Rolling over…

Early in the commute this afternoon, Big Red’s odometer rolled over 100,000 miles. That’s not quite as big a deal with these fancy new vehicles as it was say with a 1986 Oldsmobile Cutlass, but it’s a personal milestone for me. It’s the first time I’ve ever held on to a car long enough to rack up that kind of mileage.

It’s one of the few times in life I can honestly say I’m not really even interested in looking for a new car (though I wouldn’t say no if someone dropped a Ferrari or a Koenigsegg in the driveway). I thoroughly enjoy driving this over sized red beast of mine. Sure, she’ll never sip fuel like a Prius and there’s the occasional rattle of indeterminate origin, but I just plain like the old girl. I don’t suppose it hurts that she’s bought and paid for either.

It’s inevitable that at some point something new and shiny will catch my interest and replace Big Red as the objective of my automotive affection. Until then, though, I think I’ll be perfectly content traveling the highways and byways in my Tundra/living room on wheels and watching the Smart cars scurry out of my way.

The payoff…

I could weave a yarn about doing the right thing and everything working out or how sometimes being kind is it’s own reward, but that would be so out of character that no one would believe it anyway. No, I’m going for “payoff” in a much more literal sense. As in I have a big red truck and it’s paid off. A few months ahead of schedule.

That’s a surprisingly big deal for me. There was a while there between 2002-2010 when I was swapping out rides every two years or so. Hanging on to one this long is something that hasn’t since I was knocking around in the old trusty Wrangler. Of the seven cars I’ve bought on my own, if memory serves this is only the second that survived long enough to see the note vanquished before I was ready to test my luck with something different.

Fact is, five years on I still like my big red Toyota. I like the room, the ride, and the fact that everything is basically worn in the way I want it. It’s the automotive equivalent to comfy couch. At this point I don’t even mind that it’s a thirsty, thirsty beast – of course that bit is variable based on the prevailing price at the pump.

I’m not fool enough to think there will never be another vehicle in the garage, but just now I’m more than content with a little extra cash flow and letting the Tundra live out her golden years right where she is.

The taming of the American truck…

Note: Over in the “About” tab, I once promised that this wasn’t going to be a place you’d necessarily want to come to hear a discussion about “how big my engine is.” I hope you’ll forgive this one small exception to policy without demanding that I redefine the blog, its purpose statement, or who I am as a writer.

I’ve driven two Fords over the years. The first was a ’68 Torino GT with a 302 cubic inch (4.9L) small block V8 and 210 horses under the hood. The second was a 2006 Mustang GT with a 4.6L V8 and 300 horses. Of course I realize nether of those are trucks, but they do speak to my general taste in engine size and configuration. My current ride is a truck (though not a Ford) and it weighs in at 5.7L and 381 horsepower. Sure, the gas mileage in all three of these V8 wonders was crap, but they all had just a little more “go” to give every time I put my foot to the floor and that made every fuel stop worth the few extra dollars it cost.

Now I see Ford is in the process of neutering the venerable F-150 line, offering a paltry 2.7L V6 for the green-nicks who for some reason want a full sized truck that’s also profoundly underpowered. Ford’s only V8 offering will be their 5.0L, turning 360 horse. It’s a fine engine, but not what you expect in a class of truck that use to sport 6.2L and 411 horses. And certainly not the size engine I’d want under the hood of my truck.

Maybe the days of the throaty, powerful V8 engine are doomed as the world seems happy enough to putter around in underpowered 2.something liter rattle traps. If that’s the case, the Tundra and I are going to be acquainted for a long time to come, because I’ll run it until the floorboards rust through before I think that dropping a baby V6 into a full sized vehicle is a good idea. Fuel efficiency is well and good and smaller cars absolutely have a place in the fleet, but for the sake of all that’s holy can we please not turn all our trucks into Rangers and S-10’s?