Yes, the road.

Yes, the road.
Eagle Nest, New Mexico. “People like to drive because driving is actually and symbolically an almost perfect mechanism for escape…there is probably no human being who does not have troubles, real or imagined, from which he at times feels the need to flee.” George R. Stewart.


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Brooklin, Maine, United States
We own a 1975 GMC Sierra Grande 15 in Maine and a 1986 Chevrolet Custom Deluxe 10 in West Texas. Also a pair of 1997 Volvo 850 wagons. Average age in the fleet is 28 years--we're recycling. I've published 3 novels: THE LAW OF DREAMS (2006), THE O'BRIENS (2012), and CARRY ME (2016). Also 2 short story collections: NIGHT DRIVING(1987) and TRAVELLING LIGHT (2013). More of my literary life is at I was a Fellow at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study for 2012-13. I'm an adjunct professor at Colorado College and in the MFA program at Queens University of Charlotte. In 2015-16 I was a Fellow at Harvard University's Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. The Autoliterate office is in Car Talk Plaza in Harvard Square, 2 floors above Dewey Cheatem & Howe. SUBSCRIBE TO THE AUTOLITERATE DAILY EMAIL by hitting the button to the right.

Friday, December 28, 2012

The First Toyota: The Toyota AA

This is, disputably, a 1936 Toyota AA and, if it really is,  this particular car is the oldest Toyota known to exist. I saw it in the amazing Louwman Museum, in The Hague. The car spent most of its life in a barn in Siberia. The Toyota AA was produced from 1936 to 1943. It had a 3.3 litre six producing 62 horsepower. Styling was inspired by the Chrysler Airflow (below).

Outside the Louwman Museum, a massive, impressive Stalinist sculpture of a man-behind-the-wheel. Looks to me like a Dutch, or, even more likely, German m-b-t-w. That's a euro-frown. Or euro-scowl. Driving in northwestern Europe is not for the happy-go-lucky. If you want to relax, take the train. Highways here in the NL are well-built, well-maintained, and almost always thick with traffic. If you're lucky the traffic moves at high speed. But the snarls can be remarkably long and grueling, especially in Germany and in south Holland, between Rotterdam, The Hague, Amsterdam and Utrecht.  You get a couple of meters space at either end to call your own, and you move with the pack at 130 km/h. Let's call it 82mph. Faster, in the fast lane, in Germany. On the whole I prefer motoring by aged truck in Far-West Texas.

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