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Toyota Tundra makes the history books

Every car manufacturer hopes that their models will go down in history. Record sales, film or TV placements, technological innovations, all a pretext for a media slot. But what Toyota managed to do last week won’t be copied soon! An unmodified half-ton Toyota Tundra pick-up successfully towed the 150,000-lb Space Shuttle Endeavour last Friday.

The Endeavour, which had transported Marc Garneau in 1996 and 2000, as well as Julie Payette in 2009, is taking a well-earned retirement in a museum in Los Angeles. After orbiting at over 27,000 km/h, this time it managed only 3.2 km/h. The 19-kilometer route to the California Science Center, where it will be permanently exhibited, included crossing Interstate 405 via the Manchester Boulevard Bridge. The bridge specs demanded a lighter towing mechanism, so the Toyota Tundra took it on.

To be specific, it was a 2012 Toyota Tundra CrewMax 4x4 production model with a 5.7-litre V8 iForce engine producing 381 horsepower. The truck was built at the Toyota plant in San Antonio, Texas, then bought from a dealer in southern California and had not been fitted with any special equipment. It even had a standard tow-hitch.

The driver of the pick-up was Toyota professional driver Matt McBride. Seated beside him was astronaut Garrett Reismann, who had visited the International Space Station in 2008. The crossing took just five minutes but created tremendous visibility for this Toyota truck.

The California Science Center is presenting a popular mobile exhibition which uses a Tundra to demonstrate the physics of leverage. The Tundra used for the "Shuttle tow" will replace the one in the museum when the Shuttle Exhibition opens to the public on October 30, 2012.

By Christian Gagnon - autoExpert.ca

 

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