Vexing vinyl 

I gave Smokey a much-needed bath late last week. During cleanup, I saw the extent to which my hood-side vinyl nameplate has deteriorated.

It’s a little frustrating, given that it’s less than four years old, and was purchased from what many consider to be the name in vinyl decals. And, about this being seven-year vinyl …

Plans for a replacement are in the works, but I must make time to touch up the graphic first.

Photos: Memorial Day weekend wheeling

I was thrilled to have my entire family join in for an afternoon of hill climbing on Saturday with local group Black Sheep Off-Road. Several of their members were camping at Rosita Creek Flats National Recreation Area, our closest off-road playground. By the end of the day, my wife had a horrific headache, so we took a pass on dinner and headed home.


(Thanks to Chris S. for the pics of Smokey!)

Wheeling Rosita Flats National Recreation Area with Black Sheep Off-Road

Smokey got a chance Saturday to stretch her legs with Black Sheep Off-Road at our nearby playground, the Rosita Flats National Recreation Area along the Canadian River. I didn’t shoot much in the way of photos or video this trip, but my photos, along with a handful of shots of Smokey courtesy of a friend, are here for your entertainment. Below, my friend had gotten himself stuck in a draw and was yanked out. Naturally, he had to try again. 😉

Polaris inks $665M deal to buy Transamerican

Many in the off-road community will remember the shock waves that shot across the web when word broke that manufacturing leviathan Transamerican Auto Parts was purchasing Poison Spyder Customs. A similar reaction occurred Wednesday, with the announcement that Polaris, maker of a range of ATVs, side-by-sides, snowmobiles and corporate parent to the Victory and Indian motorcycle brands was, itself, gobbling up Transamerican for a stunning $665 million.

In addition to Poison Spyder, Transamerican owns well known aftermarket brands including Rubicon Express, Pro Comp, Smittybilt, G2, LRG and Trail Master. Additionally, it is the largest North American retailer and installer, selling its goods through its own retail 4 Wheel Parts store network as well as many recognizable third-party vendors. In the last rolling 12-month period, Transamerican boasted sales approaching $740 million and saw year-over-year sales growth of 15 percent, the company said.

The privately owned Minnesota company sees tremendous growth potential in the already impressive $10 billion-per-year Jeep and off-road accessory market, making its acquisition of Transamerican a logical move, the company said Wednesday in a news release.

“We are excited to add (Transamerican’s) market-leading multi-channel business, proprietary brands, proven management team and experienced employees to the Polaris portfolio,” Polaris Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Scott W. Wine said in the release.  “This transaction is consistent with our long-term strategy, provides us an immediate leadership position in a growing market, and allows us to accelerate Polaris’ growth and profitability.”

The transaction is subject to regulatory approval, and is expected to close by Dec. 31. Following the closing, Transamerican will operate as a distinct business unit reporting to Steve Eastman, Polaris’ PG&A President. Polaris expects to fund the acquisition with borrowings under existing credit facilities.

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FIRST LOOK: 2018 Jeep Compass – raising the low bar

AUBURN HILLS, MICH. –– In celebration of the start of production at Fiat Chrysler America’s Jeep® Assembly Plant in Goiana, Pernambuco, Brazil, Jeep introduced the all-new 2018 Jeep Compass this week in that South American nation.

The latest small Jeep, slotting just ahead of the Italian-built Renegade, will be produced with 17 fuel-efficient powertrain options for consumers in more than 100 countries around the world, the company said in a news release.

Jeep’s all-new-for 2018 Compass combines the brand’s noted off-road capability, fuel-efficient powertrains, familiar Jeep design elements and a number of safety and technological features.

The new Jeep Compass will be available in North America in the first quarter of 2017. Additional images and information will be available at the vehicle’s North American debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November.

More on the Jeep Compass: