Sponsored by Toyota and Lexus, the Toyota Owners and Restorers Club held its 24th Annual All Toyotafest on a cool June Saturday in Long Beach, California. The 2019 event gathered thousands of enthusiasts and about 600 cars from across the country and Canada. Vehicles on display ranged from restored classics to wild customs to the highly anticipated all-new 2020 Toyota Supra, which will cost about $50,000.
24th Annual All Toyotafest Photo Gallery
Classic Toyota Land Cruisers continue to gain popularity and there were many on display, from restored originals to modified examples. Our favorite was Gino De Felicis’ 1975 FJ40, which looks stock but is powered by a Chevy 350 small-block backed by the stock Toyota four-speed transmission. Notice the Japanese license plate.
Sold from 1990 to 1997, the J80 generation of the Toyota Land Cruisers is basically indestructible, and these trucks are fast becoming very popular with young enthusiasts. The styling of these trucks is aging extremely well, and we were taken by the beautiful condition and tough stance of Harold Lacson’s 1997 limited-edition 40th Anniversary example. Then we learned the SUV has been driven 214,000 miles, incredible.
Overlanding continues to grow in popularity, and there were several Toyota pickups outfitted for overlanding on display. This Tacoma was in the Rago Fabrication booth, and it was equipped for a serious excursion, with a lifted suspension, a snorkel, upgraded lighting, steel bumpers, and skid plates, plus that three-bedroom two-bath on the roof. Looks like fun.
Toyota 4Runners, both new and old, remain a big part of the off-road scene, and these SUVs were very well-represented at this year's show. This 2015 4Runner SR5 Premium belongs to Charles Sullano, and it’s heavily modified with a lifted suspension, 17-inch Bronze wheels, a wild high-clearance front bumper, rock sliders, skid plates, a roof rack, a lightbar, and more. It’s part Mad Max part Stormtrooper.
Scott Shin’s 2018 Toyota C-HR was one of the lowest and wildest SUVs at the show. The small, four-door crossover is pretty crazy looking straight from the factory, but Shin turned it up a few notches with a Toyota Japan front bumper and Modellista Ice Elegance body kit. He also added a TRD air intake and a long list of chassis and suspension upgrades from Cusco, including front and rear sway bars.
In our coverage of the 2017 event, we included a photo of Jack Russo’s black 1987 Toyota pickup, an exact replica of the truck Michael J. Fox drives at the end of the 1980s blockbuster "Back to the Future." This year, Alan Dreiman brought out his replica of the movie truck, complete with the banner. Love the MCFLY1N license plate.
Toyota's former Scion division is of course also welcome at this event, and the brand’s tC coupe was very well represented. Adrian Finones’ 2016 Scion tC looked great slammed on its Airforce suspension and deep dish wheels. Other mods include a NIA body kit, a diffuser, drilled brake rotors, an aftermarket exhaust system, and racing seats.
Ever Ramirez says his two-wheel drive 1976 Toyota Hilux pickup is completely stock, wears its original paint, and is still used to haul stuff once in while. Unrestored, unmolested, all original, clean examples of these classic Toyota pickups, especially four-wheel drive versions, are radically increasing in value by the minute.
Hot rod Prius? Sort of. There were about a dozen modified Prius hybrids at this year's show, and one of the most expressive was Henry Sheu’s 2015 model. The car's list of modifications is longer than a New York City phone book and includes Lexus RX 350 headlights, an Aim Gain front bumper and rear spoiler, TK-R side skirts and rear bumper, an air suspension, Cusco chassis braces, 19-inch wheels, an HKS intake, and a Kenwood head unit.
Is there any doubt that Lou Bircheff’s 1983 Toyota Starlet two-door liftback is the finest surviving example of the economy car in the country? One of just 6,717 Starlets sold in the USA that year at a base price of $6,088, it’s powered by a 58-hp 1.3-liter engine and a four-speed manual transmission that was rated for incredible fuel economy: 44 mpg in the city and 54 mpg on the highway.
One of our favorite classics at this years event was Patrick Arakawa’s 1968 Toyota Corona. Owned by one family from 1968 to 2018, the car is all original except for the dash cover and a single repaint in the late 1980s. It has just over 50,000 miles on it and was in storage from 1995 until last year when Arakawa got it running. That’s right, it was a barn find. Everything, even the original radio, still works.
This year, Toyota has introduced an all-new version of its perennially popular small car, the Corolla. It’s sleeker and more aggressively styled than before, but more importantly, it’s more fun to drive. The Corolla is no longer the poster child for boring. This one looks good on a set of dark TRD 18-inch wheels and beefy tires.
The second generation of the mid-engine Toyota MR2 sports car continues to gain popularity. And there was a large pack of the two-seaters at this year's show. Russell Turnbull’s 1994 MR2, which was brought to Long Beach all the way from British Columbia, is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 from a RAV4 and a supercharger from a Lotus Exige. Other mods include a Greddy exhaust, Koni shocks, TRD springs, and Recaro seats.
Lexus built the rear-wheel drive SC coupe from 1992 to 2000, and it's remained popular with enthusiasts. Many were displayed at Toyotafest including this clean 2JZGE-powered 1998 SC300 owned by Ren Molnar. The car has most of its original paint, has been driven over 200,000 miles, and has just been converted from an automatic transmission to a five-speed manual.
This fall, Toyota will offer this special version of its 86 sports car called the Limited Hakone Edition. These cars will get special Hakone Green paint, bronze 17-inch wheels, and tan leather and black Alcantara interiors. The car is in honor of the Hakone Turnpike, a twisty Japanese road two hours southwest of Tokyo known for its challenging corners.
Every generation of the Toyota Celica has a following, but these first generation cars, sold from 1971 to 1977, have become extremely popular and very collectible. And there were many examples at Toyotafest. Our favorite was this 1971 example owned by Joji Luz. It’s perfect.
The 2020 Lexus RC F Track Edition is the quickest, most powerful, and most track-capable Lexus since the brand’s V10-powered LFA supercar. The high-performance coupe is rear-wheel drive and powered by a naturally aspirated 472-hp 5.0-liter V8. Lexus is only going to build “around 400” RC F Track Editions and will import just 50 into the United States. Each will cost $97,675.
This year's big news is the return of the Toyota Supra, so Supras were a big deal at this year's show. Our favorite first-gen Supra was this 1979 model owned by Anthony West, who has swapped in a 1UZFE double-overhead cam all-aluminum V8 from an early Lexus LS400. Everything else is stock, except for the nitrous bottle in the trunk.
Our favorite second-gen Supra was Gary Toomer’s immaculate 1984 model, which he bought new and has driven only 37,000 miles. He says it’s completely stock and original. These cars look better and better with every passing year, and they’re fast becoming favorites of collectors.
Sold from 1986 to 1993, the third-gen Supras still have a strong following. James Harb’s 1989 Supra looks stock but its turbocharged 7MGTE inline six-cylinder has been rebuilt for more power, and the car’s automatic transmission has been swapped to a manual. Harb has also modified the suspension and added larger brakes.
The fourth-generation of the Toyota Supra lasted in the United States from 1993 to 1998. Powered by the legendary 2JZ engine, these cars can make over 1000 hp when properly modified. Grand Hudson’s clean 1995 example wears a VIS Top Secret hood, VIS side skirts, TRD wing, JDM rear spats, Work wheels, and Yokohama tires. Under the hood, he added a Blitz intercooler and intake and an Apexi exhaust.
Toyota also brought out a bright blue example of its Tacoma TRD Pro, which is one of the most off-road-capable pickups you can buy. This truck comes from the factory with Bilstein shocks, a locking rear differential, skid plates, and that killer-looking snorkel. Base price is about $43,000.
There were enough lifted full-size Toyota Tundras as this year's show to put on a Monster Jam. This is Max Duong’s 2017 Tundra SR5, which has been lifted 7 inches and rides on 20-inch diameter wheels that are 10 inches wide and wear 35-inch-tall tires. Duong has also added billet control arms, a TRD cold air intake, and side steps, so he can get in the thing without a running start.
This is the first off-road Lexus LS400 we’ve ever seen, but we hope it’s not the last. The property of Natasha Adams, the four-door luxury sedan from 1990 rides on 31-inch off-road tires and wears a windshield banner that reads: MUD-A LUXE ANTI VIP VIP CLUB. The TRD Off Road decals on the quarter panels are a nice touch.