The third largest vehicle manufacturer in the world, building one car every 20 seconds and with a cumulative global output of nearly 100 million vehicles.

The company's origins stretch back as far as 1918 when Sakichi Toyoda invented an automatic weaving loom which revolutionised the Japanese weaving industry. Toyoda's son, Kiichiro Toyoda sold his father's patent to a British company and used the proceeds to invest in the upcoming industry of automotive manufacture. In 1936 Toyota launched their first production passenger car and within 12 months this became the sole trade of the company, which was renamed the Toyota Motor Company. Toyota started exporting its vehicles in 1950, and by 1959 they opened their first factory outside Japan. Today they are the 7th largest company in the world, with interests in construction, ship building and telecommunications as well as motor vehicles.

Truly a global mega-corporation, they have assembly lines in 26 countries around the world covering Europe, North and South America and Asia, and annual turnover exceeds $100 billion.

Ahh... the smell of your first automobile. It's awful. Dad's old cigar smoke had seeped it's way into the seats on my new-to-me 1993 Toyota pickup. I went to Walmart. I purchased "Big Fresh: Spring Breeze" in the blue bottle and proceeded to fumigate the interior. Aside from the smell (which subsided after a few weeks), my baby was grand in all it's splendor.

Nearly 17 feet in length and taller than a 16-year old male, me, it was big, black and menacing. Over the years, it had obtained a few accessories. One fateful day, while looking at country land, a Sunday driver caused a 3 car pileup infront of my father. Too-small disc brakes up front couldn't stop the beast in time and he ended up in the bed of another pickup truck. After this, dad decided he didn't need bigger brakes, he needed a bigger bumper. And that is how the ARB bumper was fashioned to the frame.

Some background on ARB: ARB is a company out of Australia that makes steel and aluminum bumpers for cars and trucks. Most of the time, all they will do battle with is the occasional kangaroo, but they are built to withstand much more. Allow me to elaborate. 1/16" steel is cut into pieces and welded together, powdercoated, and then it is bolted to the frame and welded in place. This is not the sissy light holder mounted to some plastic piece on your mommy's Blazer. (Sigh) I miss that bumper.

Given to me in haste to shut my mouth about needing a car, the Toy, as it would come to be called was nothing of the sort. 31" tires and a 4WD lowrange that has pulled many things out of the ditch (foremost, a 25 foot sailboat). Everything was black. From the ARB bumper to the tinted windows, she was invisible at night. While driving it to Wyoming one summer, mom complained the headlights weren't bright enough. I blame it on her poor eyesight, but the problem was solved with Sylvania H4 halogen headlights with a maximum blinding wattage of 100W.

It looked good, but it sounded bad. Stereo. This was my area of expertice. In went a Pioneer DEH-1000, top of the line at the time, along with Kenwood 6.5" rears and 4" fronts. Alas, it wasn't loud enough to overcome highway noise. Two 8" subwoofers displaced any rear seat room that ever existed(it never did).

140,000 miles: something finially breaks. After nearly a year and a half of pounding by an abusive driver (me), one of the transmission mounts cracked. Cost: $40 to re-weld. 143,000 miles: origonal factory exhaust finially gave in to the cruel Wisconsin winter replaced at a cost of $22.

In the end, it just wasn't fast enough for me, I acted out of jealousy of my friend's newly acquired Mustang GT and sold it. And that, ladies and gents, is how my '93 Toyota came to me, was loved, and discarded.

Author's note: Now i own a 1993 Nissan Maxima it's nice, faster and roomier, but given the chance, I would snap up any Toyota truck I could afford. 144,000 miles and still going strong? I only wish GM could say that for it's products.

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