This project car diary starts a touch differently – with the story of its delivery.
It was a good Christmas for my son and I, who'd both been waiting patiently for our Toyota GR Yaris. It took precisely 84 days to arrive, from placing the order with Ryde Toyota on September 22, to delivery, on December 15.
Not a bad turn around, considering the car's status was in limbo for 45 of those 84 days. It wasn't until November 6 that it entered production, at Toyota's dedicated GR facility in Motomachi, Japan.
More than anything, my son was at the heart of this experience.
Given the household he was born into, cars are fairly significant in terms of general pastimes. In order to make the wait both entertaining and educational, I leaned heavily on Toyota Australia's clever vehicle tracker.
Within the customer portal, it shows six statuses: on order, scheduled for production, in transit to Australia, in the transport company's yard, in transit to dealer, and being prepared for pickup. Each is accompanied by a simple picture.
Perfect – pictures really do mean a 1000 words, even more so to kids. It also provides other info, such as your vehicle's VIN number and engine number when assigned, but these details are irrelevant to a child.
We stuck to the pictures, and along the way at each step, I repeatedly highlighted what each meant. On top of this, I used his interactive globe to show him where Japan was, and what the tyranny of distance means.
"It comes on a boat, from Japan. It'll take a while to get here, though."
"Okay," he acknowledged.
About halfway through the wait, fellow colleague, Kez Casey, highlighted that I could get one sooner – the only catch being it would be in 1/61 scale.
I took this as an opportunity to both waste money, and further enlighten my son. Together we sat, and ordered a Tomy Tomica die-cast GR Yaris.
"This one is little, and comes on a plane, from Japan. It will be here quicker, in about one week."
"Okay," he acknowledged once more.
To his surprise, this one did come early, and he was now fully-aware of the concept of things coming from Japan.
While waiting for the car, the team at Ryde Toyota were diligent in passing on intel. Managing director, Ian Mayer, runs a tight-ship across all of his dealerships.
The sales consultant who handled the sale, Rabih Daye, was also exceptional in the level of service he offered. He too had ordered a GR Yaris, and was keenly following the build and arrival of his own car, alongside mine.
Another cheeky bonus I arranged beforehand was a set of customised number plates, which I had sent to the Service NSW centre closest to the dealer. This meant they'd be on for delivery, and noted on the vehicle sales contract as the car's original registration. Insignificant perhaps, but I care about the details.
On December 11, I received the call. Joe Baudille, new cars sales manager at Ryde Toyota, had good news. He gave me the option to pick up the car earlier than expected, on December 15, if I was happy to have it delivered through their Chatswood Toyota site. They had an incredible amount of cars to deliver before Christmas, and this went a long way to helping both of us.
I kindly thanked him, and accepted his kind gesture. Most excited by this news was my son, of course. The location change actually worked out well, as the CarAdvice Sydney office is just a few blocks away from Chatswood Toyota.
Come delivery day, we were greeted with Melbourne weather. Rain, and lots of it. I couldn't think of worse conditions to drive a brand new car in, but that's just my luck.
Regardless of what old mate upstairs had planned weather-wise, it did little to blunt our enthusiasm. My son was over the moon, as you can see from the pictures. We'd been in continual dialogue for three months now, consulting the world map, and watching plenty of videos (including my own) about the GR Yaris.
For him, to see it realised in person, after so long, genuinely made it special. Since taking delivery, we've covered around 500km. The recommended break-in period is simple – no redline action for the first 1000km, avoid holding the car at one speed continually, and avoid labouring the engine in a high gear at low speeds / rpms.
At one month, or 1000km, whichever comes first, Toyota expects you to bring it back for a once-over. At this time, I'll pay for an oil change, as I suspect it'll be full of metal after the break-in period. Did I already say I'm fussy?
As for what's next, I've booked the car in with Sydney Premium Detailing, who are specialists in high-end automotive paint correction, surface coating and wrapping. The plan is to have the paint tidied up, sections of the body wrapped with a clear paint protection film, and all of it topped in their coating of choice. I've also purchased some Japanese-market TRD goodies for the car too, which I'll cover off next time.
In other news, Mrs Narayan has also lost the plot. In my initial opinion piece, I said the following:
"I now need to figure out how it'll slot into my current situation. A three-door Yaris doesn't make for a good family car; but I believe it can work, if I strip things back down to basics. Many people live in tiny homes just fine. I'm sure we will manage with a tiny car."
She saw her personal car, a brilliant Infiniti QX70, as a 'get out of jail free card' for such an idea.
So in order to keep me honest, she's gone and sold the wonderful Infiniti that yours truly procured, and bought herself something cheaper, and equally as ridiculous as the GR Yaris.
Her farfetched plan? To see whether we can truly survive as a family of three, with a dog, while using a pair of affordable, tiny, yet fun cars. Let's see how long this lasts.
Stay tuned for more content on both vehicles.
Current Status – Piling on the kilometres as quickly as possible
Odometer – 513km
Next up – TRD goodies, the application of sunscreen, and maybe a set of wheels?