We off-roaders love playing in the sand, but we shouldn’t stick our heads in it. While COVID-19 has cast a shadow over millions of Americans, I know we are resilient and will beat it soon enough.
Still, in light of quarantining and the government’s proposals that we all work (and play) from home, there’s only so much TV and video gaming to do. Instead, I think it’s time to showcase some of our best works that I think are worth a second viewing.
These pieces are a mix of what I think makes Off Road Xtreme awesome. Since 2013, we’ve covered tons of events, incredible builds, interviews with famous off-roaders, new aftermarket goodies, and more. There are over 3,000 articles on our magazine; these are but 10 of what I think are the best we’ve ever made. So let’s dive in and rediscover some gems!
Arguably the most famous and awesome off-road racer who ever lived, Ivan “Ironman” Stewart is a hero to many, myself included. Our exclusive Off Road Xtreme interview with him from 2013 is still a gem that brings a smile to my face. In it, Stuart Bourdon talked with the man himself about the origins of his nickname, and how he turned racing from what was once a hobby into a full-time career.
Semper paratus – always be prepared. But what good is preparation if you don’t know how to use the tools? In this piece, we went over pretty much all of the tools out there dedicated to off-road recovery. Winches, snatch blocks, tree protectors, and even recovery boards were all addressed. This is a good Off Road Xtreme article to share with your friends or family that are just getting into off-roading and want to know the do’s and don’t’s, or just to refresh yourself if you’re in the know.
How often do you come across a historical 4×4 that runs, drives, looks fresh as a daisy, and gets taken off-road? Not often. What about two of them owned by the same guy? That’s a rarity, indeed. Such was the case with this dazzling duo owned by Dennis Sletten. One is an AMC Jeep Commando originally owned by Brian “Mr. Jeep” Chuchua, and the other is an AMC Jeep J-10 Honcho raced by Sletten’s cousin back in the day. Together, they’re a beautiful pair that shows there’s no school like old school.
Another bit of off-road history is occupied by the Ford/BF Goodrich racing teams of 1991 to 1995. Known as the Rough Riders, the group was a force to be reckoned with. It also was where the winningest off-road racer of all time, Rob MacCachren, cut his teeth in desert racing. Starting from an idea of off-road titan Dick Landfield to eventually winning over 20 driver and manufacturer championships, the legend of the Rough Riders is one that still inspires awe to this day.
For decades, off-roaders have struggled against government-mandated land closures. This Off Road Xtreme article sought to get to the heart of the issue. To that end, we spoke with groups that fight for the sake of off-roading – the Off Road Business Association (ORBA), United Four Wheel Drive Association (UFWDA), and SEMA Action Network (SAN). It was an eye-opening experience to examine the situation from a high-level perspective, and get a peek behind the scenes of how these and other organizations keep our hobby alive.
When you think of a tier-one desert race truck, you might tend to think more of the racer behind the wheel than the countless hours that went into designing the truck and its suspension. This article got into the nitty gritty of what goes into suspension design in off-road racing, examining several topics. These included four-link, radius arm, twin traction beam, and solid versus independent suspension. For anyone that geeks out about suspension design, or just wants to know what makes Unlimited trucks and Ultra4 buggies tick, this is required reading.
2019 was my first year covering the Easter Jeep Safari for Off Road Xtreme, and man, what an experience that was. It was made all the more special by getting to see Dave Hartman’s Ultra4 4800 buggy go to town on some dunes south of Moab. This well-built machine crystallized everything I love about off-roading – power, adrenaline, and of course, epic jumps!
This is something we’ve all dealt with at one time or another. Whether it’s an old exhaust manifold or a rusty crossmember, sometimes parts have a way of fusing together and fighting tooth and nail to stay that way. This guide showcases all sorts of methods to getting hardware to break free, from using heat to making relief cuts, and then some.
In this piece – the first of a trilogy – we examined the surface level of what goes into building a prerunner, starting with building a plan. There are a lot of factors to think about when constructing a prerunner, and this piece is great at lining a lot of them out – 2WD vs. 4WD, tires and fiberglass, springs and more. This is a terrific resource for anyone thinking of starting a prerunner project, and it’s followed by parts two and three that go into even greater detail.
I’m definitely biased for thinking this, but the final episode of Junkyard Challenge represents a culmination of dreams for this off-roader. Watching all four teams take their forgotten trucks and turn them into hard-charging machines was something I’ll never forget. Months later, I still catch myself thinking about these guys and the astounding level of creativity and can-do attitude they put into their rigs. If you read only one installment of Junkyard Challenge 2019, make it this one!
That does it for my list. From interesting tech to cool vehicles to awesome action, I think this sums up some of the best of the best over the years. Plus, it should keep you hyped for when the lockdown lifts and life returns to normal. What have been some of your favorite Off Road Xtreme articles? Let us know in the comments below.