Storm chasers’ cars often sport modifications that fortify them against tornadoes, hurricanes, and floods. When you think of a vehicle that can withstand high winds and water, you probably envision a burly pickup truck. But one storm chaser proudly pilots a Subaru Forester in his quest to document Mother Nature’s fury. Reed Timmer, who has become a celebrity in the niche, lovingly calls his modified crossover “Dominator Fore.” Unfortunately, it met a watery fate in Hurricane Ian last month. And now, fans are calling for free Subaru SUVs.
Meet Reed Timmer’s storm-chasing Dominator Fore
Reed Timmer is a tornado researcher and co-founder of Team Dominator. Helping him collect data is Dominator Fore (or “Dom Fore”), a 2018 Subaru Forester modified with only a few protective panels. The vehicle’s interior hums with scientific equipment to collect data on the various storms he follows.
Timmer has expressed he wants to add more fortifications to his Forester SUV, including Lexan windows and a better probe launcher. Another item on his wish list is waterproofing for the exterior.
The Subaru Forester has turned out to be the perfect vehicle for Timmer’s needs. Dominator Fore has endured multiple tornadoes, a hailstorm, monsoon seasons, and just about every other natural disaster you can imagine. He’s had to replace the windshield a few times and the headlights once, but he kept the hail pockmarks as a badge of honor.
Timmer has also dealt with moisture in the engine bay, inviting insects to move in. But other than that, Dom Fore had emerged relatively unscathed.
That is until Hurricane Ian slammed into Florida’s Gulf Coast on Sept. 28, 2022.
Fans ask for modified Subaru SUVs after Hurricane Ian thrashed Dominator Fore
When Hurricane Ian barreled through the Sunshine State last month, it left swaths flooded and battered. Dominator Fore took a severe beating as the Category 4 monster plowed through Pine Island, west of Fort Myers, where Timmer had stopped to document the storm.
Through his YouTube channel, he shared footage of Ian’s force, lashing the Forester with 150-mph winds and sheets of rain. The storm chaser abandoned his Subaru SUV as floodwaters swallowed Dom Fore.
After the storm surge subsided, Timmer re-evaluated his trusty vehicle. The windshield was cracked, and the front end was buried under tree branches and broken planks of wood. Thick muck and mud covered the interior.
But Timmer has vowed to rebuild Dominator Fore.
And now, fans on Twitter are calling for Subaru to give modified Forester and Crosstrek SUVs to storm chasers such as Timmer. One commenter noted the automaker could use its generosity as a marketing opportunity. So far, Subaru hasn’t responded to the user on Twitter.
Another fan tweeted, “They should make a storm chaser edition of the Forester and/or Crosstrek. Like the Wilderness edition but waterproof or floatable.” The commenter also suggested that each model have an “optional anchor, which I’m sure would also come in handy if being sucked into a tornado.”
Are Subaru SUVs rugged?
Subaru SUVs are known for their standard all-wheel drive. You won’t find AWD in many comparable models, whether or not the feature is used for off-roading.
The 2023 Subaru Forester compact crossover packs a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine making 182 hp and 176 lb-ft of torque. It pairs with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). As for fuel economy, it gets around 33 mpg combined.
In addition, the Forester has 28.9 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats, enough for hauling some gear but not much. And most trims can tow 1,500 pounds — again, not much.
However, the Wilderness edition, which Subaru designed for off-roading, can tow 3,000 pounds. It also boasts 9.2 inches of ground clearance, all-terrain tires, a lifted suspension, and an enhanced AWD X-Mode.
Starting prices range from about $26,400 for the base model to around $36,500 for the range-topping Touring trim.