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The Power of Potential

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Here is a little article from Techno Toy Tuning, that is a good read, & would find many of us smiling !

The Power of Potential

So here I was lying in bed, trying to get my busy brain to just be quiet so I could get some darn sleep, and I started reviewing all the vehicles and projects I’ve owned over the last 30 years. I think I may have figured something out about myself. Maybe something about you as well 😊

For me it’s always been about the potential of the vehicle. From the very beginning, I’ve always sought the big, the bad, the most capable. I’ve always bitten off more than I could chew and rarely have my skills matched the full potential of the vehicle I was driving. Thinking back….like many of us….maybe I had a bit more luck than I deserved to have survived my various ill-conceived choices.

My first vehicle was a 1986 Kawasaki KX250 two stroke dirt bike. I was 15, had been doing yardwork and land clearing for 3 years, and had $800 saved up. I had never ridden a motorcycle in my life. The dumb 15-year-old thought going straight to a 250 two stroke seemed like the best choice. I wanted the big bad bike. I wanted the FAST bike. I wanted the bike that could jump mountains.


Back then, you had to look in the classifieds section of this thing called a “Newspaper”. I found a bike in a local suburb and went down the mountain with cash in hand. Embarrassingly, I couldn’t get the thing started. After trying about 5 times and having the kick start lever whack the hell out of my shins, the owner was nice enough to start it up for me. I climbed on board and rode 100 feet down the street. I rolled on the throttle and the front tire immediately came off the ground! With adrenaline pumping full bore, I turned the bike right around and came back and said, “I’ll take it!”. I’m afraid I didn’t even try to negotiate with him on the price.

Every time I used even half the potential of that bike it let me know I had a lot to learn. But it was AWESOME knowing I had all that power at my fingertips if I ever wanted it! And frankly…as a 15-year-old, I felt special in some way for having all that power.

Sometime in the next year, I happened to see a Toyota FJ55 Land Cruiser wagon at a local auto shop. I was smitten. Two-tone, blue and white, a body like no other on the road. To me, the “iron pig” had this amazing mix of military, science fiction, and “oh so Japanese” flavor to it. Those fenders! Those beveled headlight surrounds! The way the hood met up with the front grill! All those flat slabs of glass! Here was a vehicle that could take me anywhere to do anything! Bad-ass POTENTIAL, I tell you!


I saved for 2 years and bought one for $1500 just before my 18th birthday. Two-tone blue and white of course! It was the most expensive vehicle my family had every owned (I grew up simply and without electricity, until I was 18 years old). I remember my mother saying that it was a sharp looking truck. I also remember being a little confused. I didn’t really think a wagon could be called a “truck”. But I was so very proud that she liked it.

Again, that Land Cruiser was about potential! Having potential is like having an untapped superpower! That truck was going to take me anywhere I wanted to go! In all honesty, I went camping a few times, left the camping gear in the back for a year, went off roading maybe twice, and found out the 4WD wouldn’t engage because of a torn actuator diaphragm. I once lost my brakes coming down a hill into town. Apparently, you are supposed to change brake shoes before they cut entirely through the brake drum…. go figure! I also managed to rip the driver door off on a tree when I forgot to put the truck in gear on a hill (e-brakes on FJ55’s don’t work because oil soaks the E-brake drum that clamps down on the driveshaft). Winter came before I was able to find a replacement door, so my dad made me a plywood and plexiglass door to tide me over till a local Land Cruiser specialist brought a door back from his salvage yard in Montana. I must say, 3 years of Land Cruiser ownership with no maintenance other than oil changes and I was sold on Toyota reliability for life!

From there I went on to countless other vehicles and projects. It’s always about the potential of the vehicle. Pretty much every vehicle I have owned has been modified to increase its potential. I can’t help it, it’s a sickness, and I’m pretty sure many of you are afflicted with it as well.

For some of us, it’s about the sexy lines or mean angles of the vehicle and what that says about its potential. For others it might be the memories or heritage attached to a vehicle. A lot of us just like to tinker and wrench on things, refine our skills and be proud of what we’ve done. Building a car that looks, feels and drives right is truly an art form. Some like to use the hell out of what they build. I bet a lot of it still boils down to potential.

As a great man once said, “I’m aiming to misbehave”, and all of us want the best, most capable vehicle in which to do that misbehaving in 😊

So keep it up! Get out there and


- Gabriel Tyler


Cheers  Banjo

Edited by Banjo

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