Millen Wows the Crowd in a Toyota Tacoma

January 22nd, 2007 by William


For those who don’t already know, Rod Millen isn’t just your run of the mill race car driver. Millen was born in New Zealand where he loved to surf and sail and occasionally pop around in a dune buggy. His love for cars, and particularly sliding them, grew into an obsession and quickly Rod Millen became involved in the New Zealand rally scene. After proving his worth in the southern hemisphere Millen came to California where he continued to show his rally prowess. He signed on with Toyota’s off road racing division and became a hero to thousands of little kids by dominating the Mickey Thompson Stadium Off-Road Racing series. But the real legend of Rod Millen involves a Colorado mountain called Pikes Peak.

This 14,110 ft. mountain is home to possibly the greatest hill climb in motor sports. With a massive change in altitude, 156 dangerous curves, slippery dirt and sometimes inclement weather the 12.42 mille Pikes Peak hill climb is not for the faint of heart. For Rod Millen this is simply another day at the office. Pikes Peak is Millen’s home turf and he has proven himself time and time again in a myriad of different vehicles and classes. In 1994 Millen charged is all wheel drive Toyota Celica turbo to the top of the mountain in a record time of 10:04.06, a record which still stands today. This is just one of many titles and records that Millen holds on what many call “Millen’s Mountain”.

In 1998 Millen and his company MillenWorks built a custom Toyota Tacoma race truck to bring to Pikes Peak. The low slung rally truck won the unlimited class at Pikes Peak two years in a row. Millen decided that it might be fun to bring some of his Pikes Peak vehicles out to another great hill climb, the Goodwood Festival of speed, so in 2002 he brought his record holding 850 horsepower Celica to the hill at Goodwood and put on quite a show. Not to be outdone by… himself he vowed to return the next year with something even faster. That of course would be the 900 horsepower turbocharged Toyota Tacoma, and again Millen wowed the crowd with an even faster run than the previous year.

A friend of mine alerted me to this great video of Millen’s Goodwood run from YouTube.

Running his Celica

Running his Tacoma

-Bill Mertz

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