The 21st Annual Toyotafest show was held in Long Beach, California on May 7, 2016, with the iconic Queen Mary serving as the show’s vintage backdrop. Toyotafest, which is hosted each year by TORC (Toyota Owner’s and Restorer’s Club), is known as the largest West Coast gathering of Toyota cars. Examples vary over a wide range of entries; old school, modified retro-rods, restorations-in-progress, and fully restored vehicles are present, along with modified current-model cars. This event brings together diehards from around the world – their common interest is the love of all things Toyota.
This year’s event went back to its roots as TORC directors made the decision to acknowledge each owner’s efforts within their selected category of participation and recognize individuals for outstanding and/or unique work, in an effort to lessen the idea of the event being a competition. In years past, Toyotafest was a car show with typical first-, second-, or third-place awards in specific categories.
The 2016 edition of Toyotafest was also bittersweet for the company and its loyal owners in the Southern California area; this is the last Toyotafest before the company makes the move to their new headquarters in Plano, Texas. Within the past few months, Toyota has made headlines not only on the corporate move, but also by restructuring their branding as the Scion nameplate fell victim to the fickle nature of the automotive market. Toyotafest 2016 marked the last event where Toyota Motor Sales USA contributes to the event with three brands.
Next year, only Toyota and Lexus will be present as the Scion brand will dissolve into the Toyota family. Noted as a final farewell party for the Scion brand, the marketing team pulled out all the stops and displayed the best SEMA cars in Scion’s 10 year history including the FIVE:AD speedster, the original xB DJ car, Air Runner-equipped Kogi BBQ xD, and many more.
To say the turnout was huge was an understatement. Classic Toyotas like the 2000GT, Publica, Celica, Land Cruiser, AE86, MR2, and Supra were present, while the newer-generation Scion FR-S and VIP Lexus models also jam-packed the venue from the shoreline to the parking lot; nearly 500 cars were on display this day.
This resto-mod ’70 Crown gathered crowds of people throughout the day. It made its first car show appearance less than two years ago, and within that short time frame has managed to rack up an impressive number of awards. At first glance it’s pretty obvious why – it’s been built from the ground up, and the entire suspension, brakes, interior and exterior were custom-built and fabricated to new design specs. The engine bay received a jolt in horsepower with the aid of a 2JZ-GE.
“When Duane Tomono and I decided to build this Crown, we wanted to maintain the original, classic appearance of the car but with a bit more in the horsepower department using a 2JZ,” says vehicle owner Janet Fujimoto.
Noteworthy from this year’s event was the re-emergence of this award-winning Supra owned by Lisa and Ryan Uchida. Prior to its debut here, the car sat tucked away in storage for six years. When the Uchidas decided last-minute to display their work of art, all they did was simply dust off their timeless classic and refuel before taking the trek to Long Beach. Flawless in both quality and build, this ’97 anniversary edition Mark IV has a laundry list of HKS parts installed; the turbo, fuel system, and camshafts are all HKS-branded.
Moving along, it became obvious that this event was all about variety as show-worthy vehicles were parked side-by-side with Bosozoku-inspired machines. For those unfamiliar with the word Bosozoku, the term originated from Japan as cars driven by Japanese gangs. Bosozoku style cars are extravagant in appearance in every way from the large over fenders and front air dams to the monstrous wings and exhaust tips that jettison straight into the air from the rear bumper. This owner took it to the next level and wrapped the interior with purple crush velvet. Definitely a car that makes you wonder!
Dubbed the Panda 86, this Scion was built as an all-purpose track machine. Equipped with a Jackson Racing Rotrex C30 supercharger, HKS header, and Invidia exhaust, the boxer engine now makes 394.2 whp and 279.4 lb-ft wheel torque. Exterior modifications include 18X10.25-inch XXR 557 wheels and a Rocket Bunny V1 wide body kit. Interior upgrades consisted of Corbeau LG1 buckets, racing harnesses, STRI gauges, custom dash, and a full CT Sounds audio system.
Among the hundreds of Toyotas on the property is this rare ’65 Toyota Publica convertible owned by Sam Carbaugh. The vehicle has been in the family ever since it was purchased in Tokyo; the family was stationed there in the ’60s. Sam has fully restored the car down to its 800cc air-cooled flat two-cylinder engine which delivers a mind blowing 45 hp.
Perhaps the most expensive car at this year’s show was the ’67 Toyota 2000GT. The 2000GT was pulled from Toyota USA’s Automobile Museum. Modeled as a high performance grand touring sports car, only 337 2000GT’s were produced and only 54 vehicles were imported to North America.
The 2000GT set three world records and 13 international speed records back in the day and won numerous SCCA class C races as part of Carroll Shelby’s Shelby Racing team against competitors like Porsche, Lotus, Triumph, and Datsun. In 2013, a LHD ’67 sold to the tune of 1.16 million dollars, making it the new record holder for the most expensive Asian car ever sold.
If you missed it this year make sure you make plans to attend next year, as without surprise, Toyotafest continues to grow in participation and spectators every year and promises to deliver a full spectrum of cars from mild to wild for the Toyota enthusiast.