The battle amongst full-size pickup trucks from Ford, Chevy and Ram is as close to a bloodsport as the auto industry has, but now it might be Toyota that gets the last laugh in the tonnage towing race. In what should prove to be the mother of all publicity stunts, a showroom-stock 2012 Toyota Tundra will tow the space shuttle Endeavour to its final resting place at the California Science Center.
How exactly does a bone-stock, half-ton pickup tow almost 300,000 pounds, you ask? A quarter mile at a time using a specially designed rig.
Endeavour will be towed 12 miles from Los Angeles International Airport to the museum on October 13, and the Tundra will hitch up to the shuttle for the last quarter mile of the trip. The towing rig was made specifically for this event, allowing the full-size Tundra to pull almost 30 times its regular towing capacity. Toyota says that the truck used to tow Endeavour will be a stock V8 Tundra with no enhancements or modifications.
The Endeavour exhibit opens at the California Science Center on October 30, joining other airplanes and spacecraft including the capsule from the Gemini 11 mission. The Tundra that tows the shuttle will remain on display at the museum as well.