We’ve been witness over the past few years of the rise of city bikes, hybrids, electric, and clean burning diesel cars; we’ve also seen prototypes of urban personal mobility vehicles, whose use will likely rise dramatically in the coming decades due to increased urbanization. And it’s our far east friends in Japan who at the forefront of the development of such vehicles, from robotically-assisted exoskeletons to enclosed electric scooters to portable motorized chairs.
Innovation in an automotive paradigm shift
Nothing kicks ass like a Deere
John Deere’s first-ever use of a 839cc V-twin motorcycle engine in a Recreational Utility Vehicle (RUV), a beast that delivers the kind of fun typically reserved for all-out-war paintball melees, says a lot about their intentions. With a top speed of 53 mph (feels more like 100), 4WD, fully independent multi-link suspension, nine inches of wheel travel, 10 inches of ground clearance, Fox racing shocks, and a 400-pound capacity cargo box, the Gator RSX 850i seems eager to go anywhere and do anything. Sounds like a challenge we were born for.
The Abominable Snow-vehicle
Your closest encounter with the winter beast known as the Tucker Sno-Cat was probably watching as scientists and explorers with frozen beards made their way through parts unknown in an episode of National Geographic. What you probably don’t know is that these cold-capable snow monsters materialized out of one man’s desire to find a better method of snow travel, or that they comprise a proud family of multi-purpose vehicles that got their start way back in 1942. The Sno-Cat is an icon all its own in an industry that has few competitors.
Sleighs are for losers
You’re an hour late to the Christmas get-together, but not because that red velvet blazer you love so much is nowhere to be found. No, instead you’re trapped in a snowdrift in your vintage AMC Gremlin. No fruitcake for you. You could’ve fared better this holiday season with some better wheels. May we suggest some truly treaded steeds for your hapless self?
Driving, on the rocks
When Frank J. Zamboni opened one of the largest ice skating rinks in the country just outside Los Angeles in 1940, he realized he needed to streamline the ice resurfacing process. Using surplus war parts from Jeeps and tractors, he perfected his design on a number of iterations — and in 1949 the Model A Zamboni Ice Resurfacer was born.
Fast forward more than 60 years and the company, which has become ubiquitous with hockey games and halftime shows, now offers more than 10 machines ranging in capacity, price and ability. We had the chance to take the all-electric Zamboni 552 ($160,000) model for a spin, and the drive was, as expected, extraordinary.
In 1934, Hawley Bowlus decided to apply his knowledge to a new market: towable trailers. His efforts became the Bowlus Road Chief. While the design was industry leading, the floundering economy of the Great Depression hampered sales. After selling 80 trailers, Bowlus decided he’d be better off making planes and shuttered Bowlus.
When car collector John Long found one of the original 80 made in the ’30s, he decided to resurrect Bowlus and bring the Road Chief back to market. In 2013 he succeeded: for the first time in 79 years new Bowlus Road Chiefs were being made, lived in and gawked at. Today the Bowlus Road Chief ($100,000+) still blows away new and vintage competition with spellbinding style and updates aplenty.
Don't call it a golf cart
The Rhino 700 Special Edition Tactical Black ($13,000) is pretty much what it sounds like: serious business. As the baddest two-passenger ATV on the planet, the Rhino 700 is not only incredibly rugged and versatile but is built with a surprising level of technological features. Beefy matte black frame, long travel suspension, push-button 2WD/4WD and a comfy cabin make for a potent off-road warrior. The Rhino name is apropos, and you’ll certainly want to ride one just about everywhere it can go — and that’s just about everywhere.
Tanks for the memories
The mud pit looked impossibly deep, twin ruts at least two feet high and half full of a murky stew from the rainy spring. “Does this thing ever get stuck?” I asked.
My driving instructor, Brendan, an Airborne infantryman a few weeks shy of entering Green Beret selection, smiled and said, “Nope, just keep her straight so we can keep some trees upright.”
Just another day, taking the Abbot FV433 Self-Propelled Gun out for a spin.
Sure, everyone loves to commute by bike. But there are inherent issues: showering at work, remembering different outfits, needing multiple grocery trips to carry your bags. The eFlow E3 Nitro electric bike is a major step forward — a step with striking design efficiency and a style that belies its e-designation. We were amped at the chance to cruise it around town for a few weeks — read on to see how it performed.
100 Years and Counting
Iconic. When was the last time you didn’t hear the buzzword spouted in a commercial for something from the worlds of automotive, fashion or interior design? The terminology of agricultural equipment and lawn care is an entirely different story. Well, mostly. A certain Deere & Company, founded in 1837 and known colloquially as John Deere, is a rare exception. We paid a visit to their Horicon, Wisconsin factory to find out why.
The trailer that inspired the AirStream
We’re all familiar with the iconic design of Airstream trailers. But what about the name Hawley Bowlus? He was the designer and builder of the Spirit of St. Louis — the record-breaking plane used by Lindberg to fly non-stop across Atlantic Ocean. But a few years later in 1934, he also created the forebear of the AirStream trailer, a stunning piece of technically advanced machinery dubbed the Hawley Bowlus Road Chief. Today, the classic Road Chief is reborn as a stunner with all the modern trappings.
Over the dry riverbed and through the charred woods
You don’t have to believe that the end of the Mayan calendar signifies the beginning of the end, you just have to go to your local theater and see how many apocalyptic movies are out. It’s like we want it to happen. Whatever the case, make sure your bug out bag is ready, have ample…
Riding a (blast) wave
Warfare is often a battle against change, and the U.S. military is always attempting to stay ahead of, or at least on top of, the curve. A fairly new yet significant player in this struggle is the MRAP, or Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle. From seemingly nowhere, the ubiquitous “Humvee” (High-Mobility Multi-purpose Wheeled Vehicle, or…
Double park it and see who leaves a note
If you’re into thimble collecting or love to break a sweat zipping through the woods on your adult tricycle, then the Otokar Cobra is undeniably the wrong kind of vehicle for you. Built for equal parts protection and destruction, the Cobra will assuredly get you to the front of the line in any zombie-fueled traffic…
If you hanker for an impressive triumvirate of modern technology, off-road chops and vintage style, look no further than the utterly desirable Legacy Power Wagon ($114,950+). Need to pull out King Kong’s molars? This would be your truck of choice. In two or four-door format, the Legacy Power Wagon (by Legacy Classic Trucks) is based…
The Harley Sportster is a relatively inexpensive yet powerful bike, making it popular for modifications. Japanese builder Hidemo used a 1200cc 2011 model to make his version of the Custom Sportster that stands out from other customs. Hidemo abbreviated the front fender, added dropped mirrors a la cafe racer and gave the bike a subtle…
After the worldwide, ignominious ridicule of the Reliant Robin three-wheeled car on an episode of Top Gear, one man in the UK simply had enough. The Reliant Robin has quite a cult following in the Queen’s country, largely due to its quirkiness and probably extreme economy. A threatening demon of speed it is not. Well,…
Not exactly ollie friendly
Grabbing ahold of the back of a moving car may seem like a good way to pick up some serious speed on your skateboard, but it is an even better way to end up in traction (and we don’t mean the grippy kind). If you want to move like you have a motor on your…
Through the river and over the woods
We think the term “all terrain vehicle” is used a bit casually these days. Sure that 4×4 or side-by-side can go off-road, but anything too steep or deep and it quickly becomes dangerous or useless. That’s why we’re stoked about the Argo 8×8 750 HDi ($19,500) – an eight-wheel amphibious mutant that will dominate snow,…
Baby Got Back
At first glance, the Doubleback looks like your average VW Transporter van. Pushing a single button, however, completely transforms the popular European passenger carrier into a home away from home in just under a minute. Thanks to the extra room provided by the extendable pod, the central cabin serves as a fully functioning kitchen, complete…
Go try a Kyte
Who doesn’t love car camping? All the benefits of the outdoors without having to forego some vital creature comforts. But it can still be a royal pain setting up and breaking down camp. Plus, moving from tent to eating/sitting/chillin’ areas can be not so seamless. The Holtkamper Kyte tent trailer can change all that and…
Land, sea and scare
When’s the last time you checked your land-to-water based escape route? You can cut the number of needed vehicles in half with the new Gibbs Technologies Phibian that enables you to go from trucker to aquanaut in a matter of seconds. Gibbs has been in the amphibious vehicle world for some time now and is…
Cold harsh winters will kidney punch many of us soon, but it doesn’t have to be all pain and no snowy terrain. That is, as long as you have transportation like the Arctic Cat ProCross F 1100 Turbo Sno Pro Limited ($13,800). Sporting a fancy pearl white, orange and black paint scheme, it surely stands…
Golden Era, Silver Bullet
You’ll have to go across the Atlantic to find this jewel of Americana, but for a meticulously restored, original specification 1963 Airstream Bambi ($58,000) it might just be worth the hassle. Originally registered in New Brighton, Minnesota on May 9, 1963 the 16×7 Bambi is clad in its factory aircraft-grade lightweight metal skin (newly polished…
Looking like the illegitimate child of a flattened Humvee and an angry warthog, the Shadow Hawk Steel Hawk might also fit in nicely as the Tumbler’s stand-in during Gotham chase scenes. The Steel Hawk is powered by a 6.6 liter V8 engine with turbocharging that provides a healthy 360 horsepower and a meaty 650 pound…
Not so Woolly Mammoth
There’s off-road, and then there’s OFF-ROAD. The Russian built Trecol 39295 takes it to an altogether different level. The insane six-wheeler enables you to drive over logs, insanely rocky terrain, deep water (with optional outboard motor) and even people. Okay, back up now. Yes, you can do that, too. The Trecol just happens to have…
Now THIS is how you roadtrip
One look at the Ketterer Motorhome Custom and you’ll view RV’s in a whole new light. This, gents, is the luxury coach that dreams are made of. Built from the ground up using a Mercedes-Benz truck chassis, the Ketterer Custom can be built to spec with such creature comforts as a master bedroom with requisite…
Essentially a plug-in steroidal, man-sized Tonka truck, the Bremach T-Rex takes green power beyond mere passenger cars and into the realm of ruggedly capable vehicles. Bremach has been making industrial grade trucks since the 1950s and is now breaking new ground with this monster that houses a 100kW electric motor providing a 150 mile range,…
How to Armagedd-it-on
Someday in the not-too-distant future, you may have to rely on your wits and your skills rather than rest on the creature comforts in your life to survive. Then again, maybe not. All you may need to do is get your grubby mitts on a custom hunting variant of the Mercedes-Benz Zetros 6×6. This vehicular…
In purely concept form right now, the Amatova ATV, from designer Liam Ferguson, gives us a vision into what first-line fire-fighting could look like in the near future. More like something out of the ‘Terminator’ series than out of your local firehouse, the Amatova houses 2 passengers in a high-visibility cockpit and can liquid Howitzer…