Tag: Toyota

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In every sense.

I’m driving the thing that is not a  redRam 1500 with a Hemi and a touchscreen that I REALLY want car to the office. Around the corner, I see a parked Camry with a critical ass implosion. It’s like my neighbors’ kids after one of their constant DR calls.  Plus it’s a Camry: a crash is an improvement.

camry crash
oddly familiar

But I keep driving. Slowly. The debris field around the car is unsettling.  Then I remember.  I know this story.  I lived it.  It’s actually never that far out of mind.

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We’re starting a new series, mostly at Drive-By Shootings, called “Go Fence Yourself.”  We’ve been exploring the barren Martian wasteland of Phoenix, lately.  What better time than high summer, right?  In beautiful South Phoenix and Maryvale, EVERYTHING has a fence.  Industrial park parking lots top their chain link fences with razor wire.  That’s how we say GTFO “welcome!”

Or cinder block, for a hearty handshake to go with your welcome
Or on top of cinder block, for a hearty ass kicking opaque handshake to go with your “Go Die” “welcome.”

What also dots the bombed out apocalypse of post-industrial, forgotten Phoenix is junkyards.  Some are official businesses, some are hoards, some are parts bins for the unlicensed dealers selling frankenstein-like, cobbled together deathtraps on Craigslist.  We even started a new blog dedicated to the fences themselves (because focusing is hard and the cars come out all blurry).

Inside the fences, there are stories told in sheet metal.  Sometimes, too, there are prizes.  (Sometimes there are just booby prizes.)  Here are a few examples of the former:

A Toyota Corona 1900

Toyota Corona 1900
When “Made In Japan” meant dead in a year.

A Hudson Hornet (maybe)? There’s a whole slew of Porky’s jokes, especially considering the sketchy desolate neighborhood of warehouses and strip joints where we found it.

Hudson Hornet?
Porky fell on hard times…

Sometimes, the prizes still run. (Or fly.)

1967 Ford Thunderbird
Red = Win.  Every time.

We invite you to drop by the other joints for more.

And I’m being serious here. If any of you have ever looked at an old Toyota Hiace (Toyota “Van” in the US) from the 80’s and 90’s,  in all its angular and absolutely diabolically ugly glory, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.

toyota van
They should have called it the Chariot, like on Lost in Space.  Then shot it into a black hole.

First of all, can anyone explain to me how that aesthetic disaster made it past the first stage of development? Anyone? No? Didn’t think so. The Hiace looks like something I’d scribble onto a napkin at Wendy’s as a joke for my buddies to laugh at, but apparently one of the brilliant engineers thought this vehicle was comparable to the artistic prowess of the Mona Lisa or the statue of David.

Well, I’m here to tell you that it’s not anywhere close to either of these and it belongs on the wall of shame at every Toyota factory on this planet. Hell, we should also shoot flyers into space warning extraterrestrial life not to make the same mistake that humanity did by allowing this vehicle to be built.

But I digress….

Yes, Toyota used to build some damn ugly cars. That’s not a secret. But how about now? Have they cleaned up their act? I would assume after the team that drew up the diagrams for the Hiace was exiled to Siberia to ponder the atrocity they cast onto this earth, Toyota hired some talented guys for a change, because the cars they’re coming out with now are actually pretty nice.

That little Toyota Camry is an mpg machine, the Corolla is alright too, and the Prius is actually one of the better looking hybrid cars out there right now. Once the prices drop a bit, I’d actually consider owning a Prius, because I’ve always wanted to bring my Macbook to Starbucks to pretend to type up a novel while sipping on a coffee with a fancy name, I just don’t have a hip enough vehicle to do it.

One final but solid point: Toyota used to have a lineup of vehicles that were as ugly as sin itself, but they have cleaned up their act and now produce some nice looking cars. If I told you that I wanted to purchase a Toyota ten or twenty years ago, you would have laughed in my face and stole my car just for being a jackass. But now, I could actually have a meaningful discussion about Toyota, end with a thought about buying a Corolla or something, and not have to run away from a car snob mob holding torches and pitchforks.

Isn’t the modern car scene awesome? You bet it is.

Picture 857

Discount Cab 735, 9 a.m.  Thomas and 16th St.:  Hmmm… I am a male in desperate need of enhancement, but this cell phone call to 1-900-be-an-ass has left me feeling empowered despite my other shortcomings.

Traffic:  Hey look!  We’re all backed up.

Discount Cab 735:  This looks like a job for someone whose brain requires enhancement too.  That’s me!!

*cuts off harmless commuter in red Mustang in the inside lane*

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  1. Priuses suck gas like you wouldn’t believe. I had the GF’s car to use for the long weekend. Saturday I fill it up. 8 bars on the gas gauge. 1 80 mile trip to the airport, a 30 mile trip to the kid’s house and a 20 mile trip to the airport later and it is down to 3 bars. WTF? That would be < 1/2 a tank in my car, and it IS a pig.
  2. So long Bill Callahan. Buffs beat down the huskers. “Interim” AD “Dr.” Tom Osborne is so incensed that Callahan lost to a team he refused to concede was even a rival to NU that he fires the dude before Bugs Bunny cartoons even started on Saturday morning.
  3. TiVo. I finally have it, Superstar. No more Cox HD DVR. No more QWEST “Well it takes one box for your regular cable and DSL, and another box for your HD, but we don’t have a DVR and that HD TiVo you bought won’t work with our stuff anyway.”
  4. Thanksgiving = hot wings. Screw Turkey.
  5. Level 47 on Warcraft. This is what geeks do when GFs are out of town.
  6. Had tickets to 49ers @ Cards. I was a no show in favor of setting up TiVo and home networks and all that. So, what do the Cards do because I wasn’t there? Open the roof. Fuckers.
  7. To recap: Buffs rock. Lions, Cards and Broncos can all kiss my ass.

In our last episode, the Mustang of Destiny had obliterated the signature vehicle of the New Chrysler corporation: The Dodge Ram 1500 (15 more hp, supposedly). Yesterday, victim no. 2

Rest of planet: but wait, Dr. G. She is ahead of you.
Dr. G: What’s your point? It’s not 1980 Mustang 255 vs. Honda Civic.

OK, so if you want to get all technical, I did get briefly 1/2 beat out-accelerated by a Prius. Here is why it’s still a kill:

  • I stopped accelerating somewhere around the speed limit. She didn’t.
  • I spun my tires at the start, which was taken up as a challenge; I wasn’t really trying, and I sort of toyed with her. She’s the one that wanted to race, so I let her think she won. (Also, there is usually a cycle cop around there – you go ahead and flush him out, miss)
  • I beat her to the next light anyway.

If you ain’t first, you’re last – Ricky Bobby

So there. Suck it, 7 year old Prius.

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