Event Coverage: Toyotafest 2012 T.O.R.C. Part II
First off, I do apologize for the delay between Toyotafest coverage articles. As the dean of our business school put it, the third biggest event of my life happened earlier this week and thus concluded my academic career as I know it. Graduation demonstrated that life moves pretty fast and the world of automotive media is no exception (pun intended). However, Toyotafest is always one of my favorite events of the year, so I’m making an exception to deliver the extensive coverage that I got at the event.
If you remember from my first post, by the time I had finished, I had just started making my way onto the grassy section of Toyotafest, home to your AE86s, 4AGs, RA22s, ST185s, SW20s, and 2JZs. This is where the real fun begins.
Ford and Dodge may have been in the truck game much longer than Toyota, but the Tundra, Tacoma, and international Hilux have earned themselves a name for their enduring strength and reliability. The geniuses over at have themselves a project Tundra that you can check out and even the ham-fists of the blokes at Top Gear have attempted to destroy an already worn out Hilux to . I cannot claim to be an avid enthusiast of the truck world, but I do know what the words “TRD” and “supercharged” mean and I tend to like their results.
I’ll be upfront, as a Spyder owner myself, I was flat-out disappointed by the lack of ZZW30s at Toyotafest. I’ll be changing that as soon as I can. Fortunately, Toysport are a step ahead of me and had brought out one of the few examples of the last generation of MR2 – bedecked in TRD goodies.
I can still remember playing with the MR2 online configurator before the car was canceled. I always built my car in Solar Yellow with the TRD quickshifter, springs, and strut bar. Without having the faintest idea what any of those things did…
Editing this photo made me really like the look of a dark grey/black Spyder. Red may be fast, but this dark grey/black is downright mean.
Introduced in 1972, the Celica GTV (with the “V” standing for “victory”) came from the factory with a firmer suspension and trimmed interior – a predecessor to the likes of tuner-prepared packages such as Subaru’s WRX TR (Tuner Ready). I had to stealth into a few vintage Japanese car forums to bring myself up to speed on the subject, but I believe what we have here is a highly modified Toyota 3K-R with the twin cam head and assorted parts from Tom’s and TRD.
However, as clean as the little blue coupe was, there was some even rarer metal lurking on the grass…
But we’ll have to come back to that in a second. I was stumbling onto some more Toyota history here and I wasn’t even aware of what I was looking at.
A fastback variation of the Corolla, this KE15 Sprinter was in immaculate condition for a car nearly 40 years old.
Running an equally clean 2T-G engine with thermal-wrapped headers, this Sprinter could definitely live up to its name. Considered the JDM equivalent of a Chevy small block back in the day, the 2TG started at 115HP and featured a hemispherical combustion chamber design (sounds like HEMI to me). Ultimately, the T-series engine began Toyota’s legacy for twin-cam power through wins in both Formula and WRC racing.
I won’t lie, definitely had some help identifying this car before I had to turn to the interwebs. And again, where did all the beautiful emblems go?
While this little baby had its name written all over it as well, I needed no badge or website to tell me what this was.
The Toyota KP61 Starlet, first sold in the US in 1981, ran power from Toyota’s K-series engine to the rear wheels achieving some 40 – 52mpg. Of course, with the TRD widebody-esque fenders, paint, and engine this example was running, I don’t think mileage was the primary area of emphasis…
Most definitely not stock.
If you’re searching for a Starlet of your own to build, look for pre-1984 models, before Toyota swapped the FR layout for the less exciting FF. And if you do happen to get your hands on one, do let us know because the Starlet tiptoed onto the scales around 1720 – 1760lbs and the potential for some staggeringly awesome power to weight ratios is off the charts.
After marveling at the Starlet for quite some time and enjoying the shade it was parked in, I decided to let myself loose on the car that had put not just Toyota, but Japan on worldwide automotive notice.
Up until the 2000GT, Japanese automakers, especially Toyota, had been known for producing disgustingly practical, but never exciting cars. “Beige” if you will. Cue Japan’s first supercar, a car compared to the Porsche 911 (insurmountable praise at the time for any car), a car James Bond rolled in, and a car the recently passed Carroll Shelby once built to compete in .
With its cockpit tucked far behind the curvaceously low-slung hood (now classic sports car dimensions), the 2000GT evoked some of the lines of the beauty that was and is the Jaguar E-Type.
While the pre-production copies were busy on the show circuit, Toyota was showing the 2000GT the ropes on the track. Developed in conjunction with Yamaha, the 2000GT’s 2.0L 3M inline-6 produced roughly 150bhp with the help of a specially designed head and aluminum sump – and pushed the 2000GT to break 16 FIA-sanctioned international speed records in a single, rainy 72-hour endurance run.
You always have to take a breather after a car like the 2000GT breaches your senses. I walked around in a bit of a daze after witnessing machinery of such significance. Fortunately, there were many more incredible first gen Celica’s to bring me back to Earth.
Honestly, Toyotafest could very easily become a concours event. While a number of cars still had the slightest hint of grass bits blown up from the field, this GT acted like it didn’t even have the word “grass” in its dictionary.
While every possible kind of first gen Celica was proudly displayed, there were many more GTs than STs and while I fundamentally understood that the GT was generally a sportier/more upscale trim than the ST, I didn’t know what the exact differences in specs were. With the GT package, customers got upgraded to a five-speed manual gearbox, power windows, stereo FM radio, and fatter tires. Important differences, but not quite enough for a whole different trim in my opinion.
I usually, actually never do this, but I’m going break my own rules and post two pictures from essentially the same angle. Why? Because Celica! With its quad headlamps and swan/dragon emblem, first gen Celicas are maddeningly polarizing from the front.
“Honey aren’t those old Ford Mustangs? I thought this was a Toyota-only show?”
Sorry ma’am. Close, but no cigar. No need to worry though, one could be forgiven for that error. In ’75, Toyota slightly revised the front and rear fascia of the Celica, paying homage to the styling cues of the pony car that started it all, the Ford Mustang.
If there was ever a JDM muscle car, this would be it. Sure other cars may have had more actual muscle from the get-go, but no Japanese car identifies with the image and heritage of the American muscle car scene as well as the ’75-77 Celica.
However, taking the time to look at and admire the Celica reveals a very traditional sense of Japanese constraint. While their American counterparts (Challengers, Cudas, GTOs, etc.) were meant to quite literally shove the air out of the way, the Celica is a touch more refined. An extra angle here, a nip and a tuck there…
Reveals a squared-off muscle car in chains, caught within the confines of an ever so slightly more aerodynamic body. Regarding this fine example, I think the only thing I would have done differently is align the “GT” emblem off to the right.
Honestly, I wasn’t sure there was an end to the first gen Celicas. They sort of just went on and on until I finally walked into the ‘80s.
Another “close, but no cigar” moment for this 1983 Celica GT-S liftback. With the TRD parts this guy was rocking, I’m sure his top speed was a little better than 88mph…
Stock from the factory with the reliable 22R/RE engine, Toyota introduced the GT-S into the Celica line in 1982 to try to re-inject some excitement into the continually fattening Celica.
While the 22R/RE’s forged crankshaft is a thing of incredibly durable beauty, owners highly suggest the use of forced induction for power figures over 250whp. Which is great and all, but what they really should’ve told me is what the eff the Celica’s badge is. Swan dragon or dragon swan? At this point, I’m just going to take the initiative and call it the swagon so live with that.
I had to remind myself that it was Toyotafest, not Celicafest and eventually moved onto the hachirokus. Arguably one of Toyota’s most beloved enthusiast cars, the 86 was made famous by the likes of a certain tofu delivery boy and a Mr. Keiichi Tsuchiya.
A 4AG in its proper place. Take no notice of any , , , or parts, but goddamn is that clear cam gear cover pretty.
While I do know that I much prefer the pop-up headlights of the Trueno to the fixed lamps of the Levin, I really can’t decide which body style of 86 I’m a bigger fan of.
This picture made me think of that bit in Transformers where Shia LeBouf asks Megan Fox to say “double overhead camshaft” to him over the phone. If there are any 86 owners out there, please call your girlfriend and/or mistress and ask them to whisper “GT-S twin cam 16 valve” in your ear. Tell me how it goes. Or don’t. I may not want to know…
On the subject of 86s, if anybody has more information on the Takumi Project, or what happened to it, please do let us know in the comments or on Facebook. From forums, it seems that they dealt in used rims out of Japan, but their website is currently down…
It’s really not very common that I come across a car with parts that I have absolutely never seen before, but this little white Levin sedan pulled it off. If you’re unfamiliar with TOMS (please excuse the SAT analogy), in so many words, is to Toyota as Spoon is to Honda.
With real time racing knowledge and data from years and years of campaigning Supras, MR2s, and SC430s in , TOMS knows a thing or two about making a Toyota run quickly. However, I had not the slightest idea that they had made wheels. Scouring some forums, it seemed that OZ Racing may have produced the wheels for TOMS, but I’m not entirely sure at this point (google search “oz racing rally wheels” and you’ll know what I’m talking about).
This is it. The Big Bang. Toyota’s first production sports car. This is where all the fun began. This is 10,000 B.B. aka 10,000 Before Beige. One of the first production cars to feature a targa roof, the Sports 800’s 800cc boxer engine could push the little car up to 100mph on the track.
Proudly sitting next to its great grandfather was the FR-S. My how time has changed and cars have grown.
Back in 1965, when the Sports 800 debuted, the car cost a little over $1600 USD and was reported to get around 45 mpg! Something seems backwards here. For a good comparison of what over 50 years of progressive advances in technology have produced, look at the following picture.
Now representing what 50+ years of progressive advances in technology have actually produced, we have the FR-S. That lady over there must be pondering the same thing.
For all I’ve just bemoaned about our gas mileage and our increasingly heavy cars, it is still truly amazing how far the automotive industry has come. Where refined craftsmen once hammered and hand shaped metal to their trained eye, we now have precision lasers and presses. Where cars were once designed by protractors and rulers, we now have curves and wind tunnels. Progress may not always be forward, but damn does it look good on the way.
Dropping back down to Earth from the clouds of Toyota’s sport compact world, I began moving my way into the heavy machinery and the artillery, starting from the beginning again with second gen Celica Supra.
Identical underneath the bonnet, the Celica Supra was separated into P and L-Type trims (for Performance and Luxury respectively). While the P-Type came with 8-way adjustable seats and headlight washers, the L-Type featured a digital dash and trip computer that could display mpg, ETA, and even distance to destination – sorcery back in the ‘80s.
But enough waffling, babbling, and beating around the bush. As fantastic as they were in their own historical rights, even the 2000GT and Sports 800 could not match the excitement the next set of cars generated in this editor. This is the car that brought me into the scene, cradled me in the glory of its forced induction, nursed my lack of faith with its everlasting good looks, and forced itself upon me as the golden standard for all cars to come. My friends, I bring you the MKIV Toyota Supra…
For next time and part 3! Hooray teaser!