Sunday, July 30, 2006

The 2007 Jeep Wrangler: A Dead Breed.

Military Jeeps In ActionIf you have not seen the pictures or read an article about the new 2007 Jeep Wrangler, then you are in for an eye opener. We all know Jeeps, rugged, go anywhere, look-I-was-made-for-WWII use. I myself own a 2004 Wrangler, custom built from the factory. Since reading and looking at photos of the new design of the Wrangler I have been annoyed and also inspired. First off let us look at the exterior.

The first noticeable item is the new front bumper. No longer will you find the flat steel, but plastic with integrated fog lamps. Moving onto the next phase of the ‘07’ larger wheels. Starting at 16” but also can be 17” and 18”. I’m sorry I don’t need “bling bling” wheels on a Jeep. I’ll stick to my 15” wheel with big tires. The new Jeep is a wider stance which is nice, except on those tight trails. The new features which I do like are the slightly curved body panels. They do still look like flat steel but add to the strength of the Jeep and also aerodynamics. One other feature they change has been the windshield. This something on the fringe for me, you get used to the flat, insect killing, rock attracting Jeep windshield in the older models. This new design incorporates a new “slightly” curved windshield to help with the overall aerodynamics of the Wrangler. Let take a look at the inside of the cabin.

Features, features, features is the world we live in now. Navigation, stereos, let face it toys. Yet again the Jeep itself is a toy. The interior is even more modern than the last redesign, the TJ “97 -06”. Larger, more roomy space is nice. The dash has more of Jeep Cherokee feel than the traditional military feel. Nice ideas and movements of part would be the middle air vents being mid mounted in the dash. That’s right below the stereo. Not a bad idea for those pesky winter months. Some of the new toys to be found the 07 wrangler are navigation system, larger glove box storage, power winders and locks (not so military with that one), larger seats, sound absorbing carpets for the 368 watt stereo with 6 speakers and subwoofer (little overkill unless you drive a Hummer H2), under the cargo floor storage bin (now that’s military), as well as a crap load of airbags. We all love upgrades and this new Jeep has a few.

The last large change to the 07 Jeep Wrangler is the engine. Gone is the 4.0L straight 6, dating back to the Stone Age it seems. The new 2007 is powered by a 3.8L V6 based off of the Jeep Liberty’s power plant, creating 205HP and 240lb-ft. Other new feature include electronic sway bar disconnects, 32 Inch BF Goodrich tires, and more suspension travel for improved departure angles while offroading.

With all of these new features and designs, the 2007 Jeep Wrangler claims to be “In a class all its own.” which is true. Gone are the days of the Military Jeep. Due to new laws for safety the Jeep had to change, which in my mind is quite unfortunate. I, like many others, like to pay some homage to the WWII vets that built and drove these machines into battle. Looks like those days are gone.

Take a look at some links below for images and articles.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Danica Patrick to Andretti-Green Racing

Tony Kanaan With Danica Patrick
Not to be outdone by Champ Car's A.J. Allmendinger or F1-turned-NASCAR driver Juan Pablo Montoya, on Tuesday the IRL's Danica Patrick announced her signing with Andretti Green Racing for the 2007 season.
Patrick was signed by Bobby Rahal five years ago and led the 2005 Indy 500 with Rahal Letterman Racing, however the team's plans for next season are tentative at best.
Andretti Green Racing currently fields cars for Tony Kannan, Marco Andretti, Bryan Herta, and Dario Franchitti, although the latter two have not been resigned for 2007 as of yet. The AGR drivers have not always been Danica's biggest supporters, however pairing Patrick with the youngest Andretti will guarantee publicity for both the team and the IRL.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Juan Pablo Montoya to NASCAR

Montoya In Ganassi NASCAR Garage
Following on the heels of the recent Champ Car World Series roster moves, both Formula 1 and NASCAR were simultaneously shaken up on Sunday. Star F1 driver Juan Pablo Montoya announced his immediate departure from team McLaren/Mercedes, stating he will begin preparations to drive for Chip Ganassi in the NASCAR Nextel Cup next season. According to Sunday's press conference, Casey Mears will surrender his seat in the #42 Dodge to Montoya, familiar to American racing fans as the winner of the 1999 Champ Car title and the 2000 Indy 500. The Columbian is a marketing dream for NASCAR, itself planning to expand into Latin-American markets. His aggressive driving style and occasionally-public temper should make for an excellent fit in the NASCAR scene.
An interesting coincidence is that Montoya participated in a Speed Channel promotion called "Tradin' Paint", where he and Jeff Gordon swapped cars for a day of hot laps at Indy during the festivities for the 2003 U.S. Grand Prix.