, with that kind of clear-

ance, you’d expect some decent off-road performance. It doesn’t hurt that the B2 has four-corner air suspension, less underside hardware and the ability to raise and lower itself. So, now consider that driving those wheels are two electric motors – one driving the front wheels, the other the rear set. Each electric motor has an output of 300 hp and 668 lb-ft of torque and spins at up to 15,000 rpm. The truck has a typical two-speed transfer case and 2/4WD selector. With that much power pushing through the wheels it should be a serious off-roader. So, while the default drive mode is a slip-n-grip all-wheel drive setup – on-road or off, both front and rear axles come with lockers. This elevates the truck to Jeep-like ability. In fact, I noted that the B2 is actively taking a page out of Jeep’s marketing book by offering an unbuttoned driving experience – its doors, windshield and glass roof panels are all removable. So, while its crawl ratio will be substantial, it’s no dog on the highway. Speed-wise, the truck will be governed to a top speed of 160 km/h, but its ability to get up to speed is brisk – its 0-100 km/h time is said to be 4.5 seconds. Stopping the truck will be vented inboard disc brakes (11.75-inches). They are also anti-lock. The tires I saw on the demo model were BF Goodrich KO2’s – aggressive and 33-inches tall; apparently these will be standard. Bollinger engineers then talked to me about the key concern anyone buying an electric truck will have. In a word – range. According to them, the B2 is equipped with a 120 KWH battery pack which will have an effective battery range of 320 km on a full charge. Once depleted, the truck will recharge at various rates depending on what kind of charger it’s plugged into. The more common one (Level 2) will utilize 220V power and restore the battery in 8 to 10 hours. If a Level 3 (called a DC Fast) charger is available, this time can be cut to around 2 hours.

Here are the B2 specifications and capacities: Wheelbase: ..................................................................139 in. Length: .......................................................................207.5 in. Width (no mirrors): ...................................................77.2 in. Width (with mirrors): ...............................................89.0 in. Height: ..........................................................................72.7 in. Front Track: ................................................................66.2 in. Rear Track: .................................................................66.2 in. Approach Angle: ................................................ 52-degrees Break Over Angle: ............................................. 25-degrees Departure Angle: ............................................... 28-degrees Curb Weight: . ............................................................5,000 lb GVWR: .......................................................................10,001 lb

Bollinger says that the B2 will have a payload rating of 5,000 lb and a tow rating of 7,500 lb. Bollinger also says that they will submit the B2 for the required SAE J2807 load testing that will verify and certify its payload and towing capacities – just like the big boys. Pricing? No, not yet. When is it available? No date is set; but the B2 is real and from what I’ve seen it will have a market. So, while I was not able to drive the prototype I was crawling through, Bollinger says that day is getting closer. Their stated goal is to have a full production-built unit ready for the 2021 model year. So, a B2 available for purchase a year from now? Maybe. The key piece to the rollout puzzle is finding the right facility to put the trucks together. That is what they are doing right now - actively searching for an established partner with an existing production facility to assemble the B2. I wish them luck. A variety of optional equipment is also planned for the B2 – such as a front-mounted winch and accommodation for standard snowplows. But the best one I saw was a tongue-in-cheek line item in the brochure. Ten 110V outlets come standard – after all, it IS an electric truck. DEC/JAN 2019 OFF-ROAD Plus MAGAZINE 31


Class of Their Own

Story and photos by John Gunnell


hen the Milwaukee Concours d’Elegance presented a special class for early Broncos, it featured a bevy of special interest models and historically significant ones. Tim Hulick of Indianola, Iowa, brought a Peacock Blue 1966 Bronco Roadster to the event. This truck was built in September 1965, the second

The very early Bronco Roadsters used bodies made by Budd Body Company and had unique touches like an “eyebrow” grille, transfer case shift levers topped with a patterned knob, front transaxle covers fitted with a square fill plug and forward-facing rear shock absorbers. Only 4,090 Roadsters were produced by Ford for model-year 1966. Tom Belsham of Glenville, Minnesota, showed up with a 1972 Bronco with modifications honouring off-road race car builder Bill Stroppe. This Baja Bronco model was first released on January 28, 1971 as a limited production copy of Stroppe’s team vehicles that had won both the Baja 500 and the Baja 1000. Based on Ford Motor Co. records, only 460 Stroppe Broncos were produced between 1971 and 1975. They featured the Stroppe colour scheme of a blue rooftop, white upper body and orange lower body. They are very desirable Broncos to have in a collection today.

month of Bronco production. It has the 170-cid six-cylinder engine and three-speed manual gearbox. Referred to as the U13 model (the last three digits of the VIN number) Hulick’s Roadster was originally delivered in the Charlotte, North Carolina area. This Bronco features many first-year-only items such as unique hub caps and bumpers, a distinctive tailgate, silver upholstery, a grey painted dashboard and more. 32 OFF-ROAD Plus MAGAZINE DEC/JAN 2019

A company named Kar-Kraft that served as a “skunkworks” for Ford innovations was contracted to build this prototype. Bill Stroppe teamed with Kar-Kraft engineers to cram the fully blueprinted GT350-type 351 engine into the Bronco ahead of a C4 automatic transmission. Then, 4.11:1 ratio limited-slip axles were used front and rear. The Boss Bronco prototype also incorporates a roll bar and numerous other highperformance goodies. The Boss Bronco project came to a halt in September of 1969 when Ford President “Bunkie” Knudsen was fired. The prototype was actually built for him.

Adan and Rachel Kruse of Mequon, Wisconsin brought out a clean, mostly original 1977 Bronco with light blue finish and a white upper body. They are the third owners of the SUV, that came from the Southern part of the United States and survived in great condition. The Kruses know the complete history of the vehicle, too. A fourth Bronco at the show was the 1974 Bronco Ranger that Jack Niederkorn brought up from Barrington, Illinois. The SUV sports a 302-cid V-8 engine and automatic transmission. This Bronco has the upgraded Ranger interior package with colour-keyed full carpeting, colour-keyed door trim panels and wood-tone accents. The vinyl seats also have colour-keyed houndstooth inserts. On the outside, Niederkorn’s Bronco has the original tape stripes on the hood and lower body sides. Also featured is a swing away spare tire carrier with a Ranger spare tire cover. Full wheel covers complete the truck’s upscale appearance. Colin Comer of River Hills, Wisconsin—a Mustang and Shelby expert and muscle car author—brought a very rare Bronco to the concours and

At that point, the project was canceled and the Boss Bronco prototype was inventoried by Kar-Kraft and put into storage. It was tagged “Non-Resalable” and plans were made to scrap the vehicle out. Somehow, the rare Bronco survived. It was discovered in 2016 by a Kar-Kraft historian. So, one of the most historically significant early Broncos returned after 45 years. Even more amazing is its condition, which is unrestored and as if it was kept in a time capsule. Cana Comer—the wife of Colin—also brought a neat Bronco to the Concours. This one is a 1977 and represents the final year of the early versions. It’s an “uncut” base level edition with orange finish and a white top. The truck features factory power steering, power brakes, and a 302cid V8. Since it was used in Phoenix, Arizona most of its life, the Bronco has add-on air conditioning. Cana Comer purchased it five years ago and drove it 2,400 miles to its new home in Wisconsin. Much of the trip was over the famous Route 66. Chuck Wegner, also of River Hills, Wisconsin, showed a 1969 Holman & Moody “Bronco Hunter.” This is a specially built truck that Ford gave to the factory-backed racing team that stock car builders Holman & Moody and off-road racer Bill Stroppe joined forces to form. The concept was to build a very special street Bronco. The Bronco Hunter was assigned a Holman & Moody serial number that included the name “Bronco Hunter.” The truck featured a gaggle of non-production items and also had equipment that would not be seen on a factory-built Bronco until the Baja Bronco came out in 1971. The truck is totally a one-of-a-kind vehicle and a piece of Bronco history.

also served as chairman of the Bronco class. His SUV is a 1969 “Boss” Bronco prototype with a 351-cid V8. In 1969, Ford was looking to create a regular production high-performance version of the Bronco. It quickly lifted the name “Boss Bronco” from a hot Mustang model and was expected to become a part of the company’s new Boss brand. DEC/JAN 2019 OFF-ROAD Plus MAGAZINE 33


BUYERS’ GUIDE ARIES Jeep Pro Series™ Grille Guard with LED Light Bar

Description: The ARIES Pro Series™ grille guard for the Jeep JK is uniquely made for LED light bar customization, featuring a patented centre crossbar with a 20-in. single-row LED light bar. The crossbar also accepts a number of different interchangeable cover plate options to protect the light and maximize customization. Specifications: The light itself features grade-A Cree LED chips, IP68 and IP69K waterproof and dustproof ratings and a 9,800-lumen combo beam. This Pro Series™ grille guard is also available without the included light bar (#P1050). Applications: 2007-2017 Jeep Wrangler JK Website:

Baja Designs Polaris RZR Grille Kit Description: Baja Designs’ Polaris RZR Grille Kit comes fully-equipped with a powdercoated grille mount, a 10-in. OnX6 LED light bar and wiring harness. The kit gives your RZR a customized front end look and even increases its functionality by providing bright LED light to brighten even the darkest of off-roading situations. Specifications: LED light is fully IP69K waterproof up to 9-ft. Applications: Available for the 2015-16 Polaris RZR XP900 and 2014-16 Polaris RZR XP1000. Website:

DV8 Offroad Jeep Replacement Grille Description: DV8 Offroad’s replacement grille for the Jeep Wrangler JL provides a menacing, mean look to the front end of the Jeep. The design utilizes the large, 9-in. round headlights and not only provides an appearance upgrade but also will provide you with added front end protection. The grille is meant as a complete replacement for the OE grille. Specifications: Grille is easily paintable and features an easy installation. Applications: Available for the 2018-2020 Jeep Wrangler JL. Website:

Go Industries Winch Grille Guard Description: Go Industries’ Winch Grille Guard is constructed from a high-strength material and will provide the front end of your vehicle with some serious protection as well as an appearance upgrade. The guards come with custom, heavy-duty mounting brackets to ensure a proper fit, but also to make for an easy installation. Specifications: Constructed from 5/16 laser-cut steel uprights with 2.5-in. 16-gauge steel cross tubes. Applications: Available for a Chevrolet, Ram and Ford applications. Website:

Luverne Baja Guard 2 Brush Guard Description: Luverne’s Baja Guard 2 Brush Guard protects your truck’s front end while also providing a style upgrade to it. The guards feature a vehicle-specific design of one-piece steel and installs with no drilling necessary. Additionally the guard also accepts aftermarket lights with three welded mounts built directly into the crossbar. Specifications: Manufactured using one-piece steel and finished with a durable, textured black powder-coat finish. Applications: Available for a wide variety of late model pickups. Website: 34 OFF-ROAD Plus MAGAZINE DEC/JAN 2019

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N-Fab Wire Mesh Grille Description: N-Fab’s Wire Mesh Grille for the Toyota Tacoma is precision-built for a perfect fit on your specific application, and is made from 304 Marine-grade stainless steel. It comes in a standard textured matte black and will provide your front end with an appearance upgrade that will help your vehicle stand out in a crowd. Specifications: Made with powder-coated stainless steel. Applications: Available for 2005-2011 Toyota Tacoma. Website:

Putco Bar Bumper Grille Inserts Description: Putco’s application-specific Bumper Grille Inserts are easily installed into the bumper or the factory grille opening of your vehicle, depending on the specific part. Offered in either a mirror-like NeveRust Stainless Steel or black powder-coated finish, each grille kit includes easy-to-follow instructions for an ultra-easy installation. Specifications: Offered in either a mirror-like NeveRust Stainless steel or black powdercoated finish. Applications: Available for a wide variety of pickups. Website:

Rampage Products Gloss Black Grille Insert Description: Rampage Products Gloss Black Grille Insert is a one-piece insert made exclusively for Jeeps. It features a heavy-duty construction to protect your engine and provides your Jeep with a more aggressive look. The insert features a no-drill installation and provides a custom look to your Jeep. Specifications: Manufactured with heavy-duty steel. Applications: Available for 2007-2017 Jeep Wrangler JK. Website:

Rigid Industries Toyota Tundra Grille Description: Rigid Industries Toyota Tundra Grille features aggressive styling and stainless steel construction with a UV- and abrasion-resistant black powder coat finish for the ultimate durability. All Rigid’s grilles, OE brackets and mounts are made with 100-percent stainless steel, and not only provide a styling upgrade to your truck, but also increase front end protection. Specifications: Stainless steel construction. Applications: Available for the 2014-2017 Toyota Tundra. Website:

Rugged Ridge Jeep Wrangler JK Grille Inserts Description: Rugged Ridge’s Grille Inserts for the Jeep Wrangler JK are durable UV-treated inserts that come available in your choice of black or chrome with or without aluminum billet inserts. The inserts add great styling and provide a unique appearance that is different from most other Jeeps. Specifications: They install easily without drilling or tools. Applications: Available for 2007-2017 Jeep Wrangler JK. Website:

Smittybilt Grille Savers Description: Smittybilt’s Grille Savers provide your truck with heavy-duty front-end protection and boast a custom-built style that off-road vehicles demand. They feature a polished skid plate for maximum protection, are a custom fit for each application, and are pre-drilled for optional off-road lights. Specifications: Manufactured from 3-in. tubular steel. Applications: Available for Ford, GM, Nissan, Toyota and Dodge/Ram applications. Website: 36 OFF-ROAD Plus MAGAZINE DEC/JAN 2019


Adventure Ready Story by Spencer Whitney, photos courtesy of the manufacturers


ach November, the automotive aftermarket world descends on Las Vegas for the SEMA Show. Over the last few years, the offroad and overland segments have grown considerably - so much so that a new dedicated overland section has claimed a sizable portion of the show floor. As a result, manufacturers are jumping at the chance to show off their vehicles in adventure-ready form. We’re going to take a look at a few new ready-to-run show vehicles from major manufacturers; although some are technically concept vehicles, you could build one yourself today from parts available on the market. SEMA is always an entertaining display of wild and wonderful 4x4 builds, but one thing is for sure this year - trucks are starting to dominate the overland segment. NISSAN DESERT RUNNER CONCEPT Not to be outdone by other manufacturers, Nissan has stepped in to the fold with a bold new look at the aging Frontier platform. Although Nissan does sell an existing Desert Runner trim (consisting of 4x2 drivetrain, slightly different wheels, and unique badging), this truck is nothing like what you might find on dealer lots today. This two-door short-wheelbase truck has been given long-travel off-road suspension and fully cut-out fenders for maximum wheel travel in demanding high-speed desert conditions. Possibly not the most ideal truck for the back roads of Western Canada, but who wouldn’t want to try driving the same old potholed forest service roads around here just a little bit faster? Not only did Nissan work on the suspension, they also managed to fit a Titan V8 powerplant under the hood. If that wasn’t enough, they continued in true SEMA fashion and added a turbocharger, internal upgrades, and software tune that together result in nearly 600 horsepower. Who would think that this dune-ripper is based on a truck platform that debuted almost twenty years ago? DEC/JAN 2019 OFF-ROAD Plus MAGAZINE 37


VOLKSWAGEN ATLAS OVERLAND CONCEPTS Volkswagen is not exactly the first brand that comes to mind when thinking about off-road performers. While they’re best known for family cars and the occasional allwheel drive camper van, VW actually has a long history of high-performance endurance trucks taking part in the famed Dakar Rally. Race-ready versions of the Touareg, Golf and even Beetle have appeared over the years and even secured back-to-back wins in 2009 & 2010. At SEMA, however, they showed off some more accessible off-road vehicles. The U.S.-built Atlas is a strong seller, so the aftermarket has started to offer all kinds of accessories. Two concepts with different themes made an appearance this year. The Atlas Adventure features a lift kit manufactured by H&R, and dons several lighting upgrades from Baja Designs to make driving in dust and rain safer. Custom fender flares allow fitment of aftermarket wheels with a wider stance, and to top it all off, a tent from Overland Equipment provides a comfortable place to sleep. For differing tastes, the Atlas Basecamp provides an excellently optioned platform for outdoor play - and it even looks stylish in its matte grey wrap. While this model did make an appearance at SEMA last year, the news here is that Fifteen52 has decided to put the concept wheels on it into production, giving existing Atlas owners a durable off-road wheel option. The Atlas is a roomy vehicle, and in all-wheel-drive form, should be considered by drivers looking for a daily driver that they might want to use for weekend adventures with the family. FORD RANGER RTR RAMBLER Vaughan Gittin, Jr. is well known as one of the best drifters ever to come out of the North American scene. But many people aren’t aware that he’s been quietly developing a performance vehicle line at his company RTR, and using his relationship with Ford to push the limits of their factorymade vehicles. RTR’s latest development is a high-spec Ranger known as the Rambler. Unlike the other rigs we’ve 38 OFF-ROAD Plus MAGAZINE DEC/JAN 2019










written about so far, this one can be purchased today at select Ford dealerships in the USA. Many enthusiasts have lamented at the fact that the Ranger Raptor may never come to North America. RTR clearly heard these cries and decided to take matters into their own hands. Equipped with Fox 2.0 suspension, off-road wheels and a host of other upgrades, the Rambler is an excellent platform for future upgrades and add-ons. The exterior styling is fantastic and shows a few nods to the Raptor, while inside you can upgrade the interior to a custom leather setup. While there are no engine performance upgrades included (aside from a Ford Performance exhaust) we can only guess that they’ll be available in the future. RTR has priced the dealer-installable package at under $10,000 which is a great deal considering the competitive pricing for the Ranger - and you get to keep your original warranty intact. RAM 1500 OTG Not to be left behind by competitors capitalizing on the rise of fullsize overland trucks, Ram decided to show off a fully overland-kitted 1500 EcoDiesel this year. Many of the components shown are off the shelf, but integrated in a sleek way that only a manufacturer could pull off. The result is a very functional platform, equipped with rock sliders, winch bumper, bed rack, kitchen system, and solar panels. Unique to this build is a custom rear bumper that enhances departure angle, as well as a 125-litre fuel tank - possibly the most impressive addition to this truck and one we hope becomes a factory option. One-ton trucks will have several tank options from the factory but no truck in this category allows for fuel capacity upgrades, leaving it up to costly aftermarket solutions. While it is possible, upgrading a fuel tank is a complicated procedure - especially since it will void your new vehicle warranty. The theme of this build is “off the grid” and extended travel; essential to that idea is the new EcoDiesel, which can achieve almost 8.0L/100 km. Conservative driving habits could net you 1,500 km of off-road range. Pair that with the usuallycheaper diesel price at the pump and the 1500 is starting to look like a winner for vehicle sustained travel.


HENNESSEY MAXIMUS JEEP GLADIATOR SEMA wouldn’t be complete without a few interesting Jeep builds direct from the manufacturer, but it was this beast displayed by legendary custom constructor Hennessey Performance Engineering that really caught our eye. When the Gladiator debuted late last year, Hennessey wasted no time in preparing for a run of custom trucks. Already well known for high-output builds, they decided that no less than a Hellcat crate engine would do. If that wasn’t enough to make you curious, the supercharged engine has been completely

tuned and rebuilt with internals suited for a ridiculous 1,000 horsepower output. Known for their outlandish builds and candid comments, the company calls it “badassery on four wheels.” In order to handle all that power, Hennessey engineers had to swap the stock differentials and driveline for Dana 60 axles and heavy-duty drive shafts. Rounding out the build is a 6-inch lift, custom interior, and aftermarket front and rear bumpers. Limited to only 24 trucks, this ludicrous Jeep tops out at $225,000 USD and rockets from 0-60 mph in only 3.9 seconds.




Mickey Thompson Offering New Sizes for Baja Pro X Off-Road Line

Jeep Wrangler JL LED Tail Lights from Anzo USA Anzo USA has released LED Tail Lights for the Jeep Wrangler JL that feature a plug-and-play installation with absolutely no drilling required. These 100-percent street-legal lights feature superior, high-power SMD LED lights that are manufactured to meet or exceed OEM specs. They are operational in both extreme hot and extreme cold temperatures and are fully sealed to keep moisture out while the external resistors regulate the turn signal function. For more information please go to

Superwinch Tiger Shark 9500 SR Winch

Mickey Thompson has announced five new sizes for the Baja Pro X tire line, which feature a sticky compound that is designed to provide ultimate grip on hard surfaces. The Protech construction provides added durability for the tires that are developed and designed for off-road use only. The dual decoupling grooves of the tire provide added flexibility on irregular surfaces while the Tredbiter cleats provide added traction. The additional sizes include LT37x13.50R17 and LT40x13.50R17 for light trucks and 30x10.0R14, 32x10.0R14 and 35x10.0R14 for UTVs. For more information please go to

Warrior Products Jeep Tube Fender Flares

Superwinch’s Tiger Shark winch has been synonymous with the off-road community for years and they have now further improved it with the release of the Tiger Shark 9500 SR Winch. To start, Superwinch added synthetic rope and redesigned the brake by moving it into the motor so that the drum stays cool and your rope stays strong. The weather-sealed 5.2-horsepower motor reduces damage from the elements while the ergonomically-shaped free-spool control is both easy to grip and effortless to operate.

Warrior Products has extended the current applications of the Jeep YJ-JK Steel Tube flares to include the newer Jeep Wrangler JL and JLU. They have been designed to replace the original flares with minimal or no drilling and are constructed of 1.5-in. black powder coated steel tubing. The flares’ top plate is available in polished diamond plate, black powder-coated diamond plate or black powdercoated steel. The unique design retians and surrounds the OEM Fender light with armored protection to prevent trail damage.

For more information please go to

For more information please go to


ICON Vehicle Dynamics Announces New Jeep JL/JT Front Bumper ICON Vehicle Dynamics has announced the arrival of its latest off-road armour product with the IMPACT Series Jeep JL/JT front bumper. The bumper has been designed to protect critical components of your Jeep, improve approach angles and provide ample

DiabloSport Pulsar and Trinity 2 MX Kits Now Available for Jeep and Ram DiabloSport’s Pulsar and Trinity 2 MX kits are now available for owners of late model Ram 1500, Ram 2500 and Jeep Wrangler and Gladiator. The Pulsar is one of the most innovative adjustable performance modules available today and when paired with the Trinity 2 MX, it gives you all of the insight into your vehicle you need while also adding power at the press of a button. Up to 8 on-thefly adjustable performance levels are featured and the seamless install provides an immediate increase of 30 horsepower with no PCM Swap or modifications required. The kits are available for 2015-2019 Ram 1500 5.7L, 2015-2018 Ram 2500 6.4L, 2018-2019 Jeep Wrangler JL and 2020 Jeep Gladiator JT. For more information please go to

Rugged Ridge New Front Skid Plate for Jeep Wrangler JL

room in the fender area for suspension articulation. It is available with the addition of mid- and full-width Wing Kits and is built to be both rugged and lightweight thanks to a 3/16-in. high-strength steel construction with interchangeable aluminum wings. Additionally, the bumpers come with a standard 10x4.5-in. winch mounting plate which is plenty for most common aftermarket systems. For more information please go to

Bubba Rope Gator-Jaw Series Expands With NexGen PRO

Rugged Ridge is now offering a way to provide even better underbody protection for your 2018-2019 Jeep Wrangler JL with the release of its JL skid plate. The incredibly strong body of the skid plate is stamped from 4mm-thick steel plate and features a unified fold-and-weld construction which deliver full protection to the factory crash bar and electronic sway bar disconnect components. It is designed to work with Rugged Ridge’s Arcus, Spartacus and HD Series bumpers and is finished in a durable, light-textured powder coat that guards from rust and corrosion.

Bubba Rope has expanded its Gator-Jaw Series synthetic shackles with the addition of the all-new NexGen PRO which feature a new slider design that makes it easy-to-use, and has a higher break rating for its size than any other shackle available today. The NexGen PRO is made from high modulus polyethylene fibre rope which is a safer and lighter alternative to steel shackles and ropes. The 3/8in. NexGen PRO shackle weighs only 6.5-oz. but has a 47,000 lb. breaking strength which is a 46-percent gain over the original Gator-Jaw synthetic shackle.

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TECH: NEW PRODUCTS Holley Anvil Off-Road Spare Tire Spacers Holley’s new Anvil Off-Road Spare Tire Spacers are made to relocate the tire 1.25-in. higher and 2.25-in. outward for plenty of extra clearance which is needed for larger wheel and tire combinations. The spacers easily bolt up to your rear tailgate using the existing holes and are made of steel with a durable black finish. They work with larger-than stock spare tires up to 33x12.5 and are compatible with a broad spectrum of Wranglers including TJ, JK and YJ from 1987-2017. For more information please go to

Rancho Jeep Gladiator Rubicon X-Lander RS3 Suspenson

Steelcraft’s New STX500 Running Boards Steelcraft Automotive’s new STX 500 Series running boards come 6-in. wide to match many trucks’ OE running boards, and feature a formed structure which adds both strength and durability. They are available in black powder coat or a brilliant polished stainless

Rancho’s SEMA Award-winning 3-in. Jeep Gladiator X-Lander RS3 performance suspension system features a highly-engineered and refined design to provide a versatile and capable on- and off-road suspension package. The system includes front and rear corner specific, heavy-duty progressive rate coil springs that ensure a level ride and are also tuned to enhance on-road comfort and provide responsive handling. The new suspension system is fully compatible with other Rancho shocks and is designed to accommodate up to 38-in. tires on the Rubicon model but is also compatible with OE tires and wheels. For more information please go to

Dynatrac’s New ProFloat XD60 Axle Dynatrac’s introduction of the ProFloat XD60 axle allows users to have the strength of a full-float rear axle without the additional heavy weight or the need to change wheels, and is designed to almost eliminate flange bending, even with tires up to 40-in. in diameter. The ProFloat XD60 is up to 100 lbs. lighter than comparable fullfloat axles which improves the driving characteristics of the vehicle

steel and feature a textured full-width step pad which provides you with a safe and easy step in and out of your vehicle. They simply connect to the OE mounting locations for an easy installation with no drilling necessary, and are available in several lengths to fit many applications.

both on- and off-road. It is available with either 35- or 40-spline axle shafts and allows customers to retain their bolt patterns on Jeep JK, JL, JT, Ford F-150 and Toyota 4x4s.

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Given how deep it looks, kudos to him for trying it.

Yeah, that was probably a better call than staying on the plowed road.

We’ve seen some pretty crazy vehicles off-road, but this may be a first. Given that slope, this could’ve been a lot worse.

Can’t tell if either are stuck or they thought this would make a cool photo.

Again, probably best to stick to the already plowed part.

We’re sure that most of you have had the misfortune of getting stuck while out on a weekend adventure. So send us your photos of your adventure to and if we use your photos we’ll send you a cool RPM Media hat! 46 OFF-ROAD Plus MAGAZINE DEC/JAN 2019




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Off-Road Plus December/January 2019  

The December 2019 / January 2020 issue of Off-Road Plus Magazine.

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