Has Your Used Truck Ever Towed a Space Shuttle?

September 18th, 2012

Toyota Tundra towing Endeavour

There’s a lot of potential for hidden damage when shopping for a used truck.

It can be challenging enough to find any used vehicle without hidden damages or missed repairs. With a large pickup, buyers have to consider those things along with any potential problems caused by the amount of strain the engine has experienced due to towing.

A used F-150 that has cruised the highways of Eastern Washington will be a better buy than one that has spent the majority of its life towing an 8,000-pound trailer up and down mountain passes. Even worse is the pickup that has worked consistently over its towing capacity.

The only real ways to know if a truck has been overworked are to ask the seller or have a mechanic look closely for extra wear. Or, check the news to see if it’s recently towed a space shuttle.

In what may go down in history as the ultimate marketing gimmick, a bone-stock Toyota Tundra will tow a retired space shuttle to its final resting place at the California Science Center on October 13. The Tundra, with a 5.7-liter V8 engine, has a towing capacity of about 10,000 pounds. The space shuttle Endeavour weighs about 300,000 pounds.

Naturally, the truck won’t pull that weight without some help. A special non-powered towing dolly has been developed to assist the Tundra in getting the job done, but the image will surely look impressive and show up in countless Toyota marketing efforts.

(Incidentally, some GOP lawmakers have taken offense at a Japanese truck pulling the shuttle, and have let their concern be known that all “red-blooded Americans” should be equally offended. Last I checked, though, the Tundra is built here, and Japanese people bleed red, too.)

Ed Laukes, Toyota Motor Sales’ vice president of marketing communications, said,

There is no larger or more recognizable icon of the U.S. space program’s success than the shuttle, and to have it towed by the Toyota Tundra is not only an incredible example of the capabilities of the truck, but an honor to be part of history. The entire journey is something the world will be watching, and gives us a chance to prove that the ‘overbuilt’ Tundra is built to do any job—even tow the space shuttle.

Again, this is pure marketing hype, and the truck will tow the shuttle for only a quarter-mile, but still it could inspire other Tundra owners to try and test their “overbuilt” trucks, which only gives used buyers one more thing to look out for!

Does anything bother you about a Toyota Tundra pulling the space shuttle?

-tgriffith

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  1. scott abbink
    April 16th, 2013 at 10:59 | #1

    The dodge Ram have been the truck of the year since like 2010 so Toyota is less than american because when was the last time those kind of turcks where the truck of the year.

  2. Jim Redd
    September 19th, 2012 at 14:54 | #2

    Tundra: Most american car on the road! Looking forward to seeing it pull a space shuttle. That’s just freakin cool.

  3. Chase
    September 18th, 2012 at 10:52 | #3

    Heck Toyota is more American than GM or Chrysler. Chrysler is Italian now, and according the the CEO, GM builds 70% of it’s vehicles out of the country, and is currently expanding in China. Go Toyota!!

  4. Randy
    September 18th, 2012 at 08:34 | #4

    Not at all, it’s a clever promo. Toyota ads tend to be a bit dull, probably because with the Toyota reputation for quality, they don’t need as much of the overbearing class hype (Dodge Ram especially guilty there) to sell their product.
    I’m interested in the Tundra as a replacement for my aging Trailblazer, and something that will pull a fifth-wheel trailer. Saying goodbye to the Chevy is my last step in fully purging my garage of GM/UAW products.

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