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Hagerty Employee

4 forgotten 4x4s that some enthusiasts may actually remember

Nobody remembers the one millionth red light they’ve stopped at, but everyone remembers the first time they got stuck in the mud in a 4×4—or how a 4×4 helped them discover new places that would’ve been practically impossible to explore on foot without a weeks-long hike. It’s the 4×4’s ability to traverse seemingly impassible barriers that makes them so memorable. Most of them, anyway.


Leaving aside the popular Jeep Wranglers and Toyota Hiluxes are some forgotten 4x4s of the past, those that sank into obscurity more through the failures of our own memories than any mechanical maladies on their part.


Today we’re digging into the depths of our minds, sifting through the broad spectrum of giant earth-movers and fly-weight hooliganism, and selecting our four favorite forgotten 4x4s.


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New Driver

The Suzuki/GEO were a very capable 4X4.

Intermediate Driver

The BMW Freeclimber: Japanese Design, Italian Engineering, and German Reliability?  Yikes.

Intermediate Driver

Richardson, Texas, 1966. A pimply faced kid (me) pulls up in an International Scout to deliver a bucket of fried chicken. Fortunately for citizens of Richardson the Chicken Delight International Scout delivery vehicle was NOT powered by a Mopar 440.

Pit Crew

By the time I was old enough to pay attention to cars (about 12), I remembered thinking how cool the AMC Eagle "coupes" and wagons were. 


My mom had a 1982 Eagle woody wagon. My friends all laughed. Until a few "field" trips, then they thought it was the best car ever. Couldn't kill that thing either.


Have an '83 AMC Eagle wagon today...  and there are three of them here in Virginia City (NV). 


My friends mom had the Eagle coupe. It was red with the black stripes. I STILL like how those cars look.

My wife's on her fourth one (here in the Northeast they rust out while still running strong) and they've won me over as well.

Intermediate Driver

Fourth what?

Pit Crew

Ah yes, the couple gear freight company... how could I forget?

Pit Crew

Let me add #5:  1986 Subaru BRAT! 1600cc of raw power, 4 speed manual, 4x4 transfer case, hi/low speed, all with extra seats in the bed!  What fun!


We had a Laforza come through a dealership I worked at when I was younger. If I remember correctly it was like an Israeli  Hummer..kinda

Community Manager

It was made by an Italian company, with a luxurious interior aimed at Range Rovers of the era.  Not really much of a Hummer-type of off roader at all. 

New Driver

Couple Gear Freight Company article and photos absolutely fascinating: American ingenuity at its best!

New Driver

Bet those "Americans" were first generation immigrants!

Intermediate Driver

Great article. I was unaware of the Couple-Gear Freight Company. Cool stuff.


The Scout guy in me questioning the cubes in the Safari...correct me if I’m wrong but IH never made a 395...perhaps 345ci?

Intermediate Driver

Plenty to question because plenty was incorrect regarding the IH references for Monteverdi.  At 165 HP, the reference was the 2-barrel 345 CID V8 ("Comanche" parlance was for the slant 4 Scout engines, not V8's).  IH also built a 392 CID variant.  And the most blatant "bang your head on the keyboard" screw-up was that Scout production ended in Oct. 1980.  Hagerty, you're contributors should do better research than just Google'ing "IH Scout" on their smartphone.


Rayton Fissore’s Magnum

Advanced Driver

The large dump trucks used in ore mining today still use the Couple-Gear concept of using an internal combustion engine (from a locomotive) to drive a generator that powers electic motors at each wheel. And the braking is also provided by the regenerative capacity of the motors. 

New Driver

How about the Citroen 2CV Sahara?  It has two engines and two gearboxes.  They could be operated in tandem or independently.  Loose the front or the back and you could still make it back home!

New Driver

My favorite and was at one time a fortunate owner of the Izuzu Vehicross.

Great fun in the dirt and Torque on Demand made you feel like any hill was climbable.


A cousin had one for several years; few people have ever head of those, it seems.


I do remember the Rocky.  As I recall, the road tests of the time said that it was pretty good off-road.


What, no Isuzu Trooper? Somewhere Joe Isuzu is crying in his Fuji beer.

New Driver

I always wanted a Mercedes Benz "Unimog" That to me is the ULTIMATE 4×4!