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Africa 03 Journal

Africa: Kalahari

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Clayton, OK

Colorado State Forest

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Ellis Jeep Trail

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National Rally 99

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Off-Road Impact

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Outback Challenge Morocco

Overland Expo 09

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Pinatubo, Phillipines

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Radical Hill, CO

Red Cone Peak

SEMA 2004

SEMA 2008

SEMA 2009

 

Drive to SEMA

At the Show

Top of the World

Twist Off 1999

Twist Off 2001

Venezuela '03

White Rim Trail

Yellowstone NP

 

Adventurers

AEV J8 MILSPEC

Biosphere 110

Chris Tullmann

Craig Jones

Dan Cronin

Dustin Hindman

Firetruck D90

AEV J8 Sarge

Joshua White

Nathan Hindman

Patrick Scranton

Rover Tracks

Stuart Nance

 

 

SEMA Show 2008

Las Vegas, NV

 

Click on any of the pictures below to view them at full size.

2008 marked Pangaea Expeditions' second trip to the legendary SEMA show in Las Vegas. The SEMA show is the largest automotive aftermarket industry show in the world. If you have an interest in cars and trucks, regardless of your niche, there's something at the show to interest you. From vintage roadsters to race cars to exotics and all things in between, there is plenty of eye candy at the Las Vegas Convention Center at the beginning of November each year.


Outside the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Heading down the escalator to the South Hall of the convention center.

Jeeps and rock buggies on display at the Maxxis proving grounds.


Metal Tech FJ Cruiser on display.

The open door bars on the FJ Cruiser.

A Metal Tech spare tire holder.


A trick rock buggy.

Toyota pickup racing support truck.

Baja Unlimited style race buggy.


Due in large part to the recent spike in energy prices, there has been a renewed emphasis in fuel economy. The 2008 SEMA show had a section dedicated to high fuel economy vehicles. One of the cool ones on display was a Hummer H1 set up to run on biodiesel fuel. In addition, this vehicle was outfitted with MatTracks, a high contact patch rolling track system that can be installed on traditional wheel hubs. This vehicle was also outfitted with a video driving simulator.


The Humvee with MattTrax.

Bio-diesel badging on the Hummer.

The rear troop carrier benches.


Baja Trophy Truck.

The General Tire trophy truck.

A baja trophy truck with Nitto tires.


Free tattoos at the Dunlop tire booth. Only catch is... its has to include the Dunlop Tires Logo.

A home-brew bio-diesel kit from Extreme Biodiesel.

The Storm Chasers TVN, designed to sustain a direct hit from a tornado.


Icon Land Cruiser

TLC, Inc is a California based company that specializes in vintage Land Cruisers. Their newest product is an amazing re-imagining of the original FJ40 Land Cruiser. This resto-mod captures the essence of the original vehicle, but is updated with a number of modern refinements such as a GM crate motor, disc brakes and ARB air lockers. This amazing example was built from a rare long wheelbase FJ45.


A well-restored Icon Land Cruiser.

Another view of the Land Cruiser.

The front end of the Cruiser with a Warn 8274 winch.


Expedition Vehicles

With the decline in popularity of rock crawling in the four wheeling industry, there has been a steep increase in the popularity of expedition and overland vehicles. It should come as no surprise that these types of vehicles were well represented at SEMA. Among the more impressive vehicles was the classic Turtle Expeditions Turtle V and Expeditions West's new flagship vehicle, an EarthRoamer XV-JP.


The Turtle V vehicle.

Accessories mounted to the Turtle V truck.

Expeditions West's EarthRoamer XV-JP.


Other examples of expedition vehicles ranged the gamut from Sahara-ready motorcycles like the KTM Adventure bikes to the turnkey ready Sportsmobile 4x4 conversion vans. Baja Rack had a pair of expedition-ready FJ Cruisers on display. Disabled Explorers also had a display showcasing their well-thought-out rig. This organization seeks to bring awareness of differently abled travelers and their use of 4x4s to gain access to remote places in the world.


Baja Rack FJ Cruiser equipped with a roof top tent

A really cool Sportsmobile built off a Ford van platform.

An FJ Cruiser built for off-road use.


KTM Adventure bike.

The Disabled Explorers booth and their FJ Cruiser.


Expeditions West Land Rover Discovery

In addition to the new Expeditions West EarthRoamer Jeep, they also had their new Land Rover Discovery expedition vehicle on display at the 2008 SEMA show. This Discovery was outfitted with an ARB bull bar, Old Man Emu suspension, BFGoodrich mud terrain tires on Outback VX-1 wheels and an Adventure Trailers Chaser Trailer.


The Expeditions West Discovery in front of the convention center.

An ARB Discovery bumper equipped with Light Force lights and a Warn winch.

The Discovery included a matching Adventure Trailer.


The trailer features 2 Scepter Military fuel cans.

The EW Discovery with trailer "in tow."

BFGoodrich 285/75/16 mounted to Outback VX-1 wheels.



Off Road trailers

A common accessory for 4x4 vehicles at the SEMA show this year was the inclusion of off-road trailers. These formerly obscure accessories appear to have become en vogue for show vehicles. The nicest example we found was the Adventure Trailer, featured on the Expeditions West truck (above) and also on another show truck. There were numerous other examples to be found at the show, including the new but more spartan Off Road Extreme off-road trailer. Many of the trailers were outfitted with roof top tents.


Off Road Extreme off-road trailer.

A solar charging kit for the ORE trailer.

A trailer with ARB roof top tent mounted behind a Jeep Wrangler.


Rally Inspired

Despite the lack of direct connection to expeditions and overland driving, we at Pangaea have always had a soft spot for WRC inspired vehicles. There was no shortage of WRXs, Evo's and their brethren at SEMA . The Subaru booth had a nice example of the the WRX Sti Rally car on display, as well as an interesting Forester concept vehicle, a mountain rescue truck.

With the recent passing of Colin McRae, there were a number of memorial plaques and stickers found on rally cars throughout the SEMA show.


A Colin McRae memorial plaque on a Mitsubishi Evo.

A WRX Sti rally car on display at the Subaru booth.

A Forester mountain rescue concept truck at the Subaru booth.



toyota

For 4x4 enthusiasts, the Toyota booth stole the show at SEMA for 2008. They had a number of unique vehicles and concept trucks. One which should have customers lined up outside Toyota if they're ever produced, is the "Retro" Toyota Tacoma.

At first glance, this truck appears to be an off-the-shelf Tacoma with a 1980s/Hi-Lux graphics package applied to the vehicle. However, close inspection reveals that this truck is far from the standard Taco. Most Tacoma 4x4s are equipped with their powerful V6 powerplant. However, the Retro Tacoma has a more reliable and economical 2.7L 4cl engine mated to a 4-speed automatic transmission. Behind the transmission, the driveline was replaced with a Land Cruiser transfer case and solid front and rear axles. This set up would surely be in high demand to 4x4 purists who have bemoaned the industry trend of fitting independent axles in trucks.

In addition, the Retro Tacoma featured a number of modifications to help tie it thematically to the older Toyota pickup trucks. American Racing AR-23 wheels with BF Goodrich All-Terrain tires were fitted to the axles. Tubular bumpers and a roll bar were fitted to the truck to give it that cool Back to the Future look. In addition, the roll bar was fitted with a set of KC lights complete with 80's style smiley face light covers.


The Tacoma vintage truck.

The truck bed with roll cage and KC lights.

The vintage interior of the Tacoma.


American Racing AR-23 wheels on the vintage Tacoma.

Solid Land Cruiser axle under the Tacoma.

A view of the solid rear axle.


Toyota had on display the upcoming 2009 FJ Cruiser Special Edition. This truck, set to be released in spring of 2009, will feature a number of subtle enhancements over the standard FJ Cruiser. First among these is a Sand Storm Metallic monochrome paint scheme with a hood black-out similar to those found on the Camel Trophy vehicles. The FJ Cruiser will be shod in new TRD "beadlock style" 16" alloy wheels and BFG All-Terrain tires. Functional mods include Biltstien trail tuned shocks, front and rear skid plates, rear differential lock, rock rails and a Garmin GPS navigation system preloaded with trail maps.


An FJ Cruiser at the Toyota booth.

The FJ Cruiser badging.

Faux beadlock wheels on the FJ Cruiser.


Also on display was a concept Ducati motorcycle support truck. The most interesting part of this truck was the use of hinged sides on the truck bed. When lifted, this ordinary looking sheet metal revealed a comprehensive mobile workshop-- an interesting idea that has some serious possibility in an overland vehicle build.

The last note worthy truck that we saw was a bright orange Toyota FJ Cruiser which had been converted from the standard SUV configuration into a four door crew cab pick up.


Clever storage system on a Ducati support concept Tundra.

A unique FJ Cruiser in crew cab configuration.

The back end of the FJ Cruiser.



Land Rover

Probably due in part to Land Rover's recent sale from Ford to Tata Motors, there was no official Land Rover presence at the 2008 SEMA show. Despite this, there were still a number of Land Rovers in attendance at the show. These trucks ranged from "bling" Range Rovers to work trucks such as Bill Burke's Defender 90. Among some of the other highlights were the Expeditions West Discovery (above), and Land Rover Lifestyle's LR3 which was on display at the Cooper Tire booth.


A "bling" Range Rover Sport at the DUB display.

A Range Rover sport with ground effects and big wheels.

Bill Burke's well used Defender 90.


A Land Rover Discovery on display outside.

Land Rover Lifestyle Magazine's LR3 on display at the Cooper Tires booth.

The roof rack full of gear.


Custom Paint

There were unique and expensive paint jobs on display at the SEMA show, from hand airbrushed low riders to custom colors on exotic super cars. We stopped by the House of Kolor booth where they had their impressive line of custom paints on display, as well as some amazing examples of custom paint artistry. They had a display of custom painted skateboards, one which was painted with the iconic Rat Fink made famous by 1960s custom car pioneer Ed "Big Daddy" Roth.


A gorgeous paint job at the House of Kolor booth

A customized Ed "Big Daddy" Roth skateboard.

Custom House of Kolor paint job on a portable fridge.


Displays

Unique displays are a cornerstone of the SEMA experience. Companies go to great lengths to draw the attention of weary show attendees with techniques from celebrity appearances to scantily clad models to free tattoos.

Among the more unique displays was the Rubicon Express booth, which featured a Jeep Wrangler under full articulation displaying the suspension capabilities. Daystar's booth featured an upside down Jeep. Customers could look at the undercarriage of the vehicle to check out the vulnerable parts of a 4x4 when off-roading. Lastly, Skyjacker featured a custom "rock garden" made of high density styrofoam for four wheeling remote control 4x4s. The display was designed to cascade from the back of a Skyjacker equipped pickup truck.


Rubicon Express display with a well articulated Jeep Unlimited.

Daystar's unique Jeep display.

Skyjacker had a R/C rock crawling area.


ARB USA

The ARB USA booth had two show vehicles: a well outfitted Hummer H3 and a Jeep JK Unlimited. Both vehicles were painted a matching metallic orange with ARB graphics.

The Hummer H3 showcased ARB's new line of products made especially for this vehicle platform. Among the products released for the H3 was a heavy duty front and rear bumper. The front bumper contains all of the standard ARB features such as winch tray, light tabs and integrated fog lamp mounts. The ARB rear bumper includes a spare tire mount which can accommodate up to a 35" tire. In addition, the truck featured the newly released ARB Air Locker for the H3, as well as a touring rack with an ARB Touring rooftop tent.

The full line of ARB accessories were on display including an air locker demonstration, heavy-duty diff covers, Old Man Emu Suspension, IPF lights, their full line of recovery gear as well as a sneak peak (pictures and specifications only) of a new proprietary on-board fridge they'll have coming out in Spring 2009.


Demonstration of an ARB air locker.

ARB rooftop tent on display.

A clever storage system by Truck Vault installed in the ARB H3.


A Hummer H3 on display at the ARB booth.

A Jeep Unlimited at the ARB booth.

ARB display with heavy duty diff covers and a competition snatch block.


The ARB booth.

Old Man Emu suspension display at the ARB booth.

An array of ARB air lockers.


Extreme Outback

Unlike their normal tradition, Extreme Outback did not premier any new gear at the 2008 SEMA show. However, they still had their impressive line up of off-road accessories such as their high quality air compressors and tire pliers.

The product they had on display that we were most impressed with was their diminutive Mil-Spec Multi Choice Deflators. These deflators are, as the name implies, built to military specifications. Each deflator has settings calibrated to six distinct tire pressures for the ultimate in choices for airing down on the trail. Their standard deflators air down in increments of 10, 12, 14, 16, 18 and 20 psi, while the Rock Crawler deflators have pre-sets of 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 and 12 psi.

Shortly after the SEMA show, we had opportunity to use them in the field at an Overland Training session, and I can say that despite the high price tag ($99.95 each) they're well worth it, and a great addition to any four wheelers tool kit.


Extreme Outback's new tire deflators.

The rock crawler version of the tire deflators for lower tire pressures.


Hankook Tires

There was a conspicuous lack of the typical heavy hitters of the tire industry (BF Goodrich, Goodyear and Michelin) at the 2008 SEMA show. However, relative new comers to the off-road industry Hankook Tire filled the void with some nice off-highway biased tire patterns and a distinctive show truck.

Hankook had two tires on display which may be of interest to 4x4 and overland enthusiasts. The first is their Dynapro ATM all-terrain tire. The second, the Dynapro MT, is a mud-terrain biased tire featuring a self-cleaning tread and aggressive side lugs.


The Hankook off-road tires, all terrain on the left, mud terrain on the right.

A FJ Cruiser on display at the Hankook booth.

A closer view of the Hankook mud terrain tread pattern.


Hella

New for 2009, Hella has expanded their extensive auxiliary lineup with a number of new and innovative lighting solutions. The first light that caught our eye is an addition to the Hella 4000 series. Two years ago, they released the Hella 4000 compact, a light which had the same light output as the full sized 4000, but in a more compact housing. This year, they have released an even smaller 4000, the 4000X. This new light features the same bulb assembly and light output as its larger brethren, but in an even more compact housing.

The other new product that Hella introduced at the SEMA show is their new HID lights with integrated ballast. HID lights are an impressive upgrade over standard lights. However, a complication in installation is where to fit the electronic ballast. This unit is important to the successful operation of the HID light, however, finding a mounting place for the ballast in addition to the light can be difficult on vehicle applications. Hella's solution was to create a modified lamp housing that features an integrated ballast (pictured below on the right). While these integrated ballast housings will require a bit more depth for the light, they eliminate the need for a separate mounting position for the ballast.


Hella's full line of 4000 HIDs.

A 4000 HID with the traditional ballast.

The new Hella 4000 with integrated ballast.


Jeeps

A long standing American icon, Jeep has been a staple of the 4x4 industry here in the US. With the recent introduction of the 4-door Jeep Unlimited, these vehicles are now beginning to be viable options for expedition and overland driving. A number of well-equipped examples were on display throughout the show. In addition, the highly desired J8 Sarge vehicle was on display at the Mopar booth, as if to taunt US customers.


A Jeep JK Unlimited outside the convention center.

A news channel's Storm Chaser Jeep Cherokee.

Another well modified Jeep Unlimited.


A drool worthy J8 Sarge Jeep.

Another view of the "Sarge" Jeep.

Optima Batteries Jeep Unlimited.


Rescue Tape

Perhaps the coolest, new (to us) product that we stumbled across at the SEMA show is Rescue Tape. This self-fusing silicon tape insulates up to 8,000 volts, is heat resistant and incredibly strong (over 700 psi tensile strength). We can envision numerous ways that this tape can be useful in trail repair in an expedition or overland traveling solution. We were also shown a demonstration of how to create an emergency o-ring. The video of which we hope to have online soon.


A demonstration of Rescue Tape.

Creating a Rescue Tape gasket.

The Rescue tape fused together.


Warn Winches

This year, Warn Industries is celebrating their 60th anniversary. To celebrate at the SEMA show, they brought an immaculately restored Willys Jeep, outfitted with an original M8274 winch. They also had an impressive American Expedition Vehicles Brute Jeep. The truck was painted bright Warn red and equipped with portal axles.

Warn had a number of products on display. The first was the Warn Powerplant. This unit combines a 5 CFM air compressor and a 9,500 lb winch into a single unit. Next up was the Warn M8274-60. This limited edition winch is the 60th anniversary edition of the workhorse M8274 winch. The winch features synthetic rope, a black powdercoated finish, and an upgraded 6.0 hp motor for additional pulling power. This impressive winch is essentially the same drool-worthy set-up we used during our win at the Outback Challenge.

Finally, Warn introduced their new Endurance 12.0 winch. This 12,000 lb capacity winch won the impressive Best New Off-Road/4WD Product Award at the SEMA show. To battle with the age old enemy of winching, heat, this winch was designed with an innovative cooling system: an external cooling fan mounted away from the body of the winch. This fan forces cooler air onto the motor housing then out through a discharge hose. This results in cooler winch motor temperatures, as well as an extended duty cycle.


Warn's new Endurance 12.0 gets a best new product award at the SEMA show.

Warn Powerplant, a winch with integrated air compressor.

Warn's new M8274-60 winch.


The restored Willys Jeep.

A VERY old M8274.

Another view of the Willys Jeep.


60th Anniversary badging adorns the side of the M8274-60 winch.

An American Expedition Vehicles Brute on display at the Warn booth.

Beadlock wheels on the AEV Brute.

 

     

 

 

 

 

 

 

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