I had to get myself out to the hospital pharmacy yesterday so started the bB for the first time in ages and drove myself there (some 35KM) with my left hand operating the footbrake pedal via a walking stick, some Meccano and a spot of luck in that this arrangement worked really well, largely thanks to the fact that the bB's larger brake pedal requires ridiculously little effort to stand the thing on its nose and that the smaller parking brake pedal wouldn't be needed as the parking pawl in the gearbox works just fine, left foot on the accelerator of course, as I often do this when necessary and am used to it.
Unsurprisingly, the smaller Toyota started without any bother, completed its task in equally undramatic fashion and generally drove in a way that makes it hard to believe that this car has now covered some 188000+ KM (you can just make out the odometer reading in the photo, taken from inside the car) and that I've owned it for five years now. It's actually the only vehicle I've ever owned that has never, not even slightly, let me down, only ever needing its services and a new aircon compressor in the 70000+ KM that I've covered in it since 2016. The engine never ceases to surprise the chap who does the bulk of the service work at the Toyota specialist's place as it always drops the same amount of Mobil 1 5w30 at an oil change as was poured into it at the previous one, no thick oil needed for this one as it ages, that's what happens when a manufacturer assembles the engine properly at the time of the car's build. Sometimes, when I've just switched it off, I hear gurgling sounds from the engine bay, but the resulting panic is short lived when I remember that this phenomenon comes about as a result of my forgetting to switch the air conditioning off before switching the engine off.
Phew, cooling system still doing its job then!
As for the "new" Toyota, it's a bit of fun that's an interesting alternative to the manufacturer's own Land Cruiser Amazon, whose body is neither more nor less than a wider version of the Surf's hardly slender one. The Land Cruiser, HiAce 4x4 and pickup versions of the HiLux all share components such as chassis, suspension (with various differences over the years), engine ranges available and much of the electrical stuff, so parts are inexpensive, freely available - exceptionally so for a grey import - and invariably easy to fit as required, with the exception of the van's engine bay area, where the cab seats are where the bonnet is on the Surf.
I'm liking the way that this mahoosive old thing drives too. It's not as refined on road as a Series 1 Discovery, this in spite of the Toyota's independent front suspension, but it's not far off the Disco's levels of off road ability and at 24 years of age, and in spite of having come to the UK in 2003, this addition to my fleet has a most un- Discovery 1 like amount of body rust. There must be some, but as yet I haven't found it and that massive chassis is unwelded, though did pick up an MOT issue on a very Discovery like spot of corrosion in the steel sleeves that go through the centre of a couple of its body mounts, even though, again much as is true of many S1 Discos, the chassis itself is unwelded and not showing any signs of needing to be repaired any time this decade. At 263000 KM, the interior of my new toy is remarkably clean and undamaged, with the exception of a couple of boulder burns to the driver's seat, easily addressed by a spot of upholstery fettling involving taking tiny patches from the folded over edges of the seat base cover and stitching them into the holes. The interior isn't yellowed and doesn't stink of smokeing, so how that came about remains a mystery, but again, on interior durability, this thing is at least a match for a similarly high mileage Disco such as the one I owned.
Would I swap this for an equally well preserved and dependable 300TDI automatic (or a 200, but they're getting pricey now and tend to be saved by enthusiasts rather than driven into the ground as feed vehicles for the local hill farmers during the winter)? Of course I would! But the fact is that the HiLux is a very fine device in its own right so the chances of my owning another Disco are pretty remote, even though my 298000KM imported one was a very dependable thing and being a Japanese example, rust free if rather scruffy on the outside as well as assembled properly from the kit by the Japanese importer when it was new.
Would I swap the new 4x4 for anything other than another Toyota or a Disco 300TDI auto? Not bloody likely, I'm done with buying stuff on a whim and getting away with it.