Me included. I want an excuse not to get the new Mustang GT350. Feed me, Toyota!Agreed. Besides the people who are following every bit of news religiously (like on this forum), most of the stuff I read online are people doubting the FT-1 is the next Supra or doubting that Toyota will be making a flagship sports car. If they put out an official statement or a "Supra concept" I bet a lot of people would start holding off on purchases of other cars.
I'm not surprised, the FT1 concept actually does look like a supercar. Design wise it definitely rivals the NSX. I dont know about the GT. They set a high bar for the production version tho. I hope they can live up to it.This booth at the auto show had as many people as the NSX and Ford GT, car looks simply amazing, why it is not to market yet I don't know...
THE DOWNHOME ALL-COMERS TOYOTA GATHERING CELEBRATES ITS 20TH YEAR
Vintage Japanese cars will have their day in the sun and on the auction blocks one day, with absurd prices paid for collector cars and maybe even a class or two at Pebble Beach. But that day is not here yet. Right now events in the Japanese collector car sceneare still pretty intimate -- almost like family gatherings.
One of the best of these is the annual Toyotafest, held each year on a small patch of grass next door to the Queen Mary.
“It’s non-competitive,” said Mike Bingham of Cabe Toyota in Long Beach (Long Beach Blvd. and the 405!), long-time sponsor of the event. “The vintage Toyota scene is kind of small. It’s not like a Mustang show.”
Toyotafest is presented by T.O.R.C., the Toyota Owner's and Restorer's Club, surely one of the best club acronyms ever devised. The club was founded 20 years ago, with the first Toyotafest held that first year.
While there were a couple hundred cool Toyotas at this year’s fest, with a couple hundred more turned away, the show first started two decades ago with just 10 or 20 people at Moonlight State Beach in Carlsbad, Bingham said. It lasted two years there. Then “…I had some friends at the Queen Mary,” Bingham said, and the show had a new home. Those first Queen Mary gatherings were held in the ship’s parking lot on asphalt. There were usually 30 or 40 Toyotas for the first six years. Then, “…I saw a Rolls-Royce club show at (Harry Bridges Memorial) Park.” So they moved it and from there it “…just kind of grew and grew,” said Bingham.
The park was next to the parking lot just off the port bow of the Queen Mary. It’s so close to the big boat that photographers try to get the cars and the ship in the same shot. It’s not too hard to do. The park is on the water (just like Pebble!) and it has grass (also just like Pebble!), but the grass isn’t in the best shape given the drought in California. No one’s complaining, though. The show is free to all, no entrance fee. In fact, the only way they recoup any costs is by charging cars $40 to park on the grass and be part of the show.
It’s a diverse cast of cars, from the shiny and the pristine (one 1970 Crown had velvet ropes around it) to daily driver beaters, Tercels and Starlets.
“Yeah, there are some beaters but that’s part of the scene,” said Bingham. “The history of these, they were just drivers. You talk to people and they say, ‘I just drove it and drove it and drove it.”
The most popular cars at the show were the sports cars, and there were plenty of those. A couple rows of MR2s covered all generations of that two-seater. There were Mister 2s with Lambo doors and elaborate paint jobs. Various generations of the AE86, from the last rear-drive Corolla to the modern Scion FRS, were parked on the lawn. There wereSupras everywhere, mostly the last generation. There were Scions of every ilk, with xBs being the most popular. There was even a custom one-off xB pickup truck with an open bed.
Rarely seen Toyotas included a 1984 Century and a 1970 Crown. You don’t see those every day. The Crown belonged to Janet and Duane Fujimoto and was meticulously restored from a deserted shell that saw most of the car in pieces before it wound up with a late-90s 3.0-liter Supra powertrain. T.O.R.C. likes modifying cars as much as restoring them, and there were numerous examples of really cool engine mods throughout the show.
The Toyota USA Automobile Museum in nearby Torrance has been supporting Toyotafest for several years. This year museum staff brought everything from an original Toyopet, the first car Toyota tried to sell in the U.S. - to the #99 IMSA GTP racer driven by PJ Jones and Juan Fangio. Toyota Motor Sales brought some of its SEMAshow cars, too.
Toyotafest remains a great opportunity to see some neat old Toyotas before interest in these cars takes off, maybe in a few years, maybe in a decade, maybe in two decades. But it will.