As always, last weekend's Overland Expo West show proved one of the world's best places for spotting unique, well-traveled vehicles of every shape and size. This year's highlights included the usual massive Unimog, military truck and big rig-based expedition vehicles, but also some equally compelling small 4x4s, particularly those of the restoration and modernization variety. Here's a look at the best of show.
Working through hundreds upon hundreds of Overland Expo photos to create a manageable gallery is hard enough, but picking out the best highlights of the bunch is even harder. Truth is, there's a potential "best of" around every corner and down every aisle of the show. But many of these trucks and 4x4s stand alone, unmanned, with little identification information beyond grille emblems and rear logos. Here are some highlights about which we gathered a little more info.
Scouting a New Legend
There seemed to be an inordinate number of restored and perfectly kept classic Toyota Land Cruisers at the show, but what really caught our attention were the colorful New Legend Scouts. The new brand makes a business out of restoring classic International Scout bodies and modernizing them with an AEV JK suspension platform and GM LS3 V8 or Cummins 2.8-liter turbo diesel engine. Prices aren't cheap, starting around $100K, but these Scouts are sure to be the envy of everyone else on the trail.
New Legend is a spinoff of Anything Scout and its plans call for restomods of more than just Scouts. In fact, it's working on similar Jeep Wagoneer and Range Rover Classic designs.
Aerospace engineering lands down at continental level
Overlanding is growing and even slowly weaving its way into the fabric of mainstream outdoor adventure. That means that new names in roof-top tents, expedition trailers, accessories and huge expedition vehicles are popping up at every Overland Expo West and East show. A company we had not seen prior to this year's show, AeroContinental is a Montana-based shop specializing in aluminum expedition modules planted atop truck chassis. The company's wild hog logo definitely gets your attention, and its "aerospace meets overland" name raises intrigue, but the shiny, rugged-looking boxes built from aircraft-grade aluminum are what really reel you in. The company builds its boxes to be tough-as-nails heirloom campers that ride from truck to truck, one generation to the next.
AeroContinental's first "000" build was on a Ford F-350 Super Duty, and its 001 effort makes things even more interesting with an AEV Prospector Ram 3500. Even before wearing a camper on its back, this pickup is a purpose-designed overlander that manufactures wanderlust on the spot (we know because we've spent a lot of time ogling it at past Overland Expo and SEMA shows). Designed for off-the-beaten-path exploration, it includes an upgraded on/off-road DualSport suspension, ruggedized front bumper and AEV wheels. The AeroContinental camper on top is designed for two people and still a work in progress.
What has four wheels and lots of wool ...
Whether it's cars or campers, we're not usually all that impressed with a multi-brand team-ups that just stuff vehicle interiors full of another company's materials or wares. But by partnering with Woolrich, the near-200-year-old outdoor company specializing in woolen apparel and accessories, Four Wheel Campers highlights the growth and mainstreaming of overlanding with its Woolrich Edition pop-up truck campers. Plus, the campers remind us of a ski lodge on the back of a pickup truck, which is all kinds of cool.
Four Wheel Campers plans to build 100 Woolrich limited editions, offering both flat-bed and slide-in models in various sizes. Each one features an aluminum shell and an interior decked out in Woolrich upholstery and accessories, lending a rustic but colorful look. The pop-ups also come stocked for comfort with such features as forced air heating, hot water, a compressor fridge, an electrical system with 160W solar panel, LED lighting and plenty more. Prices start at $36,595, and this particular camper seems like an intriguing option for overlanders with an eye for design or trendy, style-conscious folks who want to get into the overlanding craze (or at least look like they're getting into it).
Those are but a few of the many highlights of Overland Expo West 2017. Our full Overland Expo gallery holds all the others.