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Posts Tagged ‘4×4’

The Land Rover Defender to make a comeback? The internet is swarming with the idea that the iconic 4×4 will be updated for importation into the U.S. in the year 2016. That’s great news to those who have been looking for its return, however unrealistic as it sounds on the surface. One can only speculate what the sales performance of a vehicle that currently sells roughly 20,000 vehicles worldwide will be.

What will the truck be? It is highly unlikely that the Defenders will be manufactured in the same manner and sold as the rugged workhorse it is. Americans aren’t looking for a Land Rover deeply rooted in outback heritage, this is why the marketing strategy has shifted from that of the go anywhere offroad adventure vehicle to the supercharged urban sports truck.

The return of  the Defender is assuming alot. With the move toward a “Green” earth-biscuit society hell bent on demonizing the very fuel the world runs on, I’m not sure if we’re supposed to be driving vehicles powered by brussel sprouts or a giant wind prop stuck into a trailer hitch. It also assumes that we aren’t eating cat food from our rooftop tents, soon to be used as permanent shelters because of a failed economic recovery.

So I’m not going to hold my breath on this one, but like the rest of you… I would love to see this revamped farm implement roaming proudly here in the States as a diesel, fully box framed, solid front and rear axle bad ass.

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It’s a long way down to the canyon floor below as the Land Rover hugs the mountain wall on one side, and a steep ledge on the other. The growl of the V8 is a little more pronounced in low range as you climb the rocky trail towards the summit. There is a storm rolling in and you can’t help but want to get off the side of this mountain before it rains and makes forward progress more difficult and dangerous. Looking down the side of the mountain to the left you see large pine trees, but up ahead the trail becomes measurably steeper. You wonder to yourself if it’s the end of the line as the path narrows and your hood is pointed up toward a wall of trees. But you notice that it’s a switchback, a very tight switchback cut into the face of the mountain turning to the left. It takes a moment to decide how to cut the turn properly to avoid having to back up and at the same time negotiate the washed out section of trail at the apex of the turn. You engage the DiffLock…

You make it through the switchback as the trail narrows further and climbs higher. The view of the mountain valley is breathtaking as you begin to enter a layer of low level clouds hugging the mountain near the top. A very loud crack of thunder follows the bolt of lightning as the air cools and it starts to sprinkle rain; you’re pulse rises and that feeling of having run out of time sets in. The windshield wipers flick back and forth as you negotiate a particular rocky section on your approach to the next switchback turn to the right. You wonder what this trail could possibly have been used for, what purpose it must have served.

It’s really pouring down rain and it starts to course down the rocks and ruts in the trail. The wet mud terrain tires are breaking their grip on the rocks on the steep climb and it’s time to engage one of the lockers. You decide on the rear first, because you know that if you engage the front it will be too difficult to steer should there be another switchback. You pick a line closest to the mountain wall and as far away from the steep drop on the right side of the rover; your blind side. The front end is pointed very steeply upward as the hood obscures your view to the trail ahead; all you know is what you remembered earlier of some very large rocks coming up. The truck is pointed so far up in front that it’s impossible for you to lean out to see; all you can do is negotiate the rocks from memory. The right front tire engages the first rock lifting the front end even higher as you try and figure out how close to the edge you are. The axles are crossed and you’re glad you’ve got those lockers now. With nothing but a storm filled angry sky in view through the windshield, one tire on a rock and another in the air, you break over onto a ledge cut into the mountain.

You’re foot is shaking on the accelerator and you let go of the death grip on the steering wheel. You’re there, you know at last why this trail exists. At this moment your eyes follow two narrow gauge railroad tracks straight into a mine shaft; into the pitch black of the mountain you’re on. As the rain lets up, you jump out and make your way to the entrance; you can’t help but notice the musty ice cold air escape the opening in the mountain… you turn on your flashlight, it’s time for the adventure to begin.

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