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Mushy brake pedal, sticking calipers -- fixed by replacing brake hoses

In 1968, recently drafted into the Army, I had the amazing (and rare) good fortune to be assigned to Thailand (instead of Vietnam).

Soon after our arrival, three of us callow youth are walking around Bangkok. We hail a cab, and up pulls a little car with a name - Toyota - none of us had ever heard before. Ha ha, we laughed. Like a toy car, right? Not like our big Chevys, Fords, Chryslers.

It happened to be a Corolla, so a tight fit for us American beef-eaters. But once we were all inside, we couldn’t believe what we were seeing. The car had great acceleration. Great brakes. And able to take corners at speed. (But its blinkers didn’t seem to work.)

If I’d had any sense, I’d have bought all the shares I could in Toyota and, later, Honda and Datsun (later Nissan). Of course, back then I had other things on my mind than making money.

Fifty years later, I’m the owner today of a 2011 Toyota Venza. It’s a great car, too.

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