Overland Expo West 2018

Ram always holds a small press event at Overland Expo West. FCA Western Region Communications Manager Scott Brown is speaking.

Overland Travel Mecca, Overland Expo West 2018

Each May I’m in Flagstaff, Arizona, for the Overland Expo West event. Like the SEMA Show in Las Vegas, it is a vehicle-centric gathering, but that’s about the end of the major similarities. SEMA covers all things automotive (not motorcycling) and is not open to the public. Overland Expo focuses on vehicle-based overland travel, or overlanding. It is not focused on the automotive aftermarket per se but on the growing overland-travel-focused industry that supports it; it is open to everyone. The blend of professional trade show and educational opportunities have made Overland Expo West the most popular overlanding show in the Western Hemisphere. (Its sister show, Overland Expo EAST, is held each autumn in North Carolina.) These three-day weekend events are designed to educate and inspire folks to get out and explore their world.

At Expo West this year there were over 250 classes, workshops, and roundtable programs for four-wheel-drives and adventure motorcycles. Plus there was a large exhibitor exposition (400 vendors) and evening inspirational programs and parties.

If Ram would put a Cummins in a Power Wagon, I’d buy one. I love the Wagon’s features, particularly the lockers.

Overlanding is not four-wheeling or about conquering the toughest obstacles. It is about exploring the world using self-guided means such as four-wheel-drives or motorcycles. Whether 100 miles or 10,000 miles from home, travel on everything from easy backroads to highly technical terrain. There is so much to see and enjoy beyond the blacktop. The journey and experience is as important as the destination, when overlanding. Camping is the most cost-effective way to travel, though many people alternate with hotels, hostels, or couch-surfing.

Overlanding attracts Baby Boomer retirees, adventurous young families, and people of wide-ranging demographics. Some in the overlanding industry might turn-up their noses when the words recreational vehicle or RV are used, though plenty of the bigger outfits on display and for sale (truck campers and larger) are definitely recreational vehicles. At least they are vehicles used for recreation…labels can be quite limiting. Most overland travel, however, involves more off-pavement adventures than many traditional North American RVs can handle.

The star of Ram’s show was the 2019 1500.

Ram, Cummins, Jeep, And Much More

In recent years OEM participation has increased, and it includes both Ram (and Jeep) and Cummins, two names that mean a lot to the Turbo Diesel Register audience. The event was noticeably bigger this year; it included an improved vendor booth layout.

FCA’s Tyke Marostica gave us a detailed rundown on the new 1500 Ram.

Other OEM exhibitors this year included: American Expedition Vehicles (AEV), BFGoodrich Tires, Four Wheel Campers, Sportsmobile, ARB-USA, Global Xpedition Vehicles, EarthRoamer, as well as dealers representing BMW, KTM, Triumph, Kawasaki, Honda, and Ural motorcycles.

Cummins’ booth was again focused on the R2.8, a great little repower engine and a perfect fit for this event. Surely there were many more 5.9L and 6.7L ISB engines on-site.

If you are a gearhead that likes four-wheel-drives and/or motorcycles, mixed with some camping—either the more traditional tent accommodation or something larger and more comfortable—one of the annual Overland Expo events are fun places to enjoy the sights and activities or to go shopping for your next outfit. Because this article was written for the Turbo Diesel Register, and my column is so aptly named Still Plays With Trucks, that’s what my imagery and captions focus upon.

Nicely done 1999 Range Rover Discovery with an R2.8 repower done by Heritage Driven, Albuquerque, NM.

Heritage Driven’s R2.8 Cummins repower looks like an OEM installation.

This Proffitt’s Resurrection Land Cruisers was at SEMA in 2017, but for Overland Expo a bed rack, rooftop tent, and other overland-style accessories were added. Love this little Toyota truck.

The Juniper Overland folks also own the Denver Metro Four Wheel Campers (FWC) dealership. This sweet FWC hawk flatbed camper is attached to a Norweld aluminum flatbed, riding on a Ram 3500 chassis.

A nicely restored 1970s International Scout II was sitting off by itself, just there to be admired.

Global Expedition Vehicles’ Adventure Truck is built on a Ram 5500 chassis that has been converted to SRW. It features an AEV front bumper and snorkel, ARB-USA lights, and fiberglass composite exterior and interior camper construction.

Aaron Wirth extended the frame 8” on his Ram 3500, built an aluminum flatbed, and had Highway Products build custom aluminum boxes around the flatbed and Lance camper. Aaron and his wife live full-time in this outfit.

AT Overland’s new Summit Topper sits on their Ram/Cummins 2500. This wedge-shaped topper has removable tent insulation, and the truck bed amenities can be built to suit each customer’s needs. Opening and closing is fast and easy. I think this will be another home run by the AT folks.

AT Overland owner Mario Donovan’s sweet Third Generation with a fiberglass-sided FWC hawk flatbed camper.

Cool Ram 3500 with side-dump aluminum flatbed…all the way from New Jersey.

James Langan

Copyright James Langan/RoadTraveler All Rights Reserved.

 A version of this article was also published in the Turbo Diesel Register magazine.

Sources:

Overland Expo: overlandexpo.com

 

Hillsboro Series 2000 aluminum flatbed installation videos

Before there could be a Hallmark flatbed model camper, there needed to be a flatbed on my truck. I wanted a readily available and less expensive commercial product, not a custom or semi-custom bed for two or three times as much (out-the-door). After months of research, study, and planning, I decided on the 7′ x 8.5′ Hillsboro Series 2000, and to purchase it and have it installed at Idaho Trailer Sales in Buhl, Idaho.

All of these videos are short.

It took a full day to mount this Hillsboro 2000 Series flatbed and accessories on this 2017 Ram 2500.

Copyright James Langan/RoadTraveler.net

All Rights Reserved.

Resources:

Hallmark Truck Campers

Hillsboro

Idaho Trailer Sales

 

 

Land Rover Series IIA restoration

August 5, 2016

Land Rovers are not my thing and probably never will be, Series IIA or otherwise. Sure, I lusted after the Defender 90 and 110 when they were officially imported to The States years ago, but I’ve never had a strong desire to own a Land Rover. And while I spend plenty of time in my garage modifying, servicing, and repairing (newer) vehicles, an automotive restorer I am not.

While surfing the web I stumbled upon North American Overland and their video documenting a complete restoration of a Series IIA Rover. The video is very well done, and I would be surprised if any gearhead, regardless of specialty or bias, was not impressed by the impeccable attentional to details. Impressive!

Iveco Massif 3.0HPI Overland Camper

World Overlander Sighting

After my encouraging encounter with the Dutch Bros. Coffee barista this past Saturday afternoon, I continued south on U.S. Route 395 through Carson City, Nevada. From a distance and several car lengths ahead in the right lane I saw an unusual vehicle. A hard-sided, custom and possibly self-made, chassis-mounted camper on the rear of a small four-wheel-drive pickup with European plates. There were sand ladders and other gear on the rear, but the overall outfit looked very clean and relatively light.

Custom camper on the rear of an Iveco Massif

I closed the gap, but traffic kept me mostly behind, though I was able to snap a few iPhone pics while underway. The rig was a left-hand-drive Iveco Massif 3.0HPI with a 2998 cc 4-cylinder common-rail diesel. According to the specifications the Massif 3.0HPI has a ZF 6-speed transmission (no automatic, opposite of the USA!), behind either a 148 horsepower/258 lb-ft or a 174 horsepower/295 lb-ft version of the engine. According to Wikipedia, the Massif was made from 2007-20011 under license by Santana Motors in Andalusia.

Side view of Iveco Massif with a compact extended-cab

Traffic movement put me ahead of the Iveco without an opportunity to view it up close while stopped. I pulled to the shoulder, rolled down my window, and waited for the camper to drive by to get a slightly better look from the front. I was able to snap just one iPhone picture as it approached.

What a cool set-up. A narrow track, short extended-cab (2-door) truck, a small turbo-diesel with good torque, manual locking hubs, and a manual transmission. Not only an uncommon sight in the USA, a combination of features that are simply not available here.

If a small, efficient, diesel-powered chassis like this was available from a reputable manufacturer in the USA would enough people buy them?

Iveco Massif European camper, with 3.0HPI diesel, 6-speed manual gearbox, and manual locking hubs

Copyright © 2012 James Langan

No Dakar Rally for North America?

I’m not much of a racing fan, or even a sports fan. It’s not that I don’t appreciate the skill of athletes, I do, but it’s never been my thing to watchsports. Though a few years ago I got hooked on watching the excellent Dakar Rally video coverage on sbs.com.au. At the end of each day in early January, I would watch all the SBS videos featuring the bikes, quads, cars, and trucks.

After two days of not being able to play the 2012 productions, a Google search indicates viewers from the United States and Canada (maybe others too) are not able to view these shows. 🙁

This is probably because another network has the rights to coverage for the U.S. and Canadian markets, but I’ve yet to learn the reason or a suitable substitute for the comprehensive SBS coverage. Maybe the videos will be viewable when the race is over?

Oh well, I guess it’s time get back to doing and not spend so much time watching during the first two weeks of the year. Thanks for the butt kick forward, it’s time to get back to working [playing] with trucks and motos.

RoadTraveler – Rolling Forward

Copyright © 2012 James Langan