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#TBT: Remembering the Busse, an amphibious ATV powered by Volkswagen

The ‘70s were an era defined by bell-bottoms, disco music, revolutionary movements, and a craze for small vehicles that could go anywhere over land – and sometimes water too. The first “all-terrain vehicle” was dreamed up by a Canadian inventor in 1959, using two chainsaw engines for power. To conquer every type of terrain, the…

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The ‘70s were an era defined by bell-bottoms, disco music, revolutionary movements, and a craze for small vehicles that could go anywhere over land – and sometimes water too.

The first “all-terrain vehicle” was dreamed up by a Canadian inventor in 1959, using two chainsaw engines for power. To conquer every type of terrain, the ATV used six wheels with low-pressure balloon tires that provided floatation as well as traction. Though unprofitable, the design proved quite popular, and sparked decades of ATV innovation and enthusiasm.

During the ‘60s and early ‘70s, builders and inventors from across the country began to follow suit and build their own 6×6 ATVs and companies. The U.S. saw the creation of its first ATV racetrack known as Pine Lake Raceway, while ATVs grew in popularity for racing and recreational use alike. In August of 1970, one magazine counted more than 60 models either for sale or under development – including one with a unique Volkswagen connection.

The Busse All-Terrain Wagon, an aluminum 6×6 ATV designed by Busse SJI Corp., stood apart from other ATVs of the time. Where many used small two-stroke engines, the Busse was powered by the hearty 1.6 liter, 55-hp air-cooled, flat-four engine used in the then current era Beetle. Volkswagen’s 3-speed, semi-automatic gearbox and torque converter were also responsible for putting the power to the ground.

By ATV standards, the Busse was a tank among toys, with an aluminum body instead of typical fiberglass and a payload rating of 1,500 lbs. At 126 inches long, 65 inches wide, and 1,700 pounds, the Busse came equipped with hydraulic disc brakes, 26×12-inch tires, maximum speeds of 28 mph on land and 10 mph on water, with the ability to climb slopes of 45 degrees. If needed, owners could also opt for snow tracks.

With all its capability, the Busse listed at a whopping price of $4,875, far more than other ATVs at the time. Built in Randolph, Wisconsin, the Busse was shopped overseas as a potential military vehicle, but a contract never materialized, and its expense made its existence brief with minimal production. Today, there are only a few known Volkswagen-powered Busse ATWs still in existence, though its spirit lives on in six-wheel ATVs and side-by-side models for those still venturing to go anywhere.

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ROOKIE Racing and TOM’S SPIRIT Announce Team Setups for Super Taikyu Series Fuji 24 Hours Race | Corporate | Global Newsroom

Toyota Motor Corporation works to develop and manufacture innovative, safe and high-quality products and services that create happiness by providing mobility for all. We believe that true achievement comes from supporting our customers, partners, employees, and the communities in which we operate. Since our founding over 80 years ago in 1937, we have applied our…

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Toyota Motor Corporation works to develop and manufacture innovative, safe and high-quality products and services that create happiness by providing mobility for all. We believe that true achievement comes from supporting our customers, partners, employees, and the communities in which we operate. Since our founding over 80 years ago in 1937, we have applied our Guiding Principles in pursuit of a safer, greener and more inclusive society. Today, as we transform into a mobility company developing connected, automated, shared and electrified technologies, we also remain true to our Guiding Principles and many of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals to help realize an ever-better world, where everyone is free to move.

SDGs Initiatives https://global.toyota/en/sustainability/sdgs/

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Orchard business blossoms with Hilux help

It’s late Sunday afternoon on one of the warmest spring days of the year. The ground looks dry and is already beginning to crack. Songbirds and bees compete for attention as the low sun gently warms thousands of blossoming apple trees on a south-facing hillside in the heart of Kent.But with unseasonably low temperatures in…

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It’s late Sunday afternoon on one of the warmest spring days of the year. The ground looks dry and is already beginning to crack. Songbirds and bees compete for attention as the low sun gently warms thousands of blossoming apple trees on a south-facing hillside in the heart of Kent.

But with unseasonably low temperatures in the overnight weather forecast, the race is on to protect a 75-acre orchard from frost damage. One way to do this is to make sure the grass between each row of trees is kept short. This helps to increase airflow and reduces the chance of cold air settling. 

Claire Seymour, 43, gently edges her Toyota Hilux between a row of trees at Tubslake Farm, near Hawkhurst in Kent. Her pick-up’s white paintwork and red signwriting match the flowering pink and white Braeburn apple blossom. Her husband, Steve Bowles, also 43, then sets about unloading a large green Fendt 209V tractor from an enormous six-wheeled flat-bed trailer behind the Toyota. He starts up the brand new tractor and then begins to set up and test the Fisher variable-width mower before handing it over to its new owner for an evening of urgent grass cutting.

Claire is managing director of NP Seymour Ltd, an engineering and agricultural machinery dealer set up by her family in 1974. Based in nearby Cranbrook, the company supplies and makes equipment for orchards, vineyards and fruit growers across the UK. 

“We’ve had other pick-ups in the past but I was impressed with the comfort of the Hilux. We bought it from Beadles Toyota, Medway, in the spring of 2019.

“It’s the Invincible model and is fitted with off-road tyres and a Truckman top on the back. We use it all the time for customer deliveries all over the UK, visiting growers and going to shows. The 3.5-tonne towing capacity is really important to us as lots of our kit is very heavy,” explained Claire.

Surrounded by apple blossom, NP Seymour’s Toyota Hilux delivers a tractor to an orchard at Tubslake Farm, Hawkhurst, Kent.

“We’ve been really busy since we’ve owned it. Covid didn’t really slow us down at all. We just had a few difficulties with staff numbers. But the demand for our machinery hasn’t stopped.

“The Hilux has already done 50,000 miles, and absolutely nothing has gone wrong with it. We’ll definitely buy another Toyota when it’s time to replace this one,” she said, just before hurrying off, leaving the orchard in a cloud of dust to go and enjoy the rest of her Sunday evening with Steve.

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Lexus to Unveil All-New RX on June 1st, 2022 | Lexus | Global Newsroom

Toyota Motor Corporation works to develop and manufacture innovative, safe and high-quality products and services that create happiness by providing mobility for all. We believe that true achievement comes from supporting our customers, partners, employees, and the communities in which we operate. Since our founding over 80 years ago in 1937, we have applied our…

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Toyota Motor Corporation works to develop and manufacture innovative, safe and high-quality products and services that create happiness by providing mobility for all. We believe that true achievement comes from supporting our customers, partners, employees, and the communities in which we operate. Since our founding over 80 years ago in 1937, we have applied our Guiding Principles in pursuit of a safer, greener and more inclusive society. Today, as we transform into a mobility company developing connected, automated, shared and electrified technologies, we also remain true to our Guiding Principles and many of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals to help realize an ever-better world, where everyone is free to move.

SDGs Initiatives https://global.toyota/en/sustainability/sdgs/

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