I did some research into organized 4 Wheeling in New England. If there are any errors please contact me and I will correct them. You must be asking yourself when did people start 4 wheeling in New England and what was the name of the first club? Well I'll try to answer that. It was not always so easy in the early days to build a 4WD capable of driving rough terrain.
It all started back in the 1970's
A CT Jeep dealership starts a club called the New England 4 Wheelers. To promote sales and show what the Jeep will do. (not the same NE4WI read on) A hand full of other clubs start about that same time period. Central CT 4 Wheelers , Old Colony 4 Wheelers, Ocean State 4 Wheelers from RI. and the Wandering 4 Wheelers on Mass.
Most of these clubs were holding mud bogs and racing events, and few were trail riding on old roads. Many people were running only 31" tires at the time. People fabricated their own 4 wheel drive add ons. Detroit lockers and limited Slips were what some people were running in there axles. Jeeps, Land cruisers, Land rovers, Bobtail Broncos and scout's were big back then.
|1971 was the last year you could get a CJ 5 with a Buick V6 (65-71)|
The 1970's saw AMC buy Kaiser Jeep and in 1972 the CJ5 became longer to
accomodate AMC's inline 6 that would later be replaced by V8'S. |
People were going to the airports to buy old airplane tires that were taller and wider then the tires were on thier Jeeps. Most clubs were driving thier Jeeps on the dunes of Cape Cod. The first true off-road tires (in New England) came from Israel in form of a 32" tire. They were mounted on custom rims, made from old truck rims with new centers to fit there 4x4's in Abington, Mass.
Rancho and Rough county started making lift kits for 4x4's
1976 Jeep comes out with the CJ7. Jeep started putting on 31'Goodyear Tracker Bias ply tires. This is before Radial tires came out in the US. Also the Toyota Land Cruiser Association is formed. Later to be "Yankee Toys".
1980 - BFG intruduces the first radial mud tire. Click here to see the ad.
By the 1980's many new housing developments were being built, closing land, and forcing the 4 wheelers to almost give up.
1982 Old Colony 4 Wheelers holds a mud bog at a farm in Bridgewater Mass |
1983 The CJ5 was no longer being made.
1984 Jeep starts production on the XJ down sized Jeep Cherokee
These Jeeps would later prove them slelfs worthy of being on the same
Trail as CJ's. |
1985 Norfolk County 4 Wheel drive club stated that a vote was taken at their June meeting to shut down the club because of lack of interest.
1986 Jeep stops making the CJ7 and starts production of the square head lighted YJ. Ending a 10 year production run 1976-1986 Some 86 CJ7 came with rear Dana 44's
|1987 The Suzuki Samurai craze hit and there were plenty of them around. Many people started clubs like New England Suzuki owners club out of Franklin, Mass|
|1988 Rich Banfield (Unaware of the CT club) Starts New England 4 Wheelers, Inc in Mass. The CT. club had broken up.|
Steve D'Amelio starts Greater Franklin Off-Road club (G-force) Clubs like Green Mountain form in VT and Maine starts Mid-Maine 4x4 club.Note: RI does not currently have a 4WD club. Maybe because of its size?
More Aftermarket tires are readily available.
|1989 1st Annual Maine Mountains Jeep Jamboree (people come from all over the Northeast and after many want to join Jeep clubs. Western Maine Mt Jeepers form|
1st Annual Mohawk trail Jeep Jamboree (Massachusetts)|
1992 Baystate Rovers Assoc. forms
The Suzuki Samurai craze was fading fast. And Production would soon end.
The internet becomes popular. This helps people find Clubs and promotes the sport of 4 Wheelin'
|1992 New England and Eastern 4 Wheelers start pulling junk cars out of the woods. And Granite State 4 wheelers forms in NH.|
About this time many people start running 35" tires, soon 36"|
1994 Deep woods Extreme from NH forms
1995 New England Association of four-wheel drive clubs forms Jeep stops production of the YJ.
1996 Jeep unveils the new TJ with round headlights. Calling it a 97 Model This Jeep has coil springs all around and be very capable out of the box. Also the New England 4WD Association disbands.
1997 Bill Barnes becomes President of NE4WI after being VP.
1998 Rich Banfield starts BaystateJeepers, Inc a Jeep only club The Ox locker comes out, just pull the cable and your locker is engaged.
1999 Several clubs from through out New England meet with Major Tim Acerno who instructs club leaders that written landowner permission is needed to "recreate" on private land. Major Acerno also advises club leaders to form a regional Assocaition. This meeting becomes the catalyst for the NEA4WDC
2000 North East Assoc. of 4 Wheel drive clubs forms ( New England 4 Wheelers, Inc, BaystateJeepers, Inc, Deepwoods Extreme , Inc
|2001 Jeep stops making the XJ Cherokee|
|2001 BaystateJeepers put on the 1st Great American Jeep rally|
2002 Former Baystate Jeepers (Banfield ,Barton, Dockery and Warchol) form PatriotJeepers, Inc A Jeep only club were a minumum tire of 31" to 33" tires are required.
2001 Jeep makes a Rubicon TJ with lockers front and rear low transfer case 31" tires 4:10 gears. The most capable Jeep ever!
2003 More "social" clubs form.
2003-2004 New England Jeepz Stock To Moderate Jeep Club and Freedom Trailriders form.