There’s something alluring about storm chasing, but not everyone’s vehicle is equipped to tackle it. Team Dominator recognized this and began creating custom parts to keep storm chasers safe during their ventures. The group transforms trucks and SUVs into vehicles that look more like military tanks.
These storm-chasing trucks have garnered plenty of attention over the years. A heavily modified Dodge 3500 has appeared in multiple tornado-chasing TV programs. And car-collecting celeb Jay Leno owns a storm-chasing Ford F-350, which he bought for $750,000. But one of Team Dominator’s vehicles — a 2018 Subaru Forester — looks surprisingly ordinary compared to its teammates.
Reed Timmer’s Subaru Forester
Reed Timmer is a Team Dominator co-founder, storm chaser, and tornado researcher, Car and Driver reports in a recent feature. His 2018 Subaru Forester, nicknamed the “Dom Fore,” has appeared in multiple videos on his YouTube channel. Soon after he bought the Subie, Timmer drove it through a hailstorm that pockmarked the body in dents.
Timmer told Car and Driver he also drove the same Forester during monsoon season, causing the engine to accumulate fungi and creepy-crawly critters. The motor has survived every natural disaster, but Timmer has had to replace the Forester’s windshield a few times a year. Besides that, the SUV has given him no serious problems after two years of use.
Extra storm-chasing equipment
Timmer’s Subaru Forester doesn’t sport many modifications, mostly for sentimental reasons. According to Timmer, every indentation is a treasured memory of each storm he’s weathered. Still, the Forester has aluminum panels installed to protect the sunroof and one of its windows.
Timmer also stores several probes onboard to analyze tornadoes, and there’s an anemometer installed on the roof. He told Car and Driver that he wants to add more parts, such as Lexan windows and a better probe launcher. Timmer said he’s also interested in making his Subie waterproof.
What makes the Subaru Forester so tough?
It’s no secret the 2018 Subaru Forester is incredibly reliable. The only expensive repairs Timmer has had to make over the years was replacing the headlights. Considering all the extreme weather this Forester has seen, that’s pretty incredible.
Timmer also told Car and Driver that the Subaru Forester is easy to maneuver, which is crucial for quickly escaping hazardous situations. Visibility is also important for storm-chasing, especially when there’s a huge tornado in your line of sight. Thankfully, the Forester has a huge windshield and thin roof pillars.
The Subaru Forester’s seemingly unbeatable engine is a 2.0-liter turbo-four capable of 250 hp, paired with a continuously variable automatic transmission, according to U.S. News. It’s not the sportiest SUV, but its suspension is smooth enough to mute most road imperfections. The Forester also comes with standard all-wheel drive, essential for hazardous weather conditions.
You never know when you’ll need to need to veer off-course to avoid falling debris. The traction assist system even has a special button to supply grip for off-roading situations. It also has a setting for crawling down steep inclines.
According to U.S. News, the 2018 Subaru Forester boasts plenty of other safety features, but only on higher trim levels. This crossover can sport adaptive headlights and automatic high-beams for navigating through heavy fog, rain, or snow. Blind-spot monitors and rear traffic assist help drivers when they need to reverse quickly in bad weather.
Plus, forward-collision warning and automatic emergency braking alert drivers about obstacles on short notice and allow them to avoid these objects entirely. You can also add a lane-keeping assist feature to keep you on track in especially windy conditions.
Overall, the Subaru Forester is a great car for aspiring storm chasers. It’s already rugged without any heavy-duty gear.