Army Vet Receives Customized RAV4 Limited at New York International Auto Show

As the New York International Auto Show began last weekend, the opening ceremony was about more than shiny new cars. Toyota was able to present U.S. Army Specialist Robert Loria with a special RAV4 Limited.

RAV4 Limited

“We at Toyota are proud to collaborate with the Wounded Warrior Project to honor the servicemen and women who have sacrificed for our country by raising awareness of their needs,” said David Christ, Toyota’s general manager for the NY Region.

Customized RAV4 Limited - Wounded Warrior Project

Loria was injured by an IED while assisting an injured member of the explosive ordinance disposal team to which he was stationed as security. The blast cost Loria his right arm below the elbow and use of his left leg.

The customized RAV4 was built specifically for Loria, modified by the Bussani Mobility Team.

“I’ve been blessed with family and friends to drive me to and from work and appointments. I miss the freedom of getting myself where I need to be and want to be. This gift from Toyota is a game-changer for me,” Loria stated.

We at Classic Toyota of Tyler are incredibly grateful for Specialist Loria’s sacrifice; and we’re delighted with the role Toyota was able to play in restoring some of his independence and mobility.

2014 New York International Auto Show Brings About 2015 Camry Unveil

Did you know? The Camry has been the best selling sedan in the US for the past 12 years. If you don’t own a Camry you probably know at least one person who does. At The New York International Auto Show on Wednesday Toyota and our beloved Camry proved that it does in fact rank on the list of things that get better with time.

The New York International Auto Show will surely go down in history as a landmark in the life of the Camry, as they unveiled the new XSE model – a sleek and sporty model unlike any other Camry of the past. With this new body style, the 2015 Camry is entering the market with a competitive and sporty edge; not usually what comes to mind when Camry is brought up in discussion.

We can’t help but get excited thinking about the new Camry that will roll out later this year, especially considering the adrenaline rush that will surely come with driving the new XSE.

Make sure you keep an eye out for when Classic Toyota gets the new model in! Until then, thank you to the New York International Auto Show for giving us just a taste of what is to come for our old friend the Camry, and be sure to let us know what you think about it!

 

Star Spangled Salute Contest Brings Mobility to Disabled Veterans

Star Spangled Salute Contest Brings Mobility to Disabled Veterans

Star Spangled Salute Contest Brings Mobility to Disabled Veterans

Toyota and Vantage Mobility International (VMI) have teamed up once again for the 2nd Annual Operation Independence Star Spangled Salute contest. The contest, which runs from April 2 until Nov. 9, is a way for Toyota to give back to disabled veterans who have sacrificed immeasurably for our country.

All disabled U.S. military veterans are eligible to submit an entry to win a brand new Toyota Sienna equipped with VMI’s Access 360 In-floor Ramp Conversion system. The contest is part of VMI’s Operation Independence program, which is dedicated to providing veterans with the independence and ability to participate in activities their injuries might otherwise prevent.

Fittingly, the contest winner will be announced on Veteran’s Day, Nov. 11.

Last year’s winner was U.S. Army Cpl. Charlie Harvey. Upon receiving the Toyota Sienna, Harvey’s wife, Linda, said, “Words cannot express how grateful Charlie and I are to Toyota and VMI for giving us the chance to win this van through the Star Spangled Salute contest.”

“The Sienna with VMI’s ramp has changed Charlie’s life in so many ways we didn’t think were possible. We can go everywhere together again, like the mall, grocery store and out to eat for dinner. Before the Star Spangled Salute contest we’d never won anything before. I really hope our story encourages disabled veterans and their families to enter this contest this year. You never know when you’ll be the lucky winner!”

Well, you heard the lady. If you’re eligible to win or you know someone who is, don’t wait; enter the contest today! We at Classic Toyota of Tyler can’t wait to hear who this year’s winner will be.

Spring Break Road Trip Tips in your Toyota

With spring break season fast approaching, we here at Classic Toyota want all of our customers to stay safe during their travels. Whether you’re going to be traveling 2 hours or 12 hours, we have put together a list of road trip tips to keep in mind while packing up your car and throughout your trip.

Spring Break Road Trip Tips

  • Take your Toyota into Classic Toyota’s Service Department to check its brakes, battery, tires, lights, fluid levels, belts, and hoses.
  • Make sure you have a spare tire, jack, and wheel wrench.
  • Keep a basic first-aid kit in your vehicle.
  • Use your Toyota Entune GPS to map your route and plan for food and restroom stops, but also keep a map in your vehicle as a back up
  • When packing your car, pack heavier items first, then follow with the lighter items.
  • Pack individually wrapped snacks like pretzels, nuts, cereal, granola bars, and trail mix
  • Bring plenty of drinks – our newly redesigned Highlander can fit 60 juice boxes or 24 water bottles in the center console.
  • Freeze the drinks the night before so as they melt throughout the next day you have ice cold drinks. (Unless you are in our Land Cruiser that has a built-in cooler)
  • Always keep at least a half-tank of gas in your vehicle at all times.
  • Bring DVDs to put in your entertainment system to keep kids entertained throughout the drive
  • Use cruise control whenever possible on the highway to save gas

As you can tell, there is a lot to consider and prepare when going on a road trip of any length. Luckily, Classic Toyota of Tyler and your dependable Toyota vehicle are here to help you get prepared and on your way. Whether you have a fuel efficient Prius or a roomy Highlander, the tips above will ensure that you have a safe and successful vacation.

Annual Beauty and the Beast Bicycle Tour Is a Success Once Again

This past weekend, hundreds of Tyler residents came out for the 26th annual Beauty and the Beast Bicycle tour. It was great for us at Classic Toyota of Tyler to have so many of our customers supporting the Texas Wounded Warriors and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

26th Annual Beauty and the Best Bicycle Tour benefits Wounded Warrior Project

Participants met at KE Bushman’s winery to begin their 12-, 24-, 36-, or 52-mile bicycle tour route of choice. The courses are filled with beautiful scenery and challenging trails (hence, the name Beauty and the Beast).

Each year, benefits from the bicycle tour are given to designated organizations; this year, Wounded Warriors and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society were chosen.

Rick Houack, one of almost 800 participants, is an army veteran with a son currently serving in the military. He stated, “It really gets to my heart when I see this many people out here to support.”

Three female and male winners were awarded cash monies, but we think the two organizations are the real winners. We’re proud to be part of a community that supports such worthy causes.

Classic Toyota Sponsors Toyota Truck Month Open 4D Barrel Race

Toyota Truck Month Open 4D Barrel Race

Classic Toyota is excited to sponsor the Toyota Truck Month Open 4D Barrel Race at the Tyler Saddle Club Arena in Mt. Selman. The race will be held this Saturday, March 22nd, with different events taking place all afternoon. Not only is this event close to our Texan hearts, but our own Carly Blackmer will be among those racing for the fastest time to win the cash jackpot prize.

Toyota Truck Month Open 4D Barrel RaceCarly is the daughter of our New Car Manager, Jeff Blackmer, so our team here at Classic Toyota has enjoyed having the opportunity to be involved and show support. Carly got started riding around the age of 11 and began barrel racing a year later. She just recently won the NBHA TX 20 1D buckle and has also qualified for the Martha Josey’s Reunion finals in 2013. She’s also placed in and won the 1st Division in several local jackpots throughout the years.

Carly’s favorite part of barrel racing is getting to compete on her two favorite horses, Rambo and Tivios Frisco Kid, who will be making an appearance at this weekend’s event. “I can feel the speed and strength they possess when we walk down the alleyway. They want to compete just as much as I do,” said Carly in regards to her treasured horses. She also mentioned that both horses give 110% each time they race, and without the help of the horses, the racing wouldn’t be possible. She ended by saying, “They are my team, and I couldn’t imagine barrel racing without them.”

Toyota Truck Month Open 4D Barrel Race

Carly with her two horses, Rambo and Tivios Frisco Kid.

All of us here at Classic Toyota wish you the best of luck this weekend, Carly! We’ll be there cheering you on, as always. If you’re looking for something to do this weekend, stop by the Toyota Truck Month Open 4D Barrel Race. There are plenty of fun events planned for the entire day. For more information, check out the Barrel Horse Events website.

Tyler Native Takes the Big Stage, Passes Blind Auditions on The Voice

As The Voice, NBC’s popular singing competition, kicks off another season with its daunting blind auditions, all of us here in Tyler have a special reason to watch. Recent Chapel Hill High graduate, Steven Rosenbalm, sang his way through the blind auditions and onto Usher’s team.

We at Classic Toyota of Tyler are so proud to have a native representing the town on the big stage. Rosenbalm, using his stage name, Stevie Jo, surprised judges by singing Usher’s “There Goes My Baby”.

According to local interviews with Rosenbalm’s former teachers, his soulful voice surprised them as well. Chapel Hill’s educators knew of the 20-year-old’s talent, but they had no idea of its extent.

Rosenbalm spent his days walking through the halls of Chapel Hill with his guitar case and participating in theatre shows. He returned to the school on March 4 to encourage students and former classmates, stating, “I hope to inspire all of you to pursue your dreams because today I finally get to live out one of my greatest dreams.”

Stevie Jo, we understand if you can’t visit us at Classic Toyota of Tyler for some time. Just know that we’ll be rooting for you as we watch from home! We wish you the best of luck!

Toyota Selects Nine Young Artists to Advance in Dream Car Art Contest

What would your dream car look like? That was the question posed to kids around the world for the Toyota Dream Car Art Contest. With the U.S. winners recently announced, we at Classic Toyota of Tyler got a look at the winning drawings and they are nothing short of inspirational.

Nine U.S. winners were selected from around 500 entrants. These winners received an iPad Mini and will represent the U.S. in the World Contest Semi-Finals. The top 30 contestants in the world will be given the once-in-a-lifetime experience of traveling to Japan to explore Toyota City and participate in the contest’s awards ceremony.

Seven judges selected the U.S. winners from 31 finalists. The three age categories ranged from 4 to 15 years old.

Cheech Marin, actor and art collector, served as a judge. “If you take a look at the artwork these kids created, you see that not only have they designed a dream car, many have incorporated their dream car into an ideal future environment and society,” he stated. “These are more than aspirational, they are inspirational. These are true pieces of art.”

Stay tuned to see if any of our young American artists win at the World Contest in August 2014.

No Surprise There: Toyota Sienna Makes Prestigious List of Best Family Vehicles

2014 Toyota Sienna

We require a lot from our family vehicles. They need to have enough room to comfortably fit the whole family at one time; it is imperative they are proven to keep everyone safe; and if we happen to add a load of luggage to the mix, it should be able to accommodate that as well. We at Classic Toyota of Tyler have just the vehicle: The Toyota Sienna was named to the Kelley Blue Book® list of the 12 Best Family Cars of 2014.

While we are certainly grateful for the award, we would be surprised if the Sienna didn’t make the list!

KBB® editors narrowed the top 12 list from a field of 300 vehicles. Of the Sienna, they stated, “[W]ith reclining captain’s chairs — including a footrest — the Sienna may be the most passenger-accommodating minivan you can buy. And, with more varied configurations than any other minivan on the market, the Toyota Sienna is the perfect family-car for more than 100,000 families each year.”

Add a 5-Star Overall safety rating from the NHTSA to its versatility and comfort, and it’s easy to see why the Toyota Sienna is the ideal vehicle for today’s families on-the-go.

Toyota Brings You the Best Vehicles for Your Money

“She works hard for the money, so you better treat her right.” Donna Summer might as well have been singing about the Toyota Camry and Tacoma, winners of U.S. News and World Report’s 2014 Best Car for the Money Award.

2014 Toyota Tacoma

Toyota Tacoma – Photo used with permission by The News Wheel

The Camry won Best Mid-size Sedan for the Money and the Tacoma won in the Best Compact Truck category. Both are great Toyota vehicles, so we can see why they would be named a 2014 best car for the money.

2014 Toyota Camry

2014 Toyota Camry

U.S. News and World Report determines winners in each of 21 segments based on the average price paid for the vehicle and its estimated five-year cost to own. In their calculations, they also include the car’s overall value for safety, comfort, design, and reliability according to automotive experts.We at Classic Toyota of Tyler are grateful for the recognition of two of our popular nameplates. The award is official confirmation that these vehicles are valuable assets in anyone’s garage. You work hard for your money; let your vehicle work hard for you.

Stop by today to test drive either of these two great vehicles and see why they’re named the 2014 best car for the money!