Mini-Trucks

 

minitruck.jpgThe steering wheel is on the wrong side of the cab. It’s used. It’s not the most attractive vehicle in the world. It can get up to 50 or more miles-per-gallon.

Enough said.

 


By JOEL McNEECE

The steering wheel is on the wrong side of the cab. It’s used. It’s not the most attractive vehicle in the world. It can get up to 50 or more miles-per-gallon.

Enough said.

Numerous Calhoun Countians are getting behind the wheel of some tiny imports from Japan that are proving to be good work vehicles and outstanding at conserving gasoline.
“You get used to that steering wheel being on the wrong side a lot quicker than you would think,” said James May, of Bruce, who was among the first in the county to begin selling the mini-trucks.
His brother Tim May, of Saltillo, began importing the tiny used vehicles a few years ago for off-road use.
“They’ll do anything a 4-wheeler will do,” May said. “They have 4-wheel drive. It’s unreal where they’ll go.”
May put several on the side of the road at his home just east of Bruce and suddenly began getting offers for the vehicles for road use. They typically range in price from $3,000 to $6,000 depending on all the features. Some come loaded with air conditioning and the works, while most others are very basic. The Mays brothers have sold nearly 40 in the past two years.
The tags for the vehicles are generally not much more than $20, but a quick trip to the courthouse won’t take care of it.
minitruck.jpgIt has to be registered at the district Highway Patrol office, which is in Starkville for Calhoun County residents. There’s a bit of paperwork involved, but most say it’s well worth it.
James Coleman, of Bruce, bought his about two years ago and has put 20,000 miles on it.
“I get right at 50 miles-per-gallon doing 55 miles-per-hour,” Coleman said. “I’ve had it fully loaded down and gotten 45 miles-per-gallon.”
Coleman said he regularly hauls his 10-foot fishing boat in the back of the camouflage painted mini-truck with ease. 
Lester Harmon, of Paris, similarly uses his to haul things – typically refrigerators, washers, dryers. Harmon works for Lafayette County and discovered with the functional bed with sides that fold out, he can pick up junked appliances off the side of the road by himself and haul them away at lower cost than with his former large truck.
Dewitt and Zilla Spencer of Vardaman bought their’s for its all-purpose capabilities.
“It’s my Gator,” Zilla said.
“It will go anywhere on our place and it’s cheaper than a Gator,” Dewitt grinned.
He uses it to go to town and “all over.”
“We’re crazy about it,” Dewitt said.
One point of note is the Japanese machines – mostly Isuzu, Mitsubishi, Honda, Suzuki – have manuals and other important details in Japanese.
The speedometer is based on kilometers, but Spencer solved that by getting his wife Zilla to print out a conversion chart, which he taped on to the dash so he could gauge how fast he’s traveling.
May is not surprised by how pleased people are who have bought one.
“They maneuver and handle really good. They’re very easy to drive,” May said. “I let my 9-year-old grandson Austin drive mine around the farm when we’re working.”
May is kicking himself now, however, because he agreed to sell the last one he had, the one he was driving, a few months ago.
“If I had known it would be so long before the next shipment came in I wouldn’t have sold it,” May admitted. “I’ll never be without one from now on.”
He said he was expecting a new shipment any day now.

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