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#StartYourImpossible: Meet the 80-year-old Capetonian grandmother who drove her Toyota Conquest from SA to London

2018-07-02 10:47

Image: Motorpress

In 2017, Toyota launched the "Start Your Impossible" global corporate initiative to transform the organisation from an automobile to a mobility service company.

This was guided by the organisation's desire to contribute to the improvement and enhancement of customers' lives and society as a whole through support of the creation of a more inclusive and sustainable society in which everyone feels inspired to challenge his or her impossible.

The campaign includes real-life mobility stories of Olympic and Paralympic athletes as well as everyday people who demonstrate the values of humility, hard work and the never giving up.

GALLERY: Meet the 80-year old who drove her Toyota to London

One such story is that of an 80-year-old South African who drove a solo grand tour from Cape Town to London in her beloved Toyota Conquest to visit her daughter.

Epic journey

In June 2017, Julia Albu turned the ignition of her beloved 1997 Toyota Corolla (marketed locally as the Toyota Conquest) and drove away from her home in Cape Town, South Africa. She was 80-year-old, the car was 20 years old, and their commemoration of a century of combined existence was to keep motoring north until she reached her daughter’s house in London, England.

Image: Motorpress

Although Julia’s decision to take the 12 000km scenic route was admittedly hasty, a year of preparation was invested before she finally drove away. An eastern route through Africa was planned, supportive sponsors and charities joined the cause, and a blog site was launched to document the journey.

While there were many unknowns for Julia as a solo traveller, her one constant was her Toyota, affectionately known as “Tracy”. It had never let her down in 20 years of service and she saw no reason not to trust that it would carry her safely on this most epic of centennial celebrations.

A year and countless experiences later, Julia successfully arrived in London to a hero’s welcome. We caught up with the daring duo – now with a combined age of 102 years – in the service department of Currie Motors, her daughter’s local Toyota dealer, as she entrusted Tracy to the technicians to prepare her for the return journey.

Image: Motorpress

Image: Motorpress

Image: Motorpress

Text and Images courtesy of Toyota Great Britain

Julia’s blog: www.myafricanconquest.com
Julia’s favoured charity: Shine Literacy – www.shineliteracy.org.za

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