The Accessory Dream Guide - Issue 3
Year/Make/Model: 1984 Toyota 4Runner Owner: Brandon Thomas Location: Cochrane, Alberta Instagram: @showyourrideforbrandon
This Dream Ride is not like the others. It is a memorial for Brandon Thomas of Cochrane. Tragically, the life of this auto enthusiast and prodigy was taken at the young age of 17 by a drunk driver. Since that sad day of December 6, 2012, Brandon’s family and friends have done what he never got the chance to: they have accessorized his 1984 Toyota 4Runner just the way he wanted it. Since 2014, they have held an event called “Show Your Ride for Brandon” in Calgary as a way to honour his memory. This is the story of Brandon and his love of Dream Rides as told by his mother, Kim. “I believe Brandon was born with this passion. From the time he could crawl, he was forever playing with things on wheels. He had thousands of little Hot Wheels and if one was missing he knew it and would ask me where it was. As he got older, he could identify a vehicle on the road
just from the shape of the headlights. His sister taught him to ride a tricycle and from there he was very seldom on anything without wheels. He had many accidents. For example, he ripped out his front teeth while on his bike and he got a broken nose while riding his scooter. He rode his trike, bike, scooter, and then finally his passion for motorized vehicles began at age 6. Our neighbour, a backyard mechanic, was always in his garage working on vehicles and I would watch Brandon ride his bike around the cul-de-sac, stopping to talk to him from the sidewalk. Then, as the days went by, I would watch and Brandon would creep up onto the driveway and then finally into the garage, actually helping and learning the tools and how a vehicle worked. He also had a passion for fixing vehicles. From the time he was little he knew he was going to be a mechanic.
At age 13, he got a summer job in a small engine repair shop and he was never without a job after that. He worked all summer to have enough money to buy his first vehicle, a Toyota 4 Runner and he loved it. In no time, he was such a skilled driver that he could wheelie it and drive on two wheels, but not without the leaf springs breaking, which he quickly replaced. That 4Runner is parked in our driveway today. His next purchase was a BMW which he bought from a friend, then promptly traded in for a Jeep. He had a love/hate relationship with his Jeep: he loved to drive it and 4x4 with it and hated it when it broke down, which was all the time. I think that was mostly Brandon’s fault. I remember him taking the top off the Jeep, sitting in the driver’s seat with his long curly hair and crooked smile and waving as he drove away, off on another adventure. By age 14, he was changing rear ends and transmissions with his friends on our driveway. At age 16, he sold his Jeep and purchased his second dream vehicle, a world rally blue Subaru Imprezza WRX STI, which he owned for 4 months before he was killed in it.“ Both of the vehicles Brandon loved were bought already somewhat accessorized. “I think accessories are very personal and individual, I know Brandon thought so too; it depends what you are looking for from your ride and where you are going with it. There are so many amazing accessories to choose from that an owner has so many options for the desired effect. Regarding his own favourite add-ons, on his Toyota, his lift and big mud tires were what he liked best and on his car, he loved it all. Of all of the accessories his family and friends have added since he died, my favourite is a light bar which was made especially for him by Hanning LED. The Don’t Drink and Drive message is right on the light bar. Brandon was part of the Calgary Toyota 4x4 group as well as a couple of others. He loved going to car meets and Barlow at the time, although it has changed a lot since he has been gone. I do know that had Brandon had the chance to grow older, he would have been involved in many more. He LOVED the vehicle scene and the people in it. He would come home so happy and excited from these meets
44 THE ACCESSORY DREAM GUIDE
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