Elvis dug more than just pink Cadillacs

Saturday is would have been the King’s 75th Birthday, for those of you who don’t believe he is quietly leaving out his days playing shuffle board with other seniors in cozy Kalamazoo, Michigan.

The King of Rock loved fun, fast cars and women. His fondness of the now notorious women and Cadillacs is well documented, but most people don’t know that Elvis dug more than just his Caddie’s in light rose hues: He even liked his Jeeps pink.

When Elvis Presley returned home to Graceland in 1960, fresh from a stint the army, he purchased a 1960 Jeep Surrey for use on the grounds. His love for the Jeep was most likely experience in the Army and on the set of his first film G.I. Blues.

The Jeep “Surrey” or “Gala” was a package on the two-wheel drive DJ-3A Dispatcher. Produced as a resort fleet rental vehicle the playboy pink Jeep was produced by Kaiser Willys from 1959 until 1964.  The Surrey was usually dressed out in Elvis’ preferred pink (actually Tropical Rose/Coral Mist), but also was offered in Cerulean Blue/Glacier White, and Fountain Green/Glacier White.

Oddly enough the pink Jeep shared screen time with Presley in the 1963 B flick Fun in Acapulco. In which Elvis played a down and out lifeguard / lunge singer and former trapeze artist. The Jeep is now on permanent display at Graceland his Memphis, Tennessee estate.

Photos Credits: Robin Walker (PBase), Derek Redmond (CJ3B)

Call of Duty: Black Ops Jeep Wrangler

That’s right, the Chrysler Group LLC announced plans to sell a limited-edition 2011 Jeep Wrangler Call of Duty: Black Ops Edition. Talk about living a video game.  The NEW Black OpsJeep Wrangler should hit dealer showrooms next month with the release of the much anticipated video game: Call of Duty: Black Ops.  You will be able to get both a two-door and four-door version.  Which is a Black 2011 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon model with 32-inch off-road tires, wheels in high-gloss mineral gray, and Call of Duty: Black Ops graphics on the roof and front quarter panels.

The MSRP is $30,625 for the two-door model and $33,500 for the four-door.

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Jiffy Jeep: Record Jeep Tear Down and Assembly

If you own an old Jeep, for any length of time, odds are you become quite familiar with disassembling and reassembling just about everything. After pulling the tranny 4-5 times of the course of a summer you may even bet your buddy that you can pull it and reinstall it quicker than he can.

Canadian soldiers stationed at CFB Gagetown, near Halifax, have become so proficient they can tear down and reassemble their Jeep in under four minutes.

Jiffy Jeep

First Look: 2011 Jeep Wrangler

Jeep has finally taken the wraps off the 2011 Jeep Wrangler! Its been 70 year since the first Jeep (Willys) rolled of the assembly line. To commemorate the 70th anniversary the 2011 is sporting a revamped interior, but those hoping for the new Penstar 3.6L V6 have to wait one more year till the 2012 arrives. Production started this week, so look for them soon at your local Jeep Dealer, or you could come to SEMA yourself and check out the tricked out Rugged Ridge version!

Download the 2011 Jeep Wrangler Options Guide

Download the 2011 Jeep Wrangler Owners Manual

Spy Photos of the 2011 Jeep Wrangler Interior

A minor refresh is in store for the 70th Anniversary 2011 Jeep Wrangler. The exterior and powertrain of Jeep’s flagship 4×4 will go unchanged till the 2012 model year. However, the 2011 Jeep Wrangler is sporting a all new interior.

The 2007-10 Jeep Wranglers suffered from an all plastic interior and under preforming 3.8L (mini van) engine. Jeep is fixing the interior and ergonomics of the Wrangler by picking up where the 2006 TJ Wrangler took off. Look for full door panels, a soft dash and other plush treatments meant to soften the harsh cabin.

Allpar is reporting that the Sport B model will gain steering-wheel mounted audio controls, cruise, and hill descent control; Sahara will gain an AC outlet, auto headlights, and optional body-color hardtop; and options now include heated power mirrors and heated front seats.

Rubicon gets “Rock-Trac®” 4×4 which uses an electronic sway bar disconnect, Tru-Lok locking differentials (front and rear), and NV2410R transfer case with 4:1 gear ratio, fiving the Wrangler a 73:1 gear ratio. [Thanks to Justin Trevor for his clarification.]

Standard Wrangler 4x4s get Command-Trac I®, with shift-on-the-fly 4WD (at speeds under 60 mph), low gear, and neutral setting for towing without uncoupling the driveshafts. In low gear, torque is multiplied by 2.72:1. The front axle is a Dana 30, the rear axle is a Dana 44; a Trac-Lok differential is available.

Idaho Wilderness Bill threatens to close OHV trails

A bill introduced in the U.S. Senate to create a large, new wilderness reserve in central Idaho has been endorsed by the Obama administration. The legislation threatens to designate nearly 330,000 acres of land in central Idaho as wilderness, the most restrictive designation that can be placed on public lands. SEMA opposes the legislation as drafted since many off-highway vehicle (OHV) trails in the Sawtooth and Challis National Forests could be closed as a result of its passage.

For nearly a decade, lawmakers have proposed several variations of the Boulder/White Clouds Wilderness bill, also known as the “Central Idaho Economic Development and Recreation Act.” The current bill is pending before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. There has been no action in the House.

Wilderness legislation is consequential since it potentially denies access to off-roaders and the equipment that they purchase, much of which is manufactured by SEMA members.

SEMA supports land-use decisions that allow local communities and government authorities to participate in the decision-making process. Within that context, SEMA supports compromise approaches on wilderness areas that balance the need to preserve access to appropriate motorized recreation while protecting some of our nation’s natural wonders. This would include “cherry-stemmed roads,” which are corridors within wilderness areas that allow motorized recreation.


2011 Jeep Cherokee Earns Top Safety Pick From IIHS

The all-new 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee has received a Top Safety Pick award by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) – the highest rating the organization bestows. Its good news for Chrysler and Fiat who has a great deal riding on the launch of the flag ship SUV.

“The all-new 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee is the first production vehicle to launch since our alliance with Fiat and a ‘Top Safety Pick’ is a great way to start our 2011 product offensive,” said Scott Kunselman, Senior Vice President – Engineering, Chrysler Group LLC. “IIHS’ recognition of five products underscores Chrysler Group’s engineering capability and leadership in occupant protection.”

The 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee joins the 2010 Dodge Journey, 2010 Dodge Avenger*, 2010 Chrysler Sebring*, and the 2010 Jeep® Patriot (equipped with available seat mounted air bag) as 2010 Top Safety Picks, according to IIHS.

“The all-new 2011 Grand Cherokee provides consumers with enhanced safety and security, in addition to legendary Jeep capability and a premium driving experience,” said Mike Manley, President and CEO – Jeep Brand. “With more than 45 different safety and security systems working in harmony – including Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Electronic Roll Mitigation, Active Head Restraints, Adaptive Cruise Control, Forward Collision Warning and a Blind-Spot/Rear Cross-path detection system – our new Jeep Grand Cherokee will allow customers to benefit from a new level of protection, on- and off-road.”

Upload your Jeep Avatar to a Garmin GPS Unit

If you don’t own a GPS you should buy one. Period. Don’t get me wrong, I love paper maps. I have a drawer full of old Rand McNally’s and Topo’s that I never throw out (just ask my wife), but they just can’t compete the GPS.

You can add waypoints to mark your favorite campsites, ORV / OHV trails, watering holes and even get traffic updates and detour alerts when you head back to civilization. What could be better? How about up loading a free avatar of your favorite rig to your GPS unit? Check out www.vehiclesforgarminnuvi.com. They have everything from the Willys MB to the CJ7 with a Liberty of two thrown in as well.

Around the World in a Jeep. The Paris to New York Transcontinental

They started in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower in Paris France, and now a year a half later sit waiting to cross the Bering Straight. The Goal? To become the first vehicle to travel from Paris to New York (the long way) under its own power. Extreme Expedition has passed through eighteen countries in eighteen months, and looks to add two more to its total as it looks to complete its 25,000 mile voyage this June.

Now, the most dangerous part of the voyage lies ahead as the team waits for the weather to clear before attempting to cross the 60 mile Bering Straight. The team has fitted the Wranglers with pontoons for water crossings and to ensure the vehicles won’t crash down through ice flows. From there the expedition plans to drive from Alaska into Canada before criss-crossing the states on their way to New York City.

If you have a lot of “Free Cash” laying around and want to get in on the action: you can! Around $50,000 will buy you 25 days or so behind the wheel of one of the three heavily modified Jeep Rubicon (JK) Wranglers.