Topical History

History of Off Roading

Off roading really began when servicemen came back from World War II. They learned to go where they had to go through almost any conditions. They brought their beloved GPs or soon to be renamed Jeeps at Army surplus auctions and the sky was the limit. Hunters and farmers were the first to take advantage of the unique capabilities of this little mighty mite. Soon the general public was demanding better vehicles to get back and forth to work through snow covered roads safely. The modern SUV is just a fully optioned GP with luxury appointment and features unimaginable to those service men who broke the first off road trails. Since the 1970s things have grown by leaps and bounds. The VW based Myers Manx Dune Buggy, the Honda Mini Trail and ATC (all terrain cycle) changed everything. You didn't have to have a 4 wheel drive anymore, in fact you didn't have to have four wheels! Suddenly there were many vehicle choices with which to disappear over the hill. In the same time frame "scrambler" motorcycles with upswept exhaust and higher clearance frame designs came on the scene.

Continuous improvement through upgrades of weight reduction, power and suspension make those first scramblers seem crude at best. The three wheeled ATC met its demise in the court room due to instability issues. Quads soon took over with much improved handling, long travel suspensions and gobs of power. The latest off road trend is an improvement of the golf cart and they are called side by sides. With everything previously learned by the manufacturers, these rigs came fully with plenty of power, wheel travel and options to keep almost everybody happy. Of course if you are willing to open your wallet these little toys can become fire breathing race cars with unbelievable performance.