By on September 18, 2012

Electioneering is redlining. One indicator: The Michigan Republican Party is protesting loudly against an improbable stunt: A Toyota Tundra will pull the retired space shuttle Endeavor to its final resting place at the California Science Center (CSC). This has the Reps up in arms: “”Barack Obama acts as if he single handedly built the U.S. domestic auto industry, meanwhile, a symbol of American greatness will be towed to its final resting place by a foreign competitor, forever cementing the image of a Toyota truck towing a retired space shuttle,” Matt Frendewey, director of communications for the Michigan Republican Party, told the Detroit News.

Aside from the politics, the DetN saw a technical problem: The Shuttle and its, well, trailer, weighs close to 300,000 pounds. A Tundra has a maximum towing capacity of 10,100 pounds. Toyota fed the DetN the story that it developed “a dolly specifically for hauling the Endeavor.”

Commenters to the DetN story immediately engaged in a brawl of donkeys against elephants. At Space.com, they are a bit more skeptic.  Officially, the Endeavour will travel from LAX to the Science Center by way of the “four self-propelled, multi-axle vehicles” that were originally used to move the shuttles. On the last quarter mile, the Endeavour “will be towed using a Tundra CrewMax half-ton pickup, identical to 2012 models currently found in Toyota dealerships, with no additions to increase towing capacity or provide more power,” says Toyota.

Commenters at Space.com think that the Tundra will receive assistance from the multi-axle vehicles in the shuttle schlepp. Other commenters hope this is not true. We have asked Toyota whether the Tundra will do it under its own power. We’ll let you know what they say if they say it.

The Reps say that “the symbolism of this PR stunt should be offensive to every red-blooded American with vested interest in the success of the U.S. automotive industry.”

I guess if  Ford, GM, or Chrysler would have paid for the honor of the last pull, American blood would not have to boil over. (We also asked how much Toyota paid, and do not expect an answer on that.)

The mud-slinging misses a more important, but also less black and white (or make that red and blue) issue:  With the Shuttles heading to museums, the resupply of the International Space Station goes into private hands, those of Orbital and SpaceX. SpaceX is headed by Elon Musk, who is also the CEO of Tesla.  Tesla is partially owned by – oops – Toyota, which invested $50 million into the company, and which contracted the powertrain of the electric RAV4 from Tesla.

And the answers are in …  Toyota Motors Sales chief spokesman Mike Michels says  ..

On the pulling: “Yes, the Tundra will pull by itself. The majority of the transit will be aboard a self-propelled mover. For the last block or two to the Science Center it will be transferred to special dollies for the approach to the facility and the Tundra will tow it.”

On the money: “No payment was made for this event. As a member of the Southern California Community since 1957, Toyota has been a supporter of the California Science Center from the very beginning.”

On the hubbub: “SoCal is our hometown where we employ approximately 6000 people, and we are honored to be able to be part of this event.”

Toyota has been a supporter of the California Science Center for 20 years and is providing financial support for Phase 3 of the center. No stand-alone payment for the truck-pull has been made, says Michels.

Toyota U.S. sometimes (only half jokingly) calls itself “California’s largest car company.” The Tundra is an All-American effort with an American Chief Engineer. The truck is produced in the heart of truck country, Texas, from where the Tundra is exported to all parts of the world. Even the folks at Toyota Japan concede that the Tundra “was an American idea.” Calling it offensive to every red-blooded American is a disgrace.

 

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97 Comments on “Toyota Pulls A 300,000 Lbs Stunt, Reps Fume. Toyota: We Pull It Alone...”


  • avatar
    philadlj

    Frankly, a Mitsubishi Endeavor would have been a more appropriate choice…

    Also, I hate to point this out, but the “red-blooded” American Space Shuttle had a Canadian-made robotic arm.

    NASA may have been about beating the Russkies to the moon, but now that that’s over with, I’ve always thought of it as one of the few examples of America and modern Russia still getting along and collaborating, irregardless of all the bluster from the Kremlin.

  • avatar
    jaje

    It is made in America (final assembly and majority is in San Antonio, TX) and IIRC it has higher US made content than any other pickup sold in the US (supposedly 80% US parts content versus 75% which next highest was the F150). Plus Toyota was willing to pay top dollar to get this opportunity.

    • 0 avatar
      billfrombuckhead

      In the non publicity stunt world, the new 2013 Ram truck gets 3 more combined mpg than the V6 automatic Tundra and even beats the 4 cylinder Tacoma automatic 25 to 24 in highway gas mileage. I guess when pushing an obsolete product one must resort to gimmicks. At least now in truck gas mileage, USA crushes JapanInc. http://www.fueleconomy.gov

      BTW, Canada and Mexico buy a lot of Ford, GM, Ram trucks and other American vehicles unlike the Japanese where even Korea had to withdraw from their market. An yes, Ram is Canada’s longest lasting truck. http://www.ramtruck.ca/en/

      • 0 avatar
        KixStart

        Is the new Ram a product of building to the test? Some years ago, Motor Trend (I think) ran a shootout between the Silverado, Tundra, Titan and maybe the Ford. The Silverado looked good on the EPA dyno but it was defeated in the test. There was an interesting technical writeup about it, too.

        Similarly, the Terrain and Equinox sport very good EPA numbers but real-world use looks disappointing (Fuelly.com). The CR-V beats them by 4mpg or so.

        If Chrysler can beat the compeition by that margin, good for them. But I’m going to wait for something besides the EPA numbers before I agree the Ram is the real deal.

      • 0 avatar
        Dan

        +1 Kixstart.

        A more thorough job of gaming the treadmill test is only a selling point to people who don’t know where the window sticker comes from.

      • 0 avatar
        200k-min

        bill, are you on the Dodge payroll or just a fanboii?

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    At least it wasn’t a Great Wall.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    Where was this moron when all these auto jobs went to Mexico?

  • avatar
    ajla

    Several posters on RV.net will have an aneurysm after reading this.

    FWIW, the top tow rating on the Tundra is actually 10,400. That requires a 4×2 Reg. cab long box. The top tow rating on the CMax is 9900.

  • avatar
    lw

    Max towing capacity of 10,100 pounds is the best the Detroit News can come up with? Could they at least call an engineer and talk for 2 minutes to find out that the towing number is irrelevant?

    How much can a Tundra tow safely at 65 miles per hour up or down the steepest grade found in the US? That would be roughly 10,000 pounds.

    How much can a Tundra safely tow at 1 mile per hour on a flat surface with trailer brakes that will probably stop both the load and the truck? 500,000? 1,000,000? Who knows….

    • 0 avatar
      Feds

      Wait, what? So maximum tractive effort is not an indication of total power output? Heresy! BURN HIM!!!

      Archimedes would be pissed if he could read this!

      Also, and I’m just saying here, aren’t these trucks built by 100% Red Blooded Republicans (statistically speaking), deep in the heart of the separatist Republic of Texas?

      • 0 avatar
        Feds

        Fuck. I didn’t hit the speel cheque on Archimedes. Typos make fools of us all.

      • 0 avatar
        korvetkeith

        I just calculated a 4wd Tundra’s theoretical maximum tractive effort with unlimited traction.

        29,600lbs

        That’s assuming a TC multiplication of 2.5x to max torque RPM (not realistic with stock TC). 401 TQ, 3.52 1st, 4.3 Axle, 2.618 Tcase, 32.2″ tall tire. It’s more likely about 2/3 of that number.

        Maybe if I get super board I’ll assume I know the rolling resistance of the space shuttle trailer, not right now though.

      • 0 avatar
        Hank

        They’re built in San Antonio. Check a red/blue electoral map from the 2008 presidential election and surprise yourself (and others). Every major city in Texas but Ft. Worth voted for Obama.

        http://bit.ly/Obm5sZ

    • 0 avatar
      chuckrs

      A shuttle weighs 85 tons give or take. Less once you take out the motors, etc. The trailer must be about as heavy as the shuttle.

      Here’s a video that shows it ain’t no biggie – a strongest man plane pull

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tls-Jli6eQE

      333000 lbs. Harnessed up around the waist. But he kinda cheated with a pull rope as well – otherwise couldn’t get traction – chassis is 2wd only.

    • 0 avatar
      SuperACG

      Yes, a Touareg V10 TDI did a similar stunt by pulling a Boeing 747 the length of a runway. There were no modifications to the powertrain, and the truck simply crawled the entire length.

      The truck did have sandbags, or some kind of weight over the axles to keep it planted, though.

  • avatar
    fredtal

    Aren’t we in some kind of debt crises and all this politician can cry about is a stupid PR stunt. Oh wait I forgot it’s an election year.

    • 0 avatar
      KixStart

      In general I agree with you but, to be perfectly fair, the job of the Chair of the Republican Party, unless he also holds some elective office besides, is to boost the fortunes of the Republican party.

      Of course, if his best plan is to whine about a publicity stunt by an auto manufacturer that does, in fact, employ lots of US citizens in the building of this truck, then I’m thinking the Republican Party is about to fall on hard times.

      • 0 avatar
        Robert.Walter

        Although he didn’t say it, I suppose this is his only way to try to gain traction with UAW members, who, incidentally, his party would have been happy to see unemployed.

        Bitc£ing about a vehicle built by a company that didn’t take bailout funds, built by non union labor, is completely the opposite of the meme themes of the republican party and stupidly duplicitous…

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I’m sure the chairman is whining here because he will later be able to go back and point out how he ‘defended the domestics’ when its time for donations from the Big Three.

        Michigan Republicans have probably been in hard times for years in their state, but if you look at what forty plus years of Democratic control has done to downtown Detroit, leaving Democrats in power for too long is far more dangerous than voting in a Republican now and then.

      • 0 avatar
        Tinker

        Not to mention all those Latinos, down there building the trucks, a major part of the San Antonio populace.

        (They are all part of the 47% that Mitt holds in contempt.)

        They will change the face of Texas politics, in the next 20 years, as their kids get older.

  • avatar
    KixStart

    The really interesting part of the exercise may be the dolly. To get 300K lbs moving, they’re going to want very low friction and static friction. I have to wonder if Toyota is building something interesting to make it possible to cope with this sort of load.

    • 0 avatar
      lw

      it won’t take much to make this happen. A semi can move a house with the right trailer and a single man can pull a semi with his teeth.

      This is a parlor trick designed to amaze those without basic understandings of physics.

      • 0 avatar
        SuperACG

        Enlighten us, please. I never took physics because I didn’t go into a field which required it.

      • 0 avatar
        texan01

        yup, Chevrolet did a similar trick in the 30s with an 85hp six cylinder car pulling the Burlington Northern Zephyr into the Chicago train station.

        The hardest part is getting it to break static inertia, once thats done, it takes far far less effort to keep it rolling (an object at rest, tends to stay at rest, and an object in motion tends to stay in motion)

  • avatar
    LeeK

    Any stout vehicle can tow a great weight over a flat road for a short distance. A few years ago one of the British TV shows had a VW Touareg towing the Boeing 747 film mule often seen in the background of the Top Gear test track. I believe Toyota wouldn’t have agreed to the stunt unless they were certain their vehicle would be able to perform. It really isn’t a big deal.

    But this is all about politics, isn’t it? If a Dodge/Chevy/Ford truck were involved, this wouldn’t have garnered the same attention.

    • 0 avatar
      KixStart

      And, really, either way, who’s going to care? We see all kinds of “tough truck” ads and basically it devolves to truck porn. It’s entirely predictable and rather boring.

      Jack Baruth wrote something pretty funny about this a while back:
      http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/03/a-spacious-new-home-for-chryslers-pentastar-v-6/

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    …I guess if Ford, GM, or Chrysler would have paid for the honor of the last pull, American blood would not have to boil over. (We also asked how much Toyota paid, and do not expect an answer on that….

    And if GM or Chrysler had “paid” then the endless carping could go on about the waste of bailout dollars. The whole thing is silly.

    The issue is rolling resistance, ONCE its rolling if resistance is low enough a Yugo could pull it as long as it could get enough traction (well OK, more like the Yugo would be pushed along).

    If red blooded Americans want to be pissed off about something – how about budget cuts so deep at NASA that the only way the United States can put a man into space currently is with a thumb in the air and, “will work for Rubles,” sign.

    Oh I know – bloated government – all those college educated white collar engineering jobs that were created. Well, at least they can find work in China, if security clearances allow.

    Anyway, everyone knows the Nissan Titan is the best pickup out there. ;-)~

    • 0 avatar
      chuckrs

      NASA needs to do more science things like the rovers – Spirit, Opportunity and now Curiosity, and the astronomical satellites – Hubble, Chandra, Webb, and other science programs. They shouldn’t be in the truck business. Been there, done that. Leave it to the Russkies, Orbital, SpaceX and the others.

      edit – the twitter feed of Curiosity is not to be missed – twitter.com/SarcasticRover. Let’s do a science.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      Man in space is past it’s prime… Was necessary because basic technologies were inadequate to the task of doing much on the moon… Once a few trips there were made, the PR and science possibilities were pretty much exhausted.

      The value of ISS is even questionable now.

      The best and more science can be done unmanned…

      • 0 avatar
        KixStart

        Robert.Walter,

        Pretty much true. And even with ’60′s tech, we were able to soft-land probes on the Moon. Had we wanted to, we undoubtedly could have arranged to have a probe scoop up some lunar rocks and soil and bring it back. In fact, the Soviets did just that in 1970 or so. But had we done so, it would have made the Apollo missions look a bit wasteful.

      • 0 avatar
        Zackman

        My air force outfit flew the SR-71 Blackbird. It also used 50′s-60′s tech. Other technologies that doesn’t use fragile humans exist and are being used now.

        Of course, the human flight envelope is still being pushed, but for the most part, pilotless flight is increasingly being used for spy and now even missions in wartime.

      • 0 avatar
        schmitt trigger

        Fully agree with you that unmanned space exploration gives FAR more bang for the buck….No contest.
        Having said that; there are situations where a human in space is required. I’m am thinking for instance, the Hubble Telescope repair missions.
        Therefore, the US should have at least the capability to send humans into space, instead of having to rely on the Russians, which given the volatility of Putin’s actions, could be jeopardized in the future.
        The US government (Reps & Dems alike) allowed the Space Shuttle program to fully dry up without designing even a limited capability backup.

        That issue, not whether a Texas-built Tundra is hauling a retired Shuttle, is the intelligent question that our politicians should be debating.
        Wait…isn’t intelligent politicians an oxymoron?

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Good points schmitt trigger.

    • 0 avatar
      KixStart

      We just landed an extremely sophisticaed robot on Mars, which will do plenty of exploring for us. And we took a picture of it on the way down. NASA is actually pretty awesome.

      We don’t need easily damaged humans in the vacuum to do most of the exploring that needs to be done and we save a great deal of money if we don’t need to recover those easily damaged humans at the end of the mission.

      If we need to fight in space, easily damaged humans in orbit are high value targets that will be very difficult to defend (put a load of buckshot into their orbit but going the other way and that’s the end of that). Except for the oddball stuff, like changing shifts at the pointless space station or occasionally repairing an astronomical telescope, there’s currently not much need for easily damaged humans in space. For that, we can hire a taxi when we need to.

      And SpaceX is an American enterprise, anyway. They’ll eventually launch people.

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      @ Zackman I am unabashed fanboy of the SR-71. I got to observe one taking off when I was going through a school at Offutt AFB. I highly recommend “Skunk Works” by Ben R. Rich and Leo Janos. It may have been old when it was retired but was still ungodly fast.

      • 0 avatar
        Robert.Walter

        I’m also a fan of the Blackbird…

        But like manned spaceflight, it was put out to pasture by the costs demanded of an old tech driven by humans in extreme environments and maneuvers … That and the cost associated with a shortage of parts for the custom engines, and a dedicated fleet of KC-10 tankers stationed around the world with special Blackbird-unique kerosene (not usable by other craft in the fleet,) and the risk of losing pilots, and the efficiency of a fleet of satellites which could give near instantaneous on-demand hi-def imagery.

        No drone pilot ever died from hypoxia, shrapnel, or blacked-out due to G-forces… Two pioneers came from my state, one (Roger Chaffee) risked and gave his life so we could get to the point that allows us to do more by risking and spending less… The other (Kelly Johnson) built bitc£ing aero-hot rods of every conceivable type!

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      The whole NASA vs private space enterprise thing is too complex for me to really fully comprehend the pros vs cons and explain it in a post. I will say though US budget dollars spent on NASA research have yielded things such as Tang and WD-40 as well as pentagon spending for ARPANET led to the modern internet. Spending money to enrich key groups of people with retirement and healthcare yields… absolutely nothing for society at large. If we kick the socialism, more money gets freed up for research and -maybe just maybe- some more of our income gets kicked back to us in tax cuts and credits. But politicians don’t have the incentive or cojones to do what is right.

      • 0 avatar
        Lucky Ducky

        “enrich key groups of people with retirement and healthcare yields… absolutely nothing”

        Are you talking about social security and Medicare? Because both of those programs do a lot of good, and since the recipients spend pretty much all of the funds from those programs domestically the money isn’t “lost” like you make it out to be. It is used to employ millions of people, from grocery baggers to car mechanics to brain surgeons.

        How about instead of choosing between research and the social safety net, we choose both and cut some of our supremely wasteful military spending?

      • 0 avatar
        Zackman

        Tang was already invented before manned space flight, but that popularized the drink.

        @Robert.Walker:

        The SR-71 flew on JP7. It would ignite only under pressure with an assist from a chemical THB. The guys would put out their cigarettes in the JP7, as the plane was a flying fuel tank that leaked like a sieve on the ground, but was tight as a drum in flight!

      • 0 avatar
        Mr Nosy

        @28-Cars-Later-Considering your avatar is the international symbol for Biohazard,you’re aware of the germ theory of disease.”Spending money to enrich key groups…yields nothing to society at large”
        Well if London bigwigs of the early 1660′s had a time machine,or most of the world circa 1918-1920(Why did Dodge end up as part of Chrysler?)they’d beg to differ.Jonas Salk is rolling his eyes.So is much of Sub-Saharan Africa,but that’s from malaria or an AIDS related illness.I could go on,you know.

      • 0 avatar

        Hehe, conflicting stories about WD-40; we were always told it stood for ‘War Department; formula 40′, created by the UK in WWII. But anyway, NASA didn’t make it and its connection to rockets is when Convair bought it in bulk for Atlas fuel tanks. NASA didn’t do no-stick pans either before someone mentions it. Sadly the military has given us more useful crap than endeavors such as NASA.

        Anyway, groups like NASA exist for one reason to the public; to make us go ‘wow’ and inspire people. Who hasn’t watched the moon landings? Or hasn’t been inspired by some great space endeavor? Space should serve to unite humanity in exploration and the quest for knowledge… like that will ever happen!

        And it might seem a waste of resources to give people silly things like healthcare and a retirement… until you need them that is ;-)

        Oh, I too share a love of the SR-71! Fascinating machine, I’ve seen the one at Duxford and yes, it still leaks and creaks to this day.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        @Lucky Ducky

        I was referring more to throwaway money programs such as welfare, section 8 etc where people are rewarded for being unproductive with no time limit, but since you point it out yes SS and medicare as we know it are quite dangerous. We all have ‘contributed’ to these questionable entitlements but I personally will never see any benefit as an early 30s college educated person.

        Fact: The U.S. Social Security program is the largest government program in the world and the single greatest expenditure in the federal budget, with 20.8% for Social Security, compared to 20.5% for discretionary defense and 20.1% for Medicare/Medicaid… so we are already spending double the amount of admittedly dubious defense budget on socialism .

        Fact: The so called trust fund has already been raided and SS payments are made from the general fund, so your SS contributions are in fact general taxes, not something saved in a specific fund.

        Fact: It has already been estimated the gross domestic product of the entire planet cannot pay for the unfunded liabilities of the US gov’t including SS and Medicare.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q-w-8fXzwQE

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_Security_%28United_States%29

        “How about instead of choosing between research and the social safety net, we choose both and cut some of our supremely wasteful military spending?”

        I would much rather pay for a bloated military budget than be speaking Russian or Chinese in my later years.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        @Mr Nosy

        What does socialism have to do with international disease prevention?

        Incidentally… Dr. Jonas Salk worked out of the University of Pittsburgh, a now deceased distant cousin of mine worked as one of his lab assistants in 1953, and my mother later worked at the Watson Home for Crippled Children where Salk did some of his initial trials in 1952.

        Dr. Salk was a true American hero, when he was asked in a television interview who owned the patent to the vaccine, he replied: “There is no patent. Could you patent the sun?”

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jonas_Salk

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        @JackCope

        I wasn’t aware of the origin of WD-40, but I agree the military has provided the consumer a plethora of useful products.

        I maintain people need to take care of themselves with regard to retirement and healthcare. Perhaps I am in the minority, but I could better invest the seven or so percent they steal from my paycheck, heck just buying gold coins and sitting on them for forty years would make better economic sense for the retiree than what they do with my money.

        I worked in the IT end of the healthcare field for six years, the constant stream of funds hospitals collect, is generally speaking, very mismanaged. Many hospitals rely on credit and gov’t funds to keep the doors open… partially because Medicare/Medicaid dictate what they will pay with no negotiation, and partially because of major capital expenses.

        Case in point, there is a facility in Indiana I dealt with who suffered a terrible flash flood in late 2008. Their entire first floor, basement facilities, and pharmacy were ruined, estimates were $100 million. I’m not sure who their carrier was but don’t ya know the insurer decided to cap out at $50 million, they even took it to court and won. I suspect that sort of scenario plays out more than you’d think, and guess what YOU pay for it.

        Make no mistake a hospital is a business but the sad truth is they are not able to operate like one, and adding to the tax burden of the contributing members of society will not make it more inexpensive for all as you may be told.

  • avatar
    Beerboy12

    If GM had thought of this first, some clown would be blathering on about wasted bail out money so… These tiny brained politicians need to build a bridge and get over themselves.
    I think that would be very cool to see this happen and well done to Toyota for being bold.

  • avatar
    mr_muttonchops

    Y’know what we do, instead? Just get a bunch of trucks of different makes and models to pull the thing. The space program has been such a huge, global effort, that you can’t really say its representative of just ONE nation alone. Throw all that political and marketing shit out the window and just be like “FUCK YEAH, HUMAN KIND.”

    [/thread]
    [/needs coffee]

  • avatar
    Speed Spaniel

    I don’t see what’s so terrible about this. Tundras are made in the US. So US auto workers are reaping a pay check so they can go eat at Cracker Barrell after a weekend shopping spree at the local Super Walmart. It doesn’t get any more American than that. That my friends is US Economics 101.

  • avatar
    dejal1

    I surprised that the head of the Texas Republican Party didn’t put a out a press statement stating that it took a product of Texas to do the job.

  • avatar
    nikita

    Toyota is the hometown auto company in Los Angeles, actually Torrance. Honda is here also, but is not as big. While the trucks are built in Texas, HQ and most of the design work is here.

    GM, Ford and Chrysler abandoned auto assembly here decades ago.

    Politics being what it is, especially in an election year, the reaction does not surprise me. Due to California being a sure win for the Dems, sometimes we dont even think much about such things.

    • 0 avatar
      cfclark

      +1. I work in Torrance (not in the auto industry), which has a large population of Japanese-Americans and Japanese expats (not to mention Chinese-Americans, Korean-Americans, and Hawaiian mainland transplants), and know a few people who work for Toyota and other Japanese companies. This is about LA, not the US more broadly. Toyota provides jobs here, more so than the US automakers, and having a Tundra do the towing is a source of local pride, though perhaps American pride.

      There’s far more controversy here about the trees that have had to be cut down to accommodate the Shuttle than about the tow vehicle.

      • 0 avatar
        Steve65

        “There’s far more controversy here about the trees that have had to be cut down to accommodate the Shuttle”

        I was wondering if anybody was going to mention this. I couldn’t care less what’s use to do the tow. But cutting 400 mature trees for this is outrageous. And “we’re going to plant 800 saplings in their place” doesn’t justify it.

      • 0 avatar
        Mr Nosy

        @cfcclark & Steve65-Wouldn’t it be great if they could just round up all the most insufferable actors,reality show employees(I don’t classify them as stars.),and overpaid sports divas, into one giant mule train to pull this space tug,guided by an aging,one legged,snaggle toothed dominatrix from Riverside,cracking a whip while yelling Mush!Mush! For charity,of course.

  • avatar
    ClutchCarGo

    “No payment was made for this event.”

    If any pols want to get bent out of shape by anything, this is what they should be bent about. A major PR stunt, staged for the last few feet of the transfer, and the center gets bupkis? How did they let that happen?

  • avatar
    el scotto

    This is no sillier than the Tundra “Death Spiral of Fire” ads that seem like they were thought up by a 12 year old boy. Why yes, every day I drive up a metal floored spiral that has flames shooting out the sides.

    • 0 avatar
      rpol35

      +1

      Thank God someone finally singled that one out. It has to be the dumbest-a$$ auto ad on TV; just perfect with the crooning “Coyboy Bob” voice-over who sounds like he just dropped a load in his pants.

    • 0 avatar
      billfrombuckhead

      These ad’s make Toyota buyers look very dumb but once again what does the antique Tundra have to brag about? A tailgate that can’t be used as a load platform? Bed Bounce? Rust? Ugliness? Poor materials? And now worse gas mileage than Ford, GM or Ram.

      • 0 avatar
        Macca

        How do these “ad’s” (sic) make Toyota buyers look dumb? I’m not a Toyota owner, but my father-in-law purchased a Tundra and it seems to be a rather solid truck. He didn’t buy it because of its ability to scale flaming metal spirals. I’ve never heard a Tundra owner tout the ‘achievement’ from that commercial. Care to explain your reasoning here?

  • avatar
    dolorean

    “I guess if Ford, GM, or Chrysler would have paid for the honor of the last pull, American blood would not have to boil over.”

    Exactly. Sometimes the Free Market Society that Americans say we all want and is the great equalizer works exactly like its supposed to, not to the way we fantasize; e.g., to the highest bidder goes the spoils. And that corporation (because they’re a person now) appears to be Toyota.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Really its quite ridiculous to see any pickup pull a 300,000lb payload and whomever approved of this at NASA should be chastised for allowing such a stunt.

    The Michigan Republicans have a point, but I am quite certain no one at the current administration in White House really cares about what goes on at NASA or would interfere with its decisions. This episode only drives home two points:

    -PR or administration decision-makers at NASA see no difference between the foreign Toyota and American domestic brands, in their minds evidently Toyota is as domestic as Dodge, Ford, or Chevrolet.

    -The thought process in California is apparently quite divergent with the rest of the nation and at this point we should just cut the state -and its massive debts- loose from the union.

    • 0 avatar
      KixStart

      Be careful what you cut loose… California is a net money exporter to the rest of the country.

    • 0 avatar
      goldtownpe

      It would be great for California to be released from the debt of the all the red states. But Repubs desire California’s economy to finance their pork, so that will never happen. California would not have a budget deficit if we got all of our Fed tax money back. Instead it’s being used to finance all those states that wants less government. Ironic or hypocrisy?

      http://taxfoundation.org/sites/taxfoundation.org/files/docs/fedspend_per_taxesbystate-20071009.pdf

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Effectively subsidizing poor decisions by other legislatures and governors helps no one but politicians and the recipients of their financial blunders. If states would live within their means we’d all be better off.

  • avatar
    Mark MacInnis

    Blah, blah, blah. Talk about your basic much ado about nuthin’.

    Meanwhile, the national debt continues to roll on up….

  • avatar
    -Cole-

    Touareg was first.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Due to arcane US Government contracting rules, shouldn’t an American (Big3/2 1/2) truck be pulling the shuttle. Sometimes it the law to buy American. Just asking.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I think it goes by build content and not brand…. but you do have a point. IIRC the F150 and Expedition were the highest US content/mfg truck/suv pair around, at least in 2010 when I last looked at point of those forms the automakers put out on where stuff is built and with what US content.

      • 0 avatar
        el scotto

        I’ve never seen a foreign car in a GSA carpool. All the vehicles are made by American owned car companies. Makes me wonder two things: 1. Some politician complaining “these vehicles are made by stalwart, hard working sons and daughters of my state, why doesn’t GSA buy these vehicles?” 2. Can you imagine the snark-fest on here?

  • avatar
    Hank

    So in a round-about way, this is more a Texas truck helping Californians because Michiganians didn’t get the job? I’m good with that. ;-)

  • avatar
    cheezeweggie

    Once the flag-waiving and complaining is over, go drive your big American truck with the inexpensive Hankook tires you recently purchased. Dont forget to call your wife on your Samsung phone. Later on watch your Sony TV in the corner of the room on a Ikea stand while enjoying a ice cold Corona.

  • avatar
    mattfarah

    Has anyone pointed out how easy this stunt actually is? It’s a quarter of a mile, and they have a truck. Here’s a video of a HUMAN pulling a 767, which weighs nearly as much.

    http://youtu.be/tls-Jli6eQE

    Call me when Toyota picks a PR stunt that’s actually difficult.

  • avatar
    Juniper

    Saw Discovery at the air and space extension south of Dulles. Go, it is great, plus a thousand other cool things to look at.

  • avatar
    ZoomZoom

    This article goes to prove that there’s no way you can separate space shuttles, cars, dollies, or Japan from politics. I’ve given up trying.

    And that’s why I love automobiles!

  • avatar
    car_guy2010

    No offense to any actual Republicans on here but why are regional party heads such a bunch of clueless dolts? This isn’t just the case for Michigan though.

    If this dummy would take a minute to look at WHERE the truck is built, he’ll quickly realize that yes, Toyota is now just as American as apple pie.

    If that still bothers people? They need to immediately perform an ass-dectomy on their face.

  • avatar

    Frendewey should visit Ann Arbor, where the Tundra was designed in Toyota’s $1.5 billion R&D center. They also have research facility in Plymouth. Hyundai/Kia have a technical center in Pittsfield Twp, just outside Ann Arbor.

    I’ve been saying for years that Michigan residents have to stop thinking of Detroit as being the center of the domestic auto industry and start thinking of it as the center of the global auto industry. Every car company and vendor active in North America (and some who don’t sell cars here) has some kind of production, research, engineering or business facility in Southeastern Michigan. A large number of local automotive firms are in fact owned by foreign companies, Chinese and Indian companies in particular have been acquiring Michigan based automotive suppliers.

    It’s a big global world and I don’t like it when either Republicans or Democrats pander jingoistically.

  • avatar
    Beerboy12

    I propose a drag race between said Tundra and the shuttle and a VW Toureg TDI towing an A380.
    My understanding is that the Toureg hauled a 747 with relative ease at 5MPH with 4.3 tonnes of ballast.

  • avatar
    luvmyv8

    Not that it matters, but the Endeavour is actually the of the lighter space shuttles- none of them weigh the same. The lightest is Atlantis, which tips the scales at 176,413 ibs or 80 tons(itself and with it’s 3 main orbital engines which were removed and replaced with replicas), the Endeavour weighs 3 ibs more. The heaviest space worthy orbiter was the Columbia, which had that horrific accident back on ’03.

  • avatar
    acuraandy

    Michigan…Republican…party? Sounds like an oxymoron.

    • 0 avatar

      Andy, Michigan has had Republican governors more than half of the time since the late 1940s. The state is really more purple than blue. The western side of the state is socially and politically conservative and then you have those Macomb county Reagan Democrats.

      G. Mennen Williams 1949 – 1961 Democratic
      John Swainson 1961- 1963 Democratic
      George W. Romney 1963 – 1969 Republican
      William Milliken 1969 – 1983 Republican
      James Blanchard 1983 – 1991 Democratic
      John Engler 1991 – 2003 Republican
      Jennifer Granholm 2003 – 2011 Democratic
      Rick Snyder 2011 – Present Republican

  • avatar
    Mr Nosy

    Day 378,987 of the U.S. Presidential election,drags on. An endless display of someone “outraged at this insult”,followed quickly by someone else “angered by this unfounded accusation”. For the love of God,just make it stop,or just make it shorter. But no,now its some aspiring blue blood,speaking out on behalf of the red blooded masses. If Detroit’s marketing departments were so out to lunch on this opportunity to flash their comeback wares,then quite frankly, tough shit for them.In LA, the controversy has been about them having to cut down hundreds of trees (Mostly Ficus,not a sidewalk friendly species.) in poor aboreally challenged neighborhoods,so that this big space freighter could get to its final landing space.The museum promised to plant replacement trees,as its an election year,so I guess the neighborhoods that are affected can count themselves lucky.

  • avatar
    FJ60LandCruiser

    Let’s not forget the real issue here: no one who buys full-sized pickups actually tows with them.

    • 0 avatar
      nikita

      I get the joke, but a pickup is primarily designed to carry cargo in the bed, at least that is what I use mine for, not tow. Its a Tundra, BTW, regular cab, bench seat, rubber floor, eight foot bed, white, of course.

      Recreational towing should be done by that RWD stick shift diesel station wagon that everyone wants but the industry just wont build. Seriously, when I started driving, the typical tow vehicle was a RWD station wagon, but automatic gas V-8, like my ’65 Impala.

  • avatar
    mkirk

    Didn’t the places putting the shuttles on display have to purchase them? If so then they should be able to move them about with whatever they please.

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      They may have been stripped and declared surplus. Kinda like all the military stuff you see in front of the VFW/American Legion or in the city park. FWIW, with the USS Intrepid, NASA still technically owns the Enterprise. Either way, I doubt if the gubmint will ask for any of their “stuff” back. Some day our grand kids may ask us about Humvees and Bradleys on static display. It’s going to the California Science Museum.


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