AUSSIE LOCKER INTERVIEW
Last weekend we had the opportunity to Interview Cora Jokinen, the new owner of Aussie Locker and parent company Torq-Masters Industries Inc. We were privileged enough to be Cora’s first interview since becoming the owner of this awesome company, and are truly honored to introduce her to you guys. For all of you who don’t already know Cora Jokinen has acquired the company Torque Masters and the full line of Aussie lockers this fall. Since she has been a fan of jeeps, Off-roading, welding, fabrication and has been running Aussie lockers in her own jeep for so long I think she is going to be a great fit for the company and take it to new places.
Part 1 – Interview at the Aussie Locker shop Cora started off-roading years and years ago and has fallen into the love of jeeps, her first was a CJ-7, and now her and her husband, Erik, have a couple different CJ’s and an XJ. The custom CJ-7 buggy is made mostly of jeep parts that they built together. When she bought her first CJ7 she chose to put an Aussie Locker in it because of the products stellar reputation, and became a friend of her predecessor, Bill Cole, the founder of Aussie Locker.
Cora is no stranger to the off-road industry. Driving her Aussie Locker sponsored CJ-7 in the RcRocks Competitions at Rausch Creek Offroad Park with her husband as spotter, they made a great team. Cora worked as a Tech Official for Monster Jam while in college and won Rookie of the year, the first woman to do so with the company. Some of you may have already known her before now, Cora and Erik love traveling with their 2 dogs to Off-road parks all over the US and Trail Guide at many events. You may also have known her as the past president of a local wheeling club in Rochester NY.
Part 2 – Manufacturing Plant Tour For 11 years now, Torq-Masters Industries, Inc. has been manufacturing the ever popular Aussie locker. These lockers were first manufactured in Australia for 9 years and gave the product its namesake. In 2012 it was decided to bring manufacturing to the USA to focus on quality, production and to utilize the highly skilled technicians in Rochester NY.
To date, Aussie Lockers are the only automatic locker made in America and Cora’s plan is to keep it that way. National Off-road Jeep Association (NOJA) has done a lot of research on automatic lockers and rides with Aussie Lockers in their stock Dana 44 JK. We studied how the hardened steel makes for a better product and the longer tooth pitch and height makes it stand out from other automatic lockers. Being quieter and smoother than the competitors tested really makes it a better product. The best part is that even though its American made it doesn’t really cost any more than its competitors. With any company and signing in a new officer there will be lots of changes. Cora promises the amazing customer service you all are accustom to from the company will stay the same but watch out for new products coming from Torq-Masters in the spring and installation videos coming soon.
I’m back with this week’s Jeep of the Week for the National Off-Road Jeep Association!! This week, our JOTW comes to you from Wisconsin, where we will take a look at Jeep collector Terry Hazelton and his custom XJ trailer!! Terry’s first Jeep was a ’99 Sahara purchased in 2000. He’s been collecting Jeeps ever since, with an ’03 Rubicon and a slew of XJ’s and a few Commanders in that collection. But, one of the more unique builds of his collection is his custom trailer he built out of a “parts” 2001 XJ that he had. So, how’d he do that?? Well, Terry cut the body at the B-pillar, but he left the hang of the roof to fold over the pulled in front doors from a ’96 XJ. The trailer consists of several parts pulled from various XJ’s to complete the interior. He used a sawzall and cutting discs to saw the original ’01 in half. He fabricated a trailer tongue to attach for pulling the trailer. He used a front door as a nose panel and he also used doors to retain the body lines. The front doors were gutted for weight reduction. A ton of fabricating went into this build. Turns signals off of a Jeep Commander was used for the rear of the trailer. Terry wired the brake and turn signals to retain OEM standards. The interior actually has a 42″ LCD TV mounted with 5.25″ front speakers and driver’s side 8″ subwoofer. WOW!! The trailer boasts a 6″ lift with 33″ tires and 15″ Wrangler wheels. The exterior has a beautiful Satin finish to perfection. To top that off, Terry has a custom “Trailer Rated” badge that looks straight from factory. To sum it up, the build of this trailer is basically an ’01 body with a ’96 and earlier tail lights to match the towing XJ. Hat’s off to you, Terry Hazelton for this awesome piece of fabricated artwork!! Well done sir, well done!!!
Sorry for the tardiness of this article. My work schedule through the holidays has pushed my article back a week or two. This week’s Jeep of the Week takes us to Lancaster, New York where we find Mrs. Victoria Aldridge and her 2012 Jeep Liberty!!! Victoria has only lived the “trail life” for only a year or so, but she has adapted to the life very well. Along with her husband, Benjamin, they love to wheel, mostly in West New York, keeping it close to home. However, this Libby has also blazed the trails of Colorado and has also seen trail time at everyone’s favorite, MOAB!! In the future, they would love to venture out to some overland routes like Mojave Road, and expand their exploration to include Colorado!!
Victoria’s ’12 Libby is setup on with a Daystar Budget Boost running some 258/75/16 Duratrac’s wrapped around the stock wheels from the hubby’s XJ!! When the sun goes down, this Libby lights it up, with a Lifetime LED bar for maximum lighting!! Full factory skid plates, tow hooks, and stock bumpers complete the this rig, proving that, you don’t necessarily need to equip your rig with every mod imaginable, to enjoy the trail life and live the Jeep lifestyle!!
I was pretty excited to write this piece because we haven’t highlighted a Liberty yet. I enjoy learning more about the Jeep life, but not only Wranglers, but the full Jeep lineup, as well. I’m learning that every rig in the Jeep family is very capable of blazing trails leaving their mark whether they are modded out, or close to stock!! As you can see with Mrs. Aldridge’s 2012 Liberty, if it is a Jeep, it can get the job done!!
So a big congratulations to Mrs. Victoria Aldridge and her 2012 Jeep Liberty for being NOJA’s Jeep of the Week!!!
written by: Matt Finney
To see other Jeep of the Week winners click on the Jeep of the Week category on your left or by clicking here.