It’s been a long time coming since we have had the oportunity to interview another manufacturer. So when we picked one, we made sure it was a reputable one that you all enjoyed and many have experienced. We reached out to our friends at Iron Rock Offroad and asked them to answer a few questions and show us around. You’ll be surprised at what we found!!! Chad Vinar was the guy lucky enough to go see it as he lives not far from their shop in Shakopee, Minnesota. He sounded pretty excited at the oportunity and even more excited after the interview. New product lines coming out and manufacturing taking place right on the spot. Being able to see the machines running, products on the shelves, the rigs getting worked on and all the custom stuff happening in the shop… it has an effect on an off-roader! So what did we see you ask? here are some pictures you should enjoy whether you are an off-roader, a machinist, a manufacturer, a jeeper, a welder, or a fab guy/gal.
What got the guys into offroading?
It was the being with friends outdoors, the people, and the camaraderie. They all loved being outdoors so this was just another way for them to do it.
How long have you been offroading?
The 3 of them have been offroading for the past 20 years.
How did you get started as an offroad manufacturer?
They started Iron Rock Offroad in December of 2004.
What prompted the start of their business?
It was the love of the sport but also the fact that as they began to modify their own vehicles they quickly found that there wasn’t a lot of products offering for the xj, zj, and wj’s which were the models they were running, so this is where they decided to put their niche in the market.
What is your biggest accomplishment as an offroader?
The friendships and relationships that have been built over the last 11 years and obviously the birth of Iron Rock Offroad.
What is your biggest accomplishment as an offroad manufacturer?
Going from Jasons 2 stall garage to where they are today occupying 16,000 sq ft with room to expand their space and product.
What is one thing we don’t know about IRO?
I would have to say the size of the business and the product line.
Tell us about future products, pro jects, and direction of the company.
Currently we are working on a 10 week full frame off build of a LJ to take to Moab for EJS. It will be full of all the goodies including the IRO LJ long arm kit, full body wrap and a supercharger. We have several new products that they are working on currently with one of them being the 2.5″ lift for the JK line up that is available now with more JK products in the near future. The direction they are taking the business is one that allows them to continue with their existing products and grow with new product lines, adding new and bigger machines to increase production and efficiency while maintaining the IRO quality that everyone has come to know and love.
Where would you like to be in 5 years as a company?
To have a heightened stake in trade show appearances, attend more offroad trade shows as well as continue with their current growth of the business and expansion of product lines. They are currently shipping to dealers in 12 countries with the UK and Australia being at the top of the list, the day I was there they were shipping 5 pallets of product to Turkey.
What do the owners of the company do to better the offroad community?
They are heavily involved into helping sponsor offroad events and donate to charities nationwide. They are also involved with the Minnesota 4 Wheel Drive Association (MN4WDA) working with the to help obtain new public trails as well as keeping the current ones open. Some of the local events they have sponsored in the last year are the Crawl 4 the Cure which is a weekend trail event to raise money and awareness for MS and a concert to raise money for ALS.
Why IRO over your competitors?
We have produced products with quality being of high importance and the craftsmanship of their kits is second to none. They have superb customer service and have a lifetime warranty on some of their products to the original owner. With these few points coupled with the fact that it is made in the US you won’t find a better product for the cost.
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.