Archive for the ‘Toyotas’ Category

Uncurb your enthusiasm

April 7, 2012
The White Tornado

The White Tornado, a 1983 4WD Toyota long-bed pickup that I bought in 1998 and finally sold yesterday.

For the first time in nearly 35 years I am without a pickup truck.

Yesterday I sold the White Tornado, my 1983 Toyota 4WD long-bed pickup, to the auto shop that kept it and our other rice-grinders rolling long past their sell-by dates. The owner’s grandson needed something that was easier on the wallet than the giant pile of Detroit iron he’s been driving, and since Whitey needed work it seemed appropriate to let a family of mechanics adopt the auld fella.

Whitey was the sole survivor of a once-mighty Nipponese fleet, which not that long ago included another ’83 (a 2WD version with nearly 300,000 miles), a troublesome ’78 Toyota Chinook pop-top camper (dubbed the Pee-wee because it looked like something Pee-wee Herman might use to lure unwary children from a playground); and a 1998 Tacoma that was the last brand-new, showroom-floor vehicle we will ever buy.

The fleet

The fleet, docked at Weirdcliffe. Not pictured: The Pee-wee.

And yes, I had them all at the same time.

One by one they all went west on me. The Tacoma we traded for my Forester. The Pee-wee we sold to a guy whose son needed a camper for fishing trips. And the 2WD ’83 went to the same folks who bought Whitey — they fixed it up for a young construction type who needed a work truck, and I saw it around town now and then for a couple years afterward.

I’ve had a truck since I still had hair, and it feels weird to look out the window and not see one up against the curb. But I got used to not having hair, and I suppose I’ll get used to not having a truck.

Maybe I can saw the ass-end off the Forester and drop a flatbed on the sumbitch.

Fat city Friday

November 12, 2010
Nearly three decades old, covered with maple boogers, leaves and acid rain ... and it still runs.

Nearly three decades old, covered with maple boogers, leaves and acid rain ... and it still runs.

Wow. Color me amazed. I hear that the temps are dipping down to 19 tonight and I think, “Hm, probably be smart to run the ’83 Toyota in for a quick check of its vital bodily fluids,” since it mostly lives out its miserable life snoozing beside the curb in front of Chez Dog.

The problem with my little scheme will be starting the old girl, which lately is about as easy as doing the people’s business in Congress. So I break out the portable jump-start system and give ’er a whirl.

Nothing. Zip. Nada. Niente. I could’ve brought a six-pack of monsters to life with the juice I poured into this thing and sent them all to Washington, D.C., to kick ass. Lord, this battery is truly fucked. And it’s not brand new, but neither is it particularly old. Out it comes.

I drag the misbegotten sonofabitch over to Advance Auto Parts on Nevada, from whence it came, fully expecting to have to buy a new one. The place is a madhouse. A businesslike young dude tells me the battery seems OK, if a bit undercharged, and says he’ll pop it into his charger and give it another look-see in about a half hour.

So I go home and give the battery clamps a good scouring because as an auto mechanic, it’s all I’m really qualified to do. I’m thinking, “Uh, huh, the battery’s gonna test out fine, so I probably need new cables, or a new starter motor,” mentally tallying the cost of maintaining a 27-year-old carbureted 4WD rice-grinder that I use about as often as Rush Limbaugh does what serves him for a brain.

But when I return the young dude has run a battery of complicated tests on the thing and declares it a miracle of modern science, leaking magnetism, black magic and voodoo and probably creating a singularity under my hood every time I turn the key, which explains the voices emanating from the radio, if not my head.

And he gives me a brand-new battery. Free of charge.

Thus the White Tornado is powered, oiled, greased and lubed, its elderly cooling system’s loins warmly girded against midnight engine-block explosions due to plummeting temperatures. Another fiscal tragedy averted.

And a man needs a truck, truly, if only to haul his fat ass around.


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