WHY LEITNER'S ACS FORGED WAS THE "ONLY CHOICE" FOR WORLD RENOWNED PHOTOGRAPHER SINUHE XAVIER'S BAJA TRUCK
In 2022, world renowned photographer Sinuhe Xavier copiloted a chase truck, in a 2022 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 AEV Bison with the 2.8-liter Duramax diesel engine, in the Mexican 1000. The images you see here in this blog are ones Xavier shot and was kind enough to share with us.
We took a minute to sit down with Xavier to talk about the race, his Colorado, and, of course, the Leitner Designs Active Cargo System Forged he mounted on the bed.
Last year Team Safari, the team Xavier was chasing, entered a motley crew of rigs into the Mexican 1000: a vintage Wampus Kitty, which is one of the original desert buggies, a Baja Bug, and a 1972 Ford F-150. In tow was Xavier’s trusty diesel Colorado.
Before acquiring the Chevrolet, Xavier had always been a Land Rover guy — always. Eventually, however, he realized that a truck, not an SUV, was the ideal vehicle for his work. He landed on a midsize because he simply found that a full-size would be too big for the places and trails he visits. And he picked the Colorado because of its diesel engine.
At first blush, Xavier is a fan of his relatively new Colorado, and seems thoroughly impressed with it. Though, you dig a little deeper, and he’ll admit he’s found the limits of its build quality.
Now with over 30,000 miles, the interior dome lights don’t work, and one of the engine ECUs came loose in the engine bay. This is because it was attached with cheap plastic clips and not, as Xavier would have preferred, bolts. Xavier chastised Chevy’s engineers for this cost-cutting measure. To be fair, however, he’s likely a lot harder on the truck than the average buyer. The main parts of the truck, the drivetrain and powertrain have not skipped a beat, which is ultimately the most important.
When it came time to outfit the Colorado for his long, remote, arduous, and extremely taxing trips, Xavier started with suspension and tires. Then he turned his attention to the bed, where he’d be not only storing his gear, but also carrying a rooftop tent.
He searched high and low for the best bed rack on the market. He landed on the Leitner ACS Forged.
“Leitner was just the only choice — aesthetically, component wise, and the way it came together,” Xavier said. “Every other rack I looked at just kind of looked like an erector set. The Leitner really felt like it had a lot of thought into the design and the aesthetics of it.”
At first, Xavier bolted up all the Leitner accessories, including GearPOD XL, GearPOD, HydroPOD, and a few Universal Mounting Plates. Then he topped the ACS Forged with a Darche Streamline rooftop tent.
Eventually, Xavier pared down the Leitner accessories he carried. This is a common theme we see with our customers. He started with it all, but adds and subtracts based upon his needs in the moment. For most expeditions, Xavier carries just a GearPOD XL and HydroPOD, which he calls a “game changer.”
The modularity of the ACS Forged, and the ability to bolt and unbolt accessories in a matter of minutes, is something that Xavier has come to appreciate deeply.
Keeping It Running
A hard year spent mostly off-road, the Colorado is showing the wear and tear of the trail. Xavier will routinely do trips doing more than 250 miles off road. This has left the Chevy’s interior plastics in shambles. Leitner’s ACS, however, hasn’t skipped a beat.
While other guys on his trip are spending hours going through their rigs, especially their rack systems, to either repair breakages or ensure components are not about to break or shake loose, Xavier spends just a few minutes making sure each specially made Leitner hex bolt is tight; they virtually always are. But putting a hex wrench on each bolt gives Xavier peace of mind.
If you want to follow along with Xavier’s adventures, including catching a few pics of his Leitner-outfitted, oil-burning Bison, you can follow him on Instagram: @sinuhexavier
Shop Leitner Designs ACS Forged rack for Chevrolet Colorado here.