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Chrome, Oh Noes!

Willem, a Volvo firefighter owner from the Netherlands, sent me the following as a warning against the stainless grab bars:

To:               LandCruisers@tlca.org
Date sent:        Mon, 02 Jun 1997 08:06:37 -0500
From:             "Andrew H. Litkowiak"
Subject:          Re: hood kits, a teaching tale about chrome

Brian Skalla wrote:
>
> Help!
>         I cannot find any kind of chrome hood kits for my 75 FJ40.  If anyone
> knows a company that sells them please e-mail me and tell me who.
>
>                                                                 bskall@webzone.net

Brother Brian,

Poor, misguided Brother Brian. Listen, as the story of chrome is related.

Once upon a time, in a city not too far from you, a young man named Burford bought a Toyota Land Cruiser FJ40, the roughest, toughest, most rompin, stompin 4×4 available in the known world. Burford was very happy with his Cruiser, but, being from the city, he felt that something was missing. Something cool, something to help him pick up chicks.

He gazed at his Cruiser, glorious with its hard lines and earth tones. “Ahhh” he said, “if only it were a little brighter, flashier. Then I could get all the babes I want.” Burford pondered and puzzled and thought until smoke curled from his ears. But nothing came to him.

Suddenly, there in the grocery store parking lot, he saw a low rider. It had high gloss paint, a very noisy stereo, chrome trim everywhere and beautiful bikini clad bimbos laying all over the car (turns out it was a photo layout for Low Rider Magazine, but of course, blinded by the high gloss chrome and bimbos, Burford failed to see the cameras).

“That’s it” he shouted, “Chrome!”

Burford hurried home and pulled out all his Cruiser related catalogs. He pored over them, but could find no Chrome accessories. “How odd” he thought. “Well, no matter. I’ll just send some stuff out to the local plating shop.”

Burford took the parts to the nearest plating shop. When the owner saw that they were Land Cruiser parts, he refused to chrome them. “Look son. I’ll powder coat them, I’ll black anodize them, but I won’t chrome those parts. It’s a sin, plain and simple”.

Burford went to many plating shops, but the result was the same. Metal platers everywhere refused to deal with him, the more superstitious even warding him off with hex signs and prayers. Finally, in a run down, scary part of town, he saw a sign for plating services on a dilapidated old garage. The owner was a gnarled little man, with a rheumy eye and a hunch back. “So, ya wants chrome, does ya? I’ll do it, but it will cost big.” All Burford could think of were the bikini clad bimbos. He ignored all the warnings and rumors and handed over his money to the odd little man.

While the parts were out being chromed, Burford buffed out his Cruiser until it shone like the sun itself. He also installed a wicked 250 amp 27 channel ear busting stereo system.

Well, the big day arrived. The parts were done! Burford hurried to the plating shop and collected his parts. And what parts they were. Bumpers and rims and hood hardware and tool box and bezel and tow hooks and Warn hubs and lug nuts and roll bar and wiper arms, all in glorious, gleaming chrome. He rushed home and began working on re-installing all his wonderful chrome parts.

The work was all done and nothing was left but to go for a ride. Burford climbed into his gleaming, chrome covered cruiser and headed for the mall. “This is it” he thought, “babe city, here I come.”

As Burford headed towards the mall, he came upon a small tree, just a sapling really, down, blocking the road. Cars ahead were detouring around it. He looked, and decided, “hey, it’s a Cruiser. I’ll just crawl right over.”

Burford pulled forward and touched the sapling with his tire. As we all know, when the front tire of any Cruiser touches dirt, sand, rock, grass, wood or any material other than asphalt or concrete, the Land Cruiser Gods look down upon the Cruiser, ready to admire their creation and watch with pride as it conquers the environment it was designed to conquer.

So the Land Cruiser Gods looked down on Berford’s Cruiser, and they were confused. “Where is our creation, and what is all that damned noise?” The Land Cruiser Gods looked closer and realized that it was indeed a Cruiser. They saw the well buffed paint and smiled, happy that Burford was caring for their creation. They listened to the offensive loud music and were a bit miffed, but, they let it pass, hey, who can judge taste in music, one man’s treasure is a Land Cruiser God’s trash, but, whatever.

The Land Cruiser Gods then saw past the blinding reflection of the sun and realized that the source was….chrome. “It looks like a low rider” said one God. “Look at all those greasy fingerprints” said another. “Look” said a third, “he’s even done the hood latches in…(sob)…chrome.”

So the Land Cruiser Gods conferred and debated and raged and wept, all the while trying to decide a proper punishment for Burford. At last, they found a suitable penance for the ultimate sin. They assembled in all their glory and power and carried out their decision.

As Burford’s front tire touched the sapling, he felt a shiver run through his body. His Cruiser suddenly felt….different. He stepped on the gas and……was stuck. Burford gassed it a bit more, and then a bit more, until it was floored, and the motor was screaming, but he moved not an inch. “How odd” Burford thought. He engaged the 4 wheel drive and tried again. Nothing. The engine screamed in agony, the clutch billowed noxious gasses, but the truck would not move.

Burford shut off the motor and climbed out to find out what tremendous obstacle was holding him in place. He looked around, but all looked normal. A tiny sapling lay in the road, but nothing more.

Burford bent down to look under the truck to see if he was missing something. As he gazed to the front, he noticed that his springs were….tiny. In fact, everything in the drive line was….small. Axles, pumpkins, transfer, suspension all looked as if they had shrunk. He pulled his head back and stood up.

Burford looked closely at his truck. It still gleamed and shined, but it was riding lower to the ground. He walked around it, examining. “The grill looks different” he thought. “And what are those stupid little flares doing on the front fenders?” The sheet metal looked thin and the doors were kind of odd.

As he rounded the back, a horrible thought occurred to him. Yes, the tire carrier was gone. Burford looked closer and then let out a shriek “oh, what have I done, what have I done?” he sobbed. There on the back were four terrible letters, burned into the flimsy sheet metal. J**P

And that, children, is how the Land Cruiser Gods created the J**P.

So you see, Brian. You really should consider just why you can’t find chrome parts. This story is one of the teaching parables used by the Curia. It’s origins are lost in antiquity, but Truth is a constant. I suggest you heed its message or you could face dire consequences.

Firefighters have a long history of shiny metal on their exterior, so I don’t think I’m offending any Volvo Gods.

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