In the car business, testimonials are gold to a dealership.
With that in mind, longtime Southern Nevada television sportscaster Ron Futrell has a 1996 Toyota 4Runner that recently surpassed the 400,000-mile mark to become one of the best testimonials in the business.
The 4Runner has been a part of the Futrell family since it was purchased new from a Findlay dealership in Kingman, Arizona, in 1996. Over the years, it has required basic repairs such as a fuel pump and a new radiator, but it has never needed any major repairs.
Purchased for about $33,000, the Limited 4Runner has been worth every penny — and then some. The Limited model came loaded with extras such as leather upholstery and sunroof.
The life of the 4Runner has not been without challenging situations.
“I haven’t babied the 4Runner,” Futrell said. “I take it to the mountains and to the snow. It takes a knocking and keeps on rocking. I’ve traveled all over the West in this car doing sports stories, including the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, the World Series in 2002 in Anaheim and Reno trips for high school sports.
“In fact, my 4Runner was there the last time the Raiders went to a Super Bowl in 2003 in San Diego. Virtually every sporting event covered in the valley since 1996 was done thanks to the 4Runner.”
Futrell said the 4Runner was always serviced in a timely fashion. He said the drive train is original.
“That’s a big key when determining the life of a vehicle,” he said. “I always knew that the service department of Findlay Toyota would be there when we needed them. I took care of the 4Runner, but I was not gentle with it. It was a work truck that I treated like one. We went off-roading through the snow on the back side of Red Rock Canyon remains one of my favorite trips. Four-wheel drive was a must for us.”
Futrell said he has purchased about a dozen vehicles from Findlay over the years.
“I told my wife and kids that I was going to ‘drive the wheels off this truck,’ and so far, the wheels are still attached and I’m still driving it. However, when it’s time for another vehicle, I’ll head for Findlay Toyota. I’m not sure what they’ll give me for this 4Runner, but I’d be crazy not to get another 4Runner.”