Twenty years. That’s how long the annual Toyotafest has been taking place, making it one of the longest running import-only car shows in SoCal. It’s easy to see why. Toyota is the world’s largest automaker and has accrued many loyal fans along the way in its 57 years in America.
JNC showed up bright and early to set up our booth. Our booth car was Dustin Enocum’s all-original AE86, one of the last remaining stock GT-S Corollas on earth. We met Dustin at AE86 Nights a few weeks ago and knew we had to have his car at Toyotafest.
Dustin even has the original window sticker and documentation. He says that the original owner didn’t even mention that he had these items when Dustin agreed to purchase the car. It was just handed over as a bonus after the deal was done. In 1985 the car started at $9,530, but went out the door for $11,138 including options like the $185 cassette player. Truly Made in the 80s!
Toyotafest includes Lexus and Scion vehicles as well, and our neighbors at Yokohama Tire, A’PEXi and Weds Wheels brought out a D1GP Lexus drift car while an airbagged VIP GS and Sienna SE lurked in the background.
Across from our booth were two Z20 Soarers, one of which came all the way from Arizona. Consider for a moment how sleek and futuristic these would have looked on the streets of 1986 America if Toyota had been able to sell them here.
Of course, no 80s Japanese luxury car would be complete with fitted embroidered seat covers, front and rear, and featuring a woven version of the model’s emblem, a gryphon in the Soarer’s case.
We saw Cressidas for days, prompting a discussion amongst the staff about how amazing it is that a 30 year old semi-luxury family sedan suddenly has a cult following. For children of the 80s, the equivalent might’ve been a tri-five Chevy Bel Air.
However, whereas shoebox Chevy owners veered toward hot rod culture, Cressida owners are at the forefront of adopting Japan’s bosozoku culture, exemplified here with a deppaspoiler, external oil cooler and takeyari exhaust pipes.
One of our favorite Cressidas was a blue beauty embodying the essence of Japanese style without being too shocking to American sensibilities. It’s not slammed, but just low enough to drag its tsurikawa.
Its integrated ducktail and team stickers (including the JNC inkan) in the window also lend an air of Tokyo cool.
Thirty years from now, what will the go-to custom car of choice be? Perhaps a contemporary Camry. These owners definitely adhered to the Three Laws of Stance by choosing something that won’t leave enthusiasts screaming “Why, God why!?” Instead, they made the otherwise ubiquitous family hauler all the more charming. Win-win.
Even the V20 Camry got in on the action, with a slick looking drop on some knockoff SSRs. The best part about this car is the fact that the owner started out with a base DX trim level, black bumpers and all…
While under the hood he crammed a 3S-GTE to lure unsuspecting WRXes to their stoplight drag deaths. This immediately injected dreams of a sleeper Camry Wagon into our sun-baked heads.
All members of the Toyotafest staff were outfitted in stylish shirts commemorating the show’s 20 years. Depicted on it was a Toyopet Crown, the company’s first car sold in the US, with the words “Enjoying Toyota since 1995” beneath.
One of the most amazing restorations at the event was this barikan Corona. Everything on it was painfully mint, from original floral print fabric upholstery (unfortunately the lighting conditions were not conducive to photographing it) to the labels on the air cleaner. The owner undertook the project because a Corona just like this was first car and he was feeling the nostalgia. Though he bought the most complete car he could, there was still much to be restored. For evidence just look at the condition of the original tool kit.
Read more at Japanese Nostalgic Car
Photos and Words by Ben Hsu