EVENTS: AE86 Nights 9th Anniversary

053-IMG_9720_Toyota AE86 Corolla

What started as a small gathering of enthusiasts of the last RWD Corolla eight years ago has grown into a gathering that attracts hundreds of cars from all over southern California. It all started with the beloved Hachiroku, and the types of cars that AE86 Nights has attracted over the years has changed dramatically, but it’s still a very specific type of car. It’s a bit hard to explain, but you’ll see what we mean when you see the gallery of images. 

009-IMG_9657_Toyota Cressida X80069-IMG_9755_Mazda RX7 SA22 FB

The home of the AE86 Nights anniversary bashes, for the last few years at least, has been Longo Toyota-Lexus, one of the largest movers of Aichi steel in North America. Feeding the suburban Los Angeles’s insatiable appetite for hyper-reliable, comfortable cruisers for their hours-long, gridlocked commutes, it is one of the largest car dealerships in the world.

034-IMG_9694_Toyota Celica A40065-IMG_9749_Toyota AE86 & Cressida Wagon & Nissan Skyline R32 & Celica ST205

This year, the show moved to the five-level parking garage on the dealer premises. While its general darkness made photography difficult, the venue provided a lot more space and a little bit of the feeling of a Tokyo Drift scene.

029-IMG_9677_Toyota AE86 Corolla GTS coupe027-IMG_9739_Toyota Celica A60

Many of the cars present wouldn’t exactly be award winners at shows like Toyotafest or JCCS. Some were clearly rescues that would have been sent to the crusher had it not been for the owners that recognized them for what they were. Were they on their way to restoration and a new life? Who knows. But their imperfections are proof that one can still have drive, tinker and have fun with a JNC.

006-IMG_9652_Toyota AE86 Corolla Levin003-IMG_9649_Toyota Celica 1600GTV A20 TA22008-IMG_9656_Toyota AE86 Corolla GTS hatch

Others, however, were not only show quality but cars that could be considered the finest examples of their breed. Unlike what you’d find at the typical cars and coffees in SoCal, these cars could have been purchased when new by any kid with a minimum wage job. Many still can be. But their owners still lavished them with the restoration and detailing found on cars worth ten times as much.

011-IMG_9661_Toyota AE86 Corolla058-IMG_9726_Nissan Maxima 810052-IMG_9718_Toyota Cressida X70

Back in the day the meet would consist of purely AE86s, with perhaps the odd 4AG-powered brethren in the form of an AW11 MR2. Then it began expanding to older rear-drive Corolla models, E70 E30 and E20 chassis. Next came the other RWD Toyotas — Celicas, Supras, Cressidas. Non-Aichi steel is welcome too, with early Mazda RX-7s, Datsun wagons, and Cressida lookalike 810 Maximas filling the floor.

012-IMG_9662_Toyota Cressida X70 & Land Cruiser FJ60 & Scion FRS001-IMG_9647_Chevy Nova Toyota Corolla E80010-IMG_9659_Toyota Supra A70038-IMG_9746_Toyota Van

But even with the presence of early sport compacts like EF Civics, Subaru Imprezas and front- and all-wheel-drive Celicas, one thing’s for sure: 80s Toyotas still dominate. From NUMMI Novas to the capital-V Van, it was like being transported back to the future. The selection of cars really made us feel as if we were playing the best part of Gran Turismo —when you’re just starting out and don’t have loads of credits to spend.

030-IMG_9687_Toyota MR2 SW20068-IMG_9754_Toyota Cressida X70 wagon

Ultimately, it was the convivial nature of the gathering — no trophies, no snobbery, no drama — that made AE86 Nights one of the most enjoyable meets in SoCal.

Bonus Images:

042-IMG_9706_Toyota AE86 Corolla coupe004-IMG_9650_Toyota Celica 1600GTV A20 TA22 005-IMG_9651_Toyota Celica 1600GTV A20 TA22 015-IMG_9666_Toyota AE86 Corolla 019-IMG_9690_Toyota Cressida X70 wagon & Mazda RX7 SA22 FB 021-IMG_9668_Datsun 610 wagon 022-IMG_9669_Toyota Celica A20 024-IMG_9672_Toyota AE86 Corolla & FJ Cruiser 025-IMG_9674_Toyota Celica A60 033-IMG_9730_Datsun 280ZX S130 038-IMG_9699_Toyota Van & AE86 coupe 039-IMG_9703_Mazda MX5 Miata NA 040-IMG_9704_Toyota Corolla E70 044-IMG_9710_Toyota AE86 Corolla GTS hatch 045-IMG_9712_Toyota Corolla E70 046-IMG_9713_Toyota AE86 Corolla hatch 047-IMG_9715_Toyota Corolla TE27 E20 wagon 048-IMG_9716_Toyota Cressida X60 & Hilux 051-IMG_9728_Toyota Cressida X60 055-IMG_9722_Toyota AE86 Corolla GTS 059-IMG_9727_Nissan Maxima 810 060-IMG_9732_Toyota AE86 Corolla GTS 061-IMG_9737_Toyota MR2 AW11 063-IMG_9744_Subaru Impreza Outback wagon 064-IMG_9745_Honda Civic EF 072-IMG_9759_Toyota AE86 Corolla 075-IMG_9762_Toyota Corolla TE27 076-IMG_9765_Toyota AE86 Corolla GTS078-IMG_9768_Toyota Corolla E70 084-IMG_9775_Toyota Celica A40077-IMG_9766_Toyota Corolla All-Trac wagon

For more AE86 Nights, see our coverage from 2015, 2013, and 2012.

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10 Responses to EVENTS: AE86 Nights 9th Anniversary

  1. Steve says:

    Coolness!! Huh! I never even knew this existed. Another car show to plan to attend next year!!!

  2. Taylor says:

    Oh man! Love this! Such eye candy.

    I’ve even seen that blue couple with the wrinkle in the front quarter for sale on CL (though, not currently). Really wanted to pick that up (alas, funds).

  3. Nigel says:

    Wait, I saw a GX61 and a later Tercel !

  4. Jason Carpp says:

    Awesome Toyotas! My favourite cars have always been the AE86 Corolla, the final generation of the (US market) Toyota Cressida, I love the first generation Celica, both the GT and the ST. I also like the first generation Celica Supra. I also like the first generation Cressida.

  5. Dattokai says:

    Do you guys need help with license plate editing? I can do that for you.

  6. BlitzPig says:

    I’m so jealous of you folks out west.

    None of the early cars exist in my area of the mid west. Winter took them all.

    I’d love to have an early Corolla or 1st. gen Celica, almost bought one new, but that’s another story.

    Enjoy what you have, they are precious few in my world.

  7. Yoda says:

    There’s an All-Trac left!?! Those suffer from the same issue Loyales did – people who bought them mainly lived in snowy areas and drove them, hard, in road salt.

  8. Ant says:

    Always end up liking completely unexpected cars in these posts. This time it’s the TownAce/MasterAce/Space Cruiser/whatever it’s called over there. Looks at once completely out of place yet completely at home among the other cars.

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