Toyotafest is the only Japanese car show that can boast such a wonderfully diverse a mix of both car and trucks. This year, Toyota celebrated the Land Cruiser but there were just as many HiLuxes, Stouts, Tacomas, and other assorted trucks.
One of the first arrivals of the day was Walter Nunez’s 1973 HiLux, a rare example of the N20 chassis. Under the hood of his 632 Deep Green truck was a surprise 18R-G twin-cam replacing the stock 18-R single-cam. It was the lone representative of the second generation Hilux trucks.
It wasn’t until the N30 generation that the HiLux, or simply Toyota Truck as they were named in the US, really took off. Carlos Araiza’s 1981 HiLux 4WD demonstrates why: A compact pickup with solid axles front and rear, plenty of ground clearance for rough terrain, and a soon-to-be cemented reputation for everlasting toughness. Carlos’ truck also happens to be a an incredible shade of beige with a tricolor stripe kit so period correct it hurts.
Part of the reason of why these workhorses survived for so long was the bulletproof 2.4-liter Toyota 22R engine, which trucks like Carlos’s above and Abraham Contreras’ 1983 4WD trucks are powered by. Abraham’s was said to be a non-restored original example. However, that didn’t stop him from letting his kids hang out in the bed of his rare specimen of truckitude. He must be a very cool dad.
Toyota trucks were huge in the mini-truckin’ scene and while Toyotafest saw a few low-down 2WD sleds, all-out mini-trucks were sadly absent. Also, is it us or are the flowy lines of the 1995-04 Tacomas perfect for slammed styling?
We saw this Toyota Stout at the Mooneyes Open House last year where it caught significant attention (from us, anyway) sitting amongst a bevy of hot rods and lowriders. We were happy to see it with its kind as well at Toyotafest as well. Since its last appearance on JNC, the wheels have been painted gray but the patina has been kept in tact.
Proving that those at Toyotafest walk the walk, even the service vehicles were Toyotas. Cabe Toyota of Long Beach, California brought their immaculate Stout “shop truck” as is the custom. The 4Runner with the vintage Toyota racing tricolor belongs to Koji and Terry Yamaguchi, the hard-working organizers of this show, Nissan Jam, and JCCS.
Joe Meer needed a daily driver that “earns its keep as a Home Depot runner for the family.” Apparently, he also wanted something with a smooth, velvety ride as well. Behold, Joe’s custom-made 2000 Toyota Avalon XLE-based ute! Is it weird that I suddenly want an Avalon pickup?
Jack Russo’s pickup was built not because Jack loves Toyotas per se, but because he loves the Back to the Future movies. Since completing the restoration of Marty McFly’s dream truck, he’s been asked to take part in numerous events celebrating the films, including a 30th anniversary reunion at Twin/Lone Pine Mall and ComiCon. He’s been slowly collecting the signatures of the entire cast.
Last but not least, perhaps one of our favorite trucks on the lawn was an RN55 with the 22R-TE motor. Resplendent in 4A7 Brown Metallic and 80s-appropriate stripes, it was a stellar monument to the Turbo Era and came from the factory with forced induction. A brilliantly preserved XtraCab, it is something that even the Toyota USA Museum is sorely lacking.
Our Toyotafest 2017 coverage continues, but in the meantime check out Part 01 — New Digs, Part 02 — Celebrating the all-conquering Land Cruiser, Part 03 — Fun to Drive, and Part 04 — The rise of the E30 Corolla, as well as a spotlight on Richard Pope’s 1977 Celica, a pair of drag-spec Celicas, and Orly Tapay’s works replica KP47 Starlet.
You can also revisit Toyotafest 2016 (Part 01, 02, 03, and 04), Toyotafest 2015 (Part 01, 02, and 03), Toyotafest 2014 (Part 01, 02, 03, 04), Toyotafest 2013 (Part 01, 02, 03, 04), Toyotafest 2012 (Part 01, 02, 03, 04), Toyotafest 2011 (Part 01, 02, 03, 04, 05), and Toyotafest 2010 (Part 01, 02, 03).