The Norman Transcript

Local news

January 5, 2013

1970 Subaru Sambar may be tiniest truck in town

NORMAN — In 2011, Wayne Saunders bought himself a birthday present that is undoubtedly the smallest street-legal truck in Norman. It’s a 1970 Subaru Sambar 360.

Assembled in Japan by Fuji Heavy Industries, there’s nothing weighty about the miniscule workhorse. It tips in at 1,020 pounds and is powered by a 360cc engine. Most American motorcycle riders would reject a motor that size as being too small. This little two-cycle beast powers a truck that can haul a driver, passenger and payload in the shallow bed. It easily cruises at 50 mph. “I like that it gets 60 miles to a gallon of gasoline,” Saunders said. He found the Subaru for sale on-line by its original owner in Long Beach, Calif. Saunders named the miniscule truck “Smokey” because two-stroke engines burn oil by design as piston lubricant. Smoke comes out the tailpipe and there’s a message stenciled on the rear glass that states, “If it’s not smokin’ it’s broken.” One reason Smokey was for sale is that she couldn’t pass California’s tough tailpipe emission standards and couldn’t be registered there.

Wayne Saunders has an affinity for micro vehicles that predates his first Oklahoma driver license over fifty years ago. His first ride wasn’t even a car, it a succession of motor scooters. But the 14 year old had his sights set on a big wheel motorcycle. Against his mother’s wishes, Saunders’ step-dad helped him acquire a 1947 Triumph 650cc Thunderbird motorcycle. She protested that the bike was too big. “When he learns how to put it together, he’ll know how to ride it,” his diesel mechanic step-dad wisely replied. The big British bike was actually a frame and three bushel baskets of parts needing to be assembled into a functioning motorcycle. It took young Saunders over a year of working to buy needed components and put the Triumph back together. But that experience helped launch a decades-long career repairing and selling small vehicles.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local news
  • Nova Pettigrew Music community bands together to raise money for 2-year-old’s battle with rare form of cancer

    Two-year old Nova Pettigrew was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer six weeks ago. Her father, former Deli sound technician and musician James Pettigrew, noticed something was wrong when running turned to walking, then limping, then ...

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Coaches Luncheon Mixon question off-limits at coaches luncheon

    Toby Rowland addressed the elephant in the room even before Oklahoma football coach Bob Stoops, defensive coordinator Mike Stoops and offensive coordinator Josh Heupel arrived Wednesday at Journey Church....

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mixon will not participate in practice

    Preseason practice begins for Oklahoma today. Freshman running back Joe Mixon will not be there. The school announced the decision Wednesday night....

    July 31, 2014

  • Sales tax-free weekend set to begin this weekend

    When stores open Friday morning, shoppers may be waiting. Oklahoma’s annual sales tax holiday is slated to run this weekend with the special exemption beginning at 12:01 a.m. on Friday and ending at midnight on Sunday....

    July 31, 2014

  • Deputies cleared, return to work

    Two deputies involved in a deadly shooting earlier this month are expected to return to work today after being cleared by the Cleveland County District Attorney’s Office. “They (the Sheriff’s Office) gave me their investigation, I ...

    July 31, 2014

  • Felonies filed

    The following people were charged with felony counts in the Cleveland County Court Clerk’s Office: · Randall Lee Sherrill, 34, possession of juvenile pornography · Dewey Leon Kinsey, 37, possession of controlled dangerous ...

    July 31, 2014

  • Police log

    Police responded to the following incidents Tuesday: · 12:14 a.m. burglary report, 3000 block of Pheasant Run Road · 5:58 a.m. larceny report, 3900 block of Journey Parkway · 6:52 a.m. larceny report, 2600 block of ...

    July 31, 2014

  • Candle ruled as cause of house fire

    Slaughterville Fire Department extinguished a structure fire seconds after responding to the call around 2:50 p.m. Wednesday at 10701 Maguire Road....

    July 31, 2014

  • Sam Noble museum welcomes Oklahoma Storytellers

    From Sept. 19-21, Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History visitors can share their museum experiences with StoryCorps, an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to recording, preserving and sharing stories of people from all ...

    July 31, 2014

  • Nova Pettigrew Deli plans benefit Thursday night for young cancer patient

    Two-year old Nova Pettigrew was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer six weeks ago. Her father, former Deli sound technician and musician James Pettigrew, noticed something was wrong when running turned to walking, then limping, then crawling.
    Pettigrew had never heard of RMS, a rare form of cancer that affects nerves and has hampered Nova’s ability to move, but almost immediately, when doctors at OU Children’s Hospital started intense rounds of chemo, he quit his job to be by his daughter’s side.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo