Introducing the masses to off roading, one rock crawler at a time
Written: January 24, 2013
by Andy Lilienthal
Many of us live a lifestyle that encompasses regular off roading trips, reading enthusiast magazines and websites, and spending our hard-earned dollars on our automotive builds. We're immersed in it; we crave it; it's our passion. However, we all had to start somewhere. Maybe your family was into off roading. Maybe you'd always been a gearhead but never actually took the plunge and bought a 4x4 until recently. Maybe it's somewhere in between. Regardless, at some point you were exposed to the off road lifestyle.

It's important to get new blood in to the off road world. One way to do that is to reach out to the masses and show them how great off roading can be at an entry level that is approachable. Something basic. A used 4x4, for instance. Then maybe add a winch, lift, tires, etc. Another way is through blowing their mind with a vehicle that is truly amazing.

For instance, I attended the 2013 Portland International Auto Show yesterday and got to preview a host of cars, trucks, SUVs, and everything in between. Jeep was there with its Camp Jeep exhibit, Ford, Nissan, and Toyota brought its lineup of pickups and SUVs, and Chevrolet and GMC will have the new Silverado and Sierra on display. There were a handful of customized and specialty off-road vehicles at the show, too. One of which was this Axial rock crawler which was sporting a WARN winch and WARN logos. It was unlike any vehicle at that show. And while many of the other off-road vehicles at the show were great, this rig truly stood out. I mean, just look at it in comparison to a stock 4x4. It'll likely turn some heads.

WARN equipped rock crawler from the Portland International Auto Show
Some of you may be thinking, "So what's the big deal? There's a rock crawler at the auto show." The big deal is that the Portland International Auto Show is the single largest consumer car event in Oregon. It brings in thousands of people over its four day run. For some, it may be the only car event they go to all year. This means there a lot of people that may be seeing a rock crawler for the first time. And let's face it, a flexed out rock crawler grabs a lot of attention. On top of that, it's right next to the radio controlled rock crawler course, which further adds to the excitement of off road driving, even if it's on a small scale.

Think of it this way: A sports car, such as a Dodge Viper, Nissan GT-R, or a Ferrari 458 gets people excited, even if they're not hardcore gearheads. It's something people would love to drive, and they're just plain cool. Showing off a hard-core rock crawler may do the same for getting people hyped up about off roading, whether they'd actually drive a bone-stock Jeep, in a modified Toyota ... or maybe even a rock crawler.

How did you get into off roading? Leave your reply in the comments section.

Tags: auto show,event,rock crawling,Jeep,Toyota,Chevrolet,GMC,Ford
Filed under: Truck/Jeep/SUV,Powersports