QOTD: Going Above and Beyond?

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

We call upon our vehicles to go the extra mile sometimes; to give us that extra bit of effort to get the job done. And, every now and then, we ask of them too much, as some vehicles just aren’t suited for the task at hand.

Screw it, we’ve thought in the heat and madness of the moment — it’s the only vehicle at hand. Make do with what you’ve got, and all that.

Like the famously lopsided naval battle in the Leyte Gulf that saw a small handful of U.S. destroyers and destroyer escorts successfully fight off a large task force of Japan’s most fearsome warships, our machines’ abilities can sometimes surprise us, even when facing seemingly insurmountable odds. Has your vehicle — or a vehicle in your possession — ever surprised you with its get-it-done spirit?

Clearly, we’re not talking about a vehicle that proved even shittier at handling a task than you’d already assumed. No, this is not a day for zeros. We want to talk heroes.

Plucky hatchbacks that did the impossible, family sedans that put pickups to shame, and pickups that saved the world when others curled up and died. The key thing here is that the vehicle tackled an unlikely mission no normal owner would ask of it — something far removed from the rosy, idyllic images of OEM brochures — and pulled it off, driving away intact but perhaps a little worse for the wear.

While your author has not had the opportunity to recklessly dive into absurd automotive situations on a regular basis, I know all too well what can happen when you ask too much of a vehicle. Like that incident in high school with the snowmobile trail and the Olds 88, or the time I tried to stuff wooden deck furniture into a Prelude. Minor tasks, only partly accomplished. Damage to egos ensued.

Then there was the FWD compact car that defeated a blizzard that left 4×4 pickups struggling and other compacts high-centered, rubber not touching the ground, in 20 inches of freshly fallen snow.

What’s your unlikely tale of cargo hauled, weight towed, water forded, or terrain traversed by a vehicle that should have been out of its depth? Did the experience impart a newfound level of respect and admiration in you, or did it compel you to seek out a new vehicle more suited to the things life throws at you?

[Image: Toyota]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • V8fairy V8fairy on Oct 05, 2019

    My brother once used a Nissan Micra to tow a 40 foot catamaran, and amazingly it did it. Not a great distance, not fast, and not well, but he did it. Boat and trailer probably weighed double what the car did, just as well there were no steep hills to go down

  • -Nate -Nate on Oct 05, 2019

    In 1979 both my brothers bought new VW Rabbit Diesels, paying a serious extra charge to do so . One of them decided to move to California with his then G.F. and rented an enormous two axle trailer, filled it and drove from Boston to Los Angeles, in Pennsylvania he was slowly easing down a hill when a state trooper pulled up along side, waved him over and said 'I thought it was an un hitched run away trailer ~ I couldn't see your little VW tow car' . When he got to L.A. the brakes were shot, it needed new rotors and the front wheel bearings failed . -Nate

  • EBFlex At the summer property putting boats in the water, leveling boat lifts, cleaning the lots for summer, etc. Typical cabin stuff in the most beautiful place on the planet
  • Lou_BC I've I spent the past few days in what we refer to as "the lower mainland". I see Tesla's everywhere and virtually every other brand of EV. I was in downtown Vancouver along side a Rivian R1T. A Rivian R1S came off as side street and was following it. I saw one other R1S. 18% of new vehicles in BC are EV'S. It tends to match what I saw out my windshield. I only saw 2 fullsized pickups. One was a cool '91 3/4 ton regular cab. I ran across 2 Tacoma's. Not many Jeeps. There were plenty of Porches, Mercedes, and BMW's. I saw 2 Aston Martin DBX707's. It's been fun car watching other than the stress of driving in big city urban traffic. I'd rather dodge 146,000 pound 9 axle logging trucks on one lane roads.
  • IBx1 Never got the appeal of these; it looks like there was a Soviet mandate to create a car with two doors and a roof that could be configured in different ways.
  • CAMeyer Considering how many voters will be voting for Trump because they remember that gas prices were low in 2020–never mind the pandemic—this seems like a wise move.
  • The Oracle Been out on the boat on Lake James (NC) and cooking up some hella good food here with friends at the lake place.