The Million Mile Tundra
Today’s world is definitely a throwaway society. If something breaks, we don’t usually fix it. We just throw it out. There was a time when cars were like that too. Many would argue that American cars in the 90s and early 2000s were built to fail. Reliable Japanese imports took over as they seemed to never break, and were cheap to fix when they did. Thankfully, times have changed for the most part, and cars are generally built to last again.
However, most people still will not drive a vehicle over 150,000 miles for fear of them breaking or because they “need” the latest and greatest. That was not the case for Victor Sheppard who purchased his 2007 Tundra with a 4.7L V8 from LeBlanc Toyota in Louisiana. Sheppard told the general manager that he was going to put 1,000,000 miles on it. Long story short, he did just that by 2016.
One million miles is crazy enough, but this Tundra did it on the original engine, transmission, and paint! Since this was quite a momentous occasion, what did Sheppard do? He sold it. The buyer? Toyota! They also gave him a brand new Tundra to make up for his loss.
Why did Toyota buy the high mileage truck? They wanted to dissect it. Toyota wanted to know what their product looked like after 1,000,000 miles. They took it apart piece by piece. Teams studied everything from the pistons to the seats.
Toyota dynoed the engine and they said it performed even better than the new engines off the line. They tore the engine down and found it nearly impeccable. The truck drove extremely well for the miles on it. The frame had no rust, the leaf springs were in near perfect shape despite heavy loads hauled frequently, and the driver seat (which was even shipped to Japan for inspection) only had a slight tear in it. Every bit of the truck was taken down, inspected, and logged.
To say that is this an incredible story is an understatement. If you drive a Tundra, I think I can say that you’re in good hands.
All Images Courtesy of MotorTrend