THE SHOP

March '18

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28 THE SHOP MARCH 2018 cros and working from remote locations. I have also built several custom Syncros for soon-to-be retirees that used to have split-window Microbuses back in their college days, and now that they've sold their homes they want to see the world in a Syncro. I did one build for a young man who was a marketing director for Gatorade. He worked for them until his Syncro was completed, quit his job and went out on his own making documentary films from his Syncro as a means of supporting his new way of living. He drove it across Europe, into Africa and back. Now that's a real adventure! BERNHARD LEITNER, FOUNDER Leitner Designs TS: When did you start building over- landing racks? BL: At the end of 2014. I saw no rack on the market that provided utility beyond mounting a rooftop tent. This led me to design my own, necessity being the mother of all inventions. TS: You've been involved in the design of many truck products while with AMP Research previously, is that cor- rect? BL: Yes, I helped design the original bed extender, the first power step that was showcased at SEMA back in 2000, as well as all the non-automotive products such as suspension bicycle frames and disc brakes. TS: Leitner Designs has been overlanding for how long, and what prompted you to get involved in this market segment? BL: It started in 2009 when a friend and I decided to drive to Alaska and camp the entire trip. To make things more exciting, we drove one of my old military trucks, a 1973 Pinzgauer 712M, just to see if it could be done. The truck had a top speed of 50 mph, so it took a while, but we even- tually got there and back. I built a custom camping trailer, so we would have better accommodations than just a ground tent. After that, I realized there actually was a market segment dedi- cated to vehicle-assisted adventures. TS: The idea behind overlanding or adven- ture travel is that the journey itself is as important as reaching a certain destina- tion. Does this fit in with your products? BL: Absolutely, the journey is the adven- ture and the destination is just a goal. We discovered early in the design process that every adventurer has different requirements when it comes to the gear they need to complete their travels safely. This is the idea behind the modularity of our rack. The overland community is very partic- ular in the gear it uses and what works for one person doesn't always work for another. We have over 15 accessories for our Active Cargo System now, and in growing every year we help travelers carry everything they need. OVERLANDING Burley Motorsports' VW Syncros take the AWD version of the Vanagon and create a nearly indestructible platform for overlanding. The overlanding Syncros have an almost cult-like fol- lowing worldwide (Photos courtesy Burley Motorsports) To change the approach angle of the LGE-CTS Baja Forged Adventurer Ford Expedition, roughly 10 inches were removed from the front bumper before fabricating a new Baja Forged bumper and skid plate, with Ford Raptor fender flares fitted to the body. Prototype ICON Vehicle Dynamics 3-inch coil-over shocks with internal bump stops and upper control arms with delta joints were employed, along with Hellwig sway bars fore and aft. Sparta Evolution's new big brake kit was utilized, along with 35-inch BFGoodrich KM2 Mud Terrain tires. Inspired by the color of the Method Grid wheels, a PPG Overcast Blue Pearl with a Gray cast, and an Anvil Gray lower color were applied, along with black matte accents. The LGE- CTS-fabricated Baja Forged roof rack holds an ARB USA rooftop tent, and inside is an ARB Fridge Freezer.

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