The first time we saw Little Red, our 1990 Toyota Pickup, the exhaust system grasped for life, and the fenders were transparent from corrosion. The rear bumper, defaced by copper-colored rust, sported a host of stickers affixed by a paddling enthusiast (“Canadian paddlers kick-ass,” read one). The cracked windshield welcomed the incessant rains of the Pacific Northwest inward, where the seats, carpet, and dashboard looked (and smelled) of mildew and mold.
My husband Richard popped open the hood and was intrigued by the 22RE—these engines were highly regarded but were becoming a rarity, even back in 2013. He turned the key in the ignition. The truck fired up immediately. The air reeked of unburned hydrocarbons, but the Pickup’s solid frame and body offered a glimmer of hope. It was apparent that this vehicle had good bones.
As for the ride, Richard tells me that as he toured his hometown of Powell River, British Columbia, the bench-seat springs imprinted into his backside, the speedometer cable squeaked, and the wheel bearing was so loose that it creaked over every bump in the road. Prior to our possession of the truck, a local plumbing company used it for hauling equipment, including 300-pound heat pumps, copper pipe, and scrap metal. By the time we laid eyes on it, the truck’s odometer read 321,251 kilometers and every single vital engine sensor had failed. This was the truck we decided to drive to South America.
Our introduction to Overlanding occurred by way of a Dragoman Overland sticker affixed to the wall of an Istanbul hostel in 2012. Next, we familiarized ourselves with travel blogs such as Ruined Adventures, Home on the Highway, and Lost World Expedition. These folks traveled along the Pan-American Highway, from Alaska to Argentina, in old Toyotas, including 1987 4Runners and a 60-series Land Cruiser. Richard’s fond memories of his reliable 1988 4Runner instilled confidence in trucks of that vintage, and our research indicated that parts availability was decent around the globe. So, we sold our 2000 Chevy Silverado and used the funds to build Little Red.
Liberated from a life of weeds and neglect, our Pickup underwent a rapid transformation. Richard replaced Little Red’s stock suspension with an Old Man Emu system, its signature yellow shocks peeking from beneath the rig. He changed the brakes, freshened up the steering components, including tie-rod ends, ball joints, and idler arm. These updates, along with the installation of a fresh 22RE motor built by Disturbed Industries, took place over several weekends. Richard also built a custom Unistrut roof rack in our apartment building’s underground parking area in Vancouver. We topped the rack with an Mt. Bachelor CVT rooftop tent, which we slept in for the first time on the night of our departure south.
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THE LITTLE RED PICKUP THAT COULD
This Backyard-Bound 1990 Toyota Pickup as Been on an Adventure of a Lifetime
ROCK CRAWLING CRUISER
There’s no terrain too tough for is 2007 Toyota FJ Cruiser
CONTINUING A LEGACY
Lexus LX Takes Reign As New Model Land Cruisers Cease To Be Sold In U.S.
OUTDOOR ADVENTURES BY YYOTA
Points To Consider When Building An Adventuremobile
Dicing It Up With The Snow Peak Cutting Board Set L.
SOUTHEASTERN MINITRUCKIN NATIONALS
THE 27TH ANNUAL EVENT ROLLS INTO NORTH CAROLINA
Fantastic the First Time
1959 CHEVY APACHE BODY RESTORATION
SHOWOFF SERIES STAGE II
NO SHORTAGE OF TEXAS TRUCKS!
This 2016 Chevy Silverado is a Dream Come True for Hector Marmolejo
LANSBURY HAD SECRET KINKY SIDE!
Angela solved crimes for 12 seasons as Jessica Fletcher in Murder, She Wrote
Ride with Purpose
Spending time in the saddle is the best way to build confidence. Richard Winters explains the importance of having purpose every time you walk into the barn and ride your horse.
The Case for Space Billionaires
What critics of the private space race get wrong
Richard MacDonald CONS
What does it mean to be iconic? Surely it is beyond the scope of mere talent or fame and encompasses something that closely resembles an apex of the human experience.
Just three months after Bulgari had unveiled the world's latest thinnest watch, the 1.8-mm Octo Finissimo Ultra (Ref. 103611), Richard Mille set a new world record with the RM UP-01 Ferrari (in 2021, Ferrari and Richard Mille had announced a multi-year partnership agreement).
A CHIP OFF THE OLD (KARATE) BLOCK
IT'S NOT EASY BEING THE SON OF A FAMOUS SPORTS FATHER. FOR EVERY PEYTON AND ELI MANNING, THE SONS OF NFL QUARTERBACK ARCHIE MANNING WHO FOUND MASSIVE SUCCESS IN THE SAME SPORT AS THEIR DAD, THERE'S A JEFFREY OR MARCUS JORDAN, THE SONS OF BASKETBALL LEGEND MICHAEL JORDAN WHO DID NOT. RICHARD AVERY PLOWDEN IS DECIDEDLY IN THE FORMER CATEGORY.
RICHARD SIMMONS The Truth ABOUT HIS DISAPPEARANCE
THE BELOVED FITNESS GURU BREAKS HIS SILENCE AFTER VANISHING FOR EIGHT YEARS
A Rural Renaissance
Richard Ouellette and Maxime Vandal turn a historic farm in southeastern Quebec into an abundant creative laboratory.
The Waltons SECRETS From the Set
THE CAST REMEMBER THE MAKING OF A BELOVED AMERICAN TELEVISION CLASSIC
Helen Shaw on Richard III ... Lewis Gordon on Stray... Kathryn Van Arendonk on Bill Burr: Live at Red Rocks.