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#20 1990 Toyota Pickup


(This blog is part of a series looking at cars that I have had on track. It does not encompass all of the ones I've had the privilege to drive but these were the ones that stood out for one reason or another)


Ok, so first of all, this isn't the picture of the actual truck I ran but it's pretty close. It was a 1990 Toyota pickup, 2.4 litre in-line 4 cylinder, with a big chrome toolbox in the back and mag wheels that I bought from a local dealer in Mountain Home, Idaho when I was stationed at the local Air Force base.

Originally I bought it for its utility but it always seemed to be full of surprises - one of the first being that after I had bought the truck, I realized that face to the stereo was missing so I went back to the dealer to get it (I hadn't even thought about the stereo when I test drove it). So I get the stereo face and put it on. As I'm slowly starting to head out of the dealer's driveway, I hit the power button and BOOM! Actually it was more like BOOM, BOOM, BOOM with the concussion hitting me square in the back!


I turned the stereo down and drove down the street to the nearest convenient parking lot. I stopped the truck, unlatch the bench seat back and push it forward to reveal a huge amp and two 12 inch speakers. It had great sound but I never did turn the stereo up, my ears couldn't take it.


Anyway, I'm getting ready to change assignments so I decide that a great way to make sure that this little pickup was ready for the long trip ahead of me would be to put it through its paces in an autocross. There was one on base so it was super convenient too.


At that time, most of my experience was in autocrosses but I had never been to an event with that particular club and certainly not with a pickup truck.


I cleaned everything out of the truck but the big aluminum toolbox, which rested its sides on the bed's side body panels and was very clearly visible, was bolted to the body so it stayed and, surprisingly, passed the tech inspection for the event.


I wait for my turn and hop in the truck. Out I go and it is quite a long course that has been set up, and fast! While autocrosses are supposed to keep speeds down to 60 MPH or below, I found a sweet spot with that little truck that I could squeeze through the gates just right so that I was well into 3rd gear and hitting 80-ish in that one spot on my first run.


I pull into the pit and head over to check my time. I look and I'm pretty impressed that the little truck did so well.


That's when I hear, "What?!?!? A guy in a pickup beat me?!?!"


I didn't say a word just figuring that this guy was going to complain to the officials that the timer was off or something so I went on my way.


I do my second run and trim a little more time off as I'm getting used to the truck.


I check my time and this time I hear "What the hell?!? There is no way a Toyota pickup can beat a Porsche 928!" (For those who are unfamiliar, the Porsche 928 was, I believe, the only front engine V8 sports car bearing the Porsche badge at the time)


I chuckle to myself and think "fights on!"


I go out for the third run and trim another half a second off my time. Again I go to the timing board to check how I did and I hear "That's it, if I can't beat that f-ing pickup, I'm selling my car, first $1000 gets it!"


Well, of course, I now know I must throw caution to the wind. I pull up to the start line for my forth and final run. The flagger gives me the go and I'm off, and I'm doing everything I can think of to get all I can out of the little pickup. I'm going so fast that in the section where I was in 3rd gear, I'm almost going to have to grab 4th because I'm about to hit the red line when I go through the timing light.


I park the truck and head to the timing board. I'm another 3 tenths of a second quicker so I stay and wait just to see what's going to happen.


Mr. 928 comes over, visibly irritated, and looks at the board. His expression quickly changes and he starts smiling "Yes!!!" is all he says.


I look at the timing board - he beat me by 1 tenth of a second...

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