For the 50th anniversary of the Corolla, Toyota brought out one of its best SEMA displays ever, which included one example of every generation of the world’s best-selling nameplate. That alone would have been a pretty awesome display already, but Toyota went a step further, pulling out a grip of non-Corolla classics from their museum to match their current lineup.
Check out this Toyota bread box! This could be the first time a Made in the 80s ‘Yotavan has been shown on the SEMA floor. Not only is it mint and sharing the same OEM pizza cutters as an AE86 of similar vintage, it’s a fully loaded model with dual sunroof and ice maker in the center console.
Beside it was a new Sienna in bone stock form, and next to that, built specifically for the the SEMA Show, was a custom Sienna that looked like something Xzibit would have pimped 10 years ago.
In another corner, a 1966 Toyota Stout pickup — one of 4,219 sold in the US — stood alongside a 2017 Tacoma, and next to that was a Tacoma TRD Pro race truck that will compete in the upcoming Mint 400 off-road race in Las Vegas. See a pattern beginning to emerge?
A Toyota 2000GT was matched with a brand new 2017 Toyota 86 and a Toyota CS-Cup race car imported from Germany. Apparently, there’s going to be a one-make race featuring the GT86 in Europe.
This particular 2000GT is notable for being one of nine MF12 models built, with the 2.3-liter single-cam engine. Only four 2000GTs were imported to the US in 1969, and this is one of them.
It is also notable how stupendously low the 2000GT is. It barely clears the stanchions surrounding it, and the MF12 even rode about an inch higher than the original MF10. There’s also a large aircon unit in the back, like in later 2000GTs. The stanchions made for shit pictures, but it’s probably worth it to keep the grubby mitts of the unwashed masses off of the car.
Even the Prius got in on the action.
Some of the customized cars looked downright goofy. The KE10 and purple 50th Anniversary Edition were fine, but then someone went and turned a new Corolla into Ultraman’s codpiece. Because SEMA. At least the pillarless hardtop coupe conversion was somewhat neat, though given the rest of the car we’d wager it was an accidental throwback to the Corollas of old and not an intentional homage.
Moving on, a very cool, very early, and very rare 1961 FJ25 headed up the Land Cruiser section. In this case, the SEMA-fied version of its modern equivalent was actually pretty awesome.
The so-called Land Speed Cruiser is billed as the “world’s fastest SUV.” Its 5.7-liter V8 has been twin-turbocharged to the tune of 2,000 horsepower. That’s how much is needed to get a full-size box to go a claimed 220 mph. The interior was gutted and caged, and modified to fit a custom transmission to put down that power. It also looked pretty good tucked to the ground.
The real highlight of the display, however, was the lineup of all 11 generations of Corolla. We overheard someone say that this is the first time they’ve all been together in the US, and we have no reason to doubt that.
Most were from Toyota’s own USA museum, but there were privately owned cars as well to fill in the gaps that the museum was missing. We were particularly enamored with Scott Kanemura’s mustard 1975 TE37 SR5 and blue 1983 AE71 2-Door Sport Coupe.
The TE27 on display was another privately owned example, wonderfully restored — with a few JDM touches like fender mirrors and Tom’s Igeta wheels — by Ray Gonzaga of RaceToys.
The AE86 was represented by Janet Fujimoto’s beautiful zenki hatch, all stock but for a slight drop. It is quite possibly the best restored GT-S in the country.
The 2017 Corolla took center stage, but then the family tree continued onward. As it happens, the the field was divided neatly into rear- and front-drive examples. The museum’s white AE92 GT-S, a somewhat overlooked model due to its front-driviness, is a particularly fetching example. The gold sixth-gen and silver eight-gen were recent museum acquisitions shown to the public for the first time (not that you can’t see identical ones on every corner in America, but you get the idea).
Last but not least and sitting by itself was the KE10 ran The Great Race. We actually had the chance to drive this very car last summer, and it was a hairy experience to say the least. This makes three first-gen Corollas gathered in one place, which must be a record of some kind not counting when the cars were sold new.
It was a massive display of Toyota heritage, and from our limited observation the classics were the biggest hits of the display. Many attendees — and this is a show exclusive to the auto industry, remember — weren’t even aware that Toyota’s history stretched that far back. Perhaps next year it’ll be back to business as usual with monster truck Tundras and hot rodded Camrys, but for this year at least, the classics were king.