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2007 August

Prologue: Terresa owns a 1965 Toyota Tiara – but it almost didn’t stay that way. You see, I first met Terresa in the fall of 2002,
when she and her husband David were advertising their Tiara in Hemmings Motor News.  At that time I had never even opened an
issue of Hemmings. I did belong to the Toyota Owner's and Restorer's Club (TORC), and so, many of my friends were regular
readers of HMN.  Well, as it would be, word of the car eventually made it to me through the grapevine. Since my friends were  all
busy with their own projects, and I was always interested in buying an 'old' Toyota, I contacted Terresa. After a few emails, it was
apparent that Terresa would have regrets if she & the Tiara parted ways. I sent Terresa a CD with photos of some Tiara
brochures that were in my collection & some info about TORC.  Terresa decided to keep her car & join TORC instead. Ah well, my
loss was TORC’s gain. The story doesn’t end there though – but I think I’ll let Terresa tell the rest…

Tiara Tales by Terresa Holmes

I looked in the barn and saw a tractor, a boat, hay bales, a pickup canopy, and a bunch of stacked lumber.  Beyond all the clutter
in the back corner was my Toyota Tiara.  “Little Fart” looked sad.  He had been my faithful friend and was now being neglected.  
I started him and rinsed him off every once in awhile, but that was no substitute for frequent driving.  Parts were hard to come by
and I had been busy working and raising two kids.  It was easier to just park the car and to think, “Someday”.  

My dad bought the car when I was 12.  He found it in a field in Grants Pass, Oregon where we lived.  It had the blown engine on
the back seat in two boxes and a “FOR SALE” sign on the front windshield.  He learned that it was a 1965 Toyota Tiara and the
asking price was 120 dollars.  The college age owner didn’t know much about it and apparently hadn’t owned it for very long.  My
dad bought it for 80 dollars and towed it home.

Daddy and Uncle Al overhauled the engine and my cousin Bonnie took it to Portland for 3 years of nursing school.  She was the
one who named it “Little Fart” and assigned it a male gender because it back-fired a lot and needed a new muffler.  By the time
she had both problems fixed, the name was stuck.  When she graduated, she bought a new Subaru and gave the Tiara back to me.  
I drove it all through high school and took it with me when I went to the University of Portland.  I ran cross-country and track in
high school and college and had fun hauling teammates all over so we could run in different places.  We’d sit 3 across the front
and 4 across the back (distance runners with skinny butts) and away we’d go!  I had a Nike window sticker that said, “I run better
than this car,” which is no longer true.

Little Fart has a “3 on the tree”.  I laughed because when it got up to about 40 or 45 in 3rd gear, someone always said, “Are you
going to shift it into 4th, or what?”  But 4th gear doesn’t exist and it gets a pretty high pitched roar at 60.

I only got into trouble once in my car.  High school got out at 3 and since we were all anxious to get the heck out of there, exiting
traffic could really back up.  There were usually no fewer than 8 buses backed-up at the stop sign on “A” Street waiting for traffic
to break so they could turn right or left.  It seemed like a huge waste of my time to sit and wait behind them when all I had to do
was ease up the bicycle ramp and drive Little Fart on the sidewalk for 30 yards, whip across the parking lot and take a right onto
“A” Street in front of all the buses.  Life was blissful for many weeks until I saw the flashing lights behind me just shy of  “7th”
street.  No one needs a harsh lesson in humility like the one I got when all the school buses I just blew by, caught up again and got
a good look at me being “interviewed” by a very nice but very big police officer.  He didn't write me a ticket but made it very
clear that he wanted me to mend my ways when he said in a very deep baritone, “Young lady, I don’t want to see you driving that
little car on the sidewalk any more.”   

Little Fart never left me stranded in all those years but I once got pretty close to hoofing it.  I commuted home to Grants Pass
from U of P about once a month and I usually bought gas in Roseburg.  Then one day I figured that if it was 245 miles from
Portland to Grants Pass, and since I had a 10 gallon tank and I got 25 miles to the gallon…why not go for it!  So I got the tank
really full in Portland and headed south on I-5 after class on Friday.  Now I can’t say that I wasn’t pretty nervous when I watched
that gas gage needle creep lower and lower as the gas stations got fewer and farther between and finally non-existent beyond
Canyonville, but I will say that I felt pretty accomplished and smug as I pulled into the driveway at home in time for dinner.  But
my mistake was in forgetting to buy gas when I GOT to Grants Pass.  We were eating when my littlest sister called and said she
needed a ride home from her friends’ house. Daddy took Little Fart because it was the last car in the driveway and ten minutes
after he left, he was home again... on foot. It got really quiet when he said he’d run out of gas 3 blocks from home!

Remembering all those fun times just made me feel sadder when I looked at Little Fart now.  He deserved better.  I knew that the
longer I waited, the worse the situation was going to get and the harder the restoration project was going to be.  I decided to place
an ad in Hemmings and hope someone would read it who could appreciate the treasure the car once was and could be again.

Next:  What was I thinking?  A few TORC Club members contacted me with interest in buying an
restoring the Tiara and they all seemed very nice and I knew they would give it a nice new home. But I finally realized that my
friend of 30 years had to stay with me.

This story originally appeared in the January/February 2003 issue of the TORC newsletter.
Toyota Tales