Given the current state of Toyota‘s public image, the 15th Annual All Toyotafest was probably the company’s last safe haven in North America. When one gazes upon the bright colors and sparkling chrome of 35-year-old Celicas and Corollas, it’s hard not to appreciate the quality, engineering and sheer heart that the automaker once put into their cars.
The show itself gets better and better with each passing year. In addition to ever-growing levels of build quality and creativity, we noticed some exciting trends that foretell good things for the nostalgic scene. But we’ve babbled long enough. Onto the pics!
This frog green Celica was an eye-catcher to the extreme. In direct view from our booth, none of the JNC staff present could stop staring at it, all day long. The color was like a modern take on the famous Celicas that once tore around Fuji Speedway and photos do not do it justice.
A turbo 18R-G put power to those sexy black Watanabes, and the valve cover was a nice match with the red center caps. This is an excellent example of the growing number of cars built in secrecy and suddenly debuted at the show. The wowing-everyone-from-out-of-nowhere build is a sure sign that your event is going places.
Physically right beside the green machine — but conceptually on the other end of the spectrum — was an unmolested survivor A40 Celica Liftback. Resplendent in late 70s metallic gold, the red pinstripes were a nice retro touch.
Let’s get the obligatory seaside photo of the Queen Mary out of the way. We know the big boat and its accompanying geodesic dome make excellent camera fodder, but so does this TE21 Corolla. Good news: JCCS is returning to this location this year as well!
Behold, Joji Luz’s newly restored Toyota Sports 800, another Toyotafest debut. Believe it or not, the Publica-based sports car was commonly found zipping around race tracks in the 60s, in heated competition against its main rival, the Honda S800.
The Toyota USA Museum has a number of Land Cruisers in its collection, including this handsomely restored long-wheelbase FJ45. We cannot overstate how much we love two-tone paint schemes.
Don’t you just love vintage badges? It somehow manages to look both stately and rugged at the same time. We find it much more alluring than the modern “Toyota” logo, which is simply typed in the Helvetica font available in Microsoft Word.
PJ Bonifacio‘s flared and bagged MX36 Cressida Wagon was another show stealer, wearing different shoes than it did at the Long Beach Grand Prix. Is it an old school family hauler, a restomodded wangan bandit, or both?
We love to see engines, especially if there’s been a lot of work put into them. However, open hoods tend to obscure a car’s clean lines, especially on Celicas, whose front-hinged bonnets look like unfurled frigate sails. This owner found a novel compromise!
MX73 Cressidas have, in recent years, gone from family sedan to college student beater to drift machine to shakotan sled. Deep minus barrels are practically mandatory, but we dig the bosozoku style oil cooler and unicycle rack.
This Cressy boasted the useless but rare headlight washer option, supplied by a hose fed from the windshield washer reservoir. Subtle use of old school Toyota race colors is pretty rad as well.
Another green machine. PJ Bonifacio has a great eye for color, and his 4AGE-powered KP61 Starlet is beautifully stanced like a mean, green Japanese mountain goat, ready for a hillside touge battle.
Is the rare KP61 still not rare enough for you? Well you’re guaranteed to be the only one in your zip code with a Starlet Glanza V. Although it’s not strictly nostalgic (hailing from the mid-90s), the turbocharged, front-wheel-drive successor to the Japanese hot hatch is brimming with JDM goodness. We cannot think of a better ginsu knife in which to slice through traffic on the 101.
Of course, Mooneyes is a regular at this show, rolling in with two generations one and two of the Toyota/Toyopet Crown. You may remember our recent post on the controversy the yellow Toyopet S30 generated in the street rod community when they first built it.
For the most part, Toyotafest goers are incredibly civilized and well behaved. Which is too bad, because we would have loved to hear what a Honda S2000‘s F20C sounds like blaring from a straight side-dump exhaust at 9000rpm.
The Corolla FX, bane of every hachiroku hunter. Hatchback? Yes. 1987? Yes. Twin cam? Yes. But it’s not an AE86. It’s a front-wheel-drive hot hatch powered by the same 4AG.
To be perfectly honest, we’ve always been turned off by the FX because of what it represented (the disappearance of RWD Corollas), but this is the sickest one we’ve ever seen. We’ve loved it since we first laid eyes on it, when beem posted it in the JNC forum.
Speaking of FF Corollas, AE92 sedans were something we never thought would be cool. Shows how much we know! These little numbers are really coming into their own, especially dressed up in fender mirrors, JDM corner lights an TOM’S aero discs. But the AE101. That will never be cool… or will it?
We’ve seen Kirk Hubbard’s Toyota Century at a number of shows, but we never tire of it. Old school gangster menace at its finest.
ABC Hobby was on hand with their latest body, the Celica Liftback. If you look closely, the five-banana taillights actually light up. Cooler than a Christmas tree!
A study in contrasts: FJ80 Land Cruiser dwarfs blue peanut. Seriously, this monster could barely fit down the narrow lanes as it pulled into the show. As Kev would say, it’s a key part of our Zombie Plan.
More contrasts: Ivan “Ironman” Stewart‘s Baja truck and a Toyopet Crown, both part of Toyota USA’s collection. Remember Super Off-Road, the arcade game? This truck served as the inspiration, and we feel that it owes us about $3800.25 in squandered quarters.
Macho, macho man! The fifth-generation Toyota Corona was known as the macho machine in the Philippines, based on the catch copy of a popular advertisement. This car was so newly put together, the stickers were still on the tires.
Robert Co‘s brilliant 1975 Corona Hardtop made its debut at Toyotafest and promptly walked away with a ton of awards, including the highly coveted Best in Show, as well as the not-so-coveted JNC award (but he did get a limited edition AE86 Heritage shirt to make up for it!).
Not only is the car rare as a slice of bloody cow, it’s wearing a super rare HKS 18R-G Turbo manifold and a number of other obscure parts, not to mention that the build was absolutely flawless. Congrats, Robert!
We have plenty more coverage coming soon. Stay tuned…
Also, check out coverage from Toyotafest 2009, 2008, and 2007.
Great pics guys. Did you see any cool Cresida wagons (besides the JNC wagon.)?
Oh yeah, and that wicked gold one was cool also.
Seeing that Macho Machine gave me chills. Don’t see too many of them around even here in the Philippines. What a beauty!
Meh, I wanna see some rods with all the original OEM equipment, not with Frankenstein transplants and hellaflush mods.
^ hater bad for health
Where can I see more of that awesome Corona?
good stuff, keep it coming
those Toyota Sports sound like half a Subaru or 1/3 of a 911.
We all want More!
Nigel: There were several cool wagons, we’ll post them in later installments. We didn’t bring the JNC wagon though. There was a different car gracing the JNC booth…. 😉
cesariojpn: There were some very nice stock restorations as well, which we will show in later installments. But modifications are an integral part of the Japanese car culture, so we should celebrate it. In particular, the ’75 Corona was about as close to period correct as you can get, which is why we gave it the JNC award. It was a tough choice between that and the green Celica.
Sexy Hammer: We did a photo shoot with the Corona, so it will be in an upcoming JNC!
Great coverage as always!
Nigel: There were several cool wagons, we’ll post them in later installments. We didn’t bring the JNC wagon though. There was a different car gracing the JNC booth….
Ben- Did said gracer happen to be an old Crown?
cesariojpn-Myself, I like the subtly modified, mostly stock but packing some heat sleeper look!
More More More!!! I need more pics!
I’ll be there next year in my RA21. This I vow.
Awesome coverage guys, can’t wait to see more. I love the direction people are taking with their builds, so many great cars.
I love the Corona!! Piece of a Japanese street machine,long live Japanese Classics!!!