Amelia Island Concours D'Elegance & RADwood
For the first time ever the Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance played host to RADwood thanks to the car crazed people in charge of Hagerty. Along with RADwood there were sections for Concours d' Lemons and Cars and Community; an elevated take on the usual cars and coffee events we all love. For those who may not know about RADwood, it is essentially a celebration of cars from the 80's and 90's, with everything from high-end poster cars of yesterday, to well kept econoboxes and all that exists in-between. Of course I went Toyota hunting, the purpose for making the trip was for two reasons, first to enjoy seeing Matt's AE86 take part in RADwood, and secondly to enjoy the awesomeness that is Amelia Island. Unfortunately I missed out on Sunday's display of Toyota heritage vehicles like the 2000GT, Sports 800, and Publica; but it doesn't mean I didn't find a few gems of different values.
The FJ40 is possibly the first Toyota to really have a following that was respected at a high-end level. The original Land Cruiser existed in some markets for over 50 years but original examples like the one above have adorned the pages of collector car magazines forever. Equipped with an original 4.2L 2F inline-6, this FJ looks to be a perfectly restored example from the mid-70's. Instead of swapping in a Chevy V8 or adding a bunch of off-road goodies, this capable Colombian import kept its' original running gear that saw success in Bogota at some point in the last century.
While browsing the enormous amount of expensive classic metal at the Cars and Community portion of Saturday's events, I came across this immaculate AW11 Toyota MR2. It is difficult to keep cars unmolested for so long, but apparently the owner of this light blue metallic mid-ship runabout protected their car from anything going wrong. The body is perfect, all of the panels are free of dings or dents, the moldings and bumpers look brand new, and under the rear bonnet is an untouched but maintained 4AGE. Although not the more sought after 4AGZE equipped model, this MR2 is just as fun and possibly easier to drive up to the limit; this is another reminder of the affordable sports cars that Toyota used to make all those years ago.
A right-hand drive Japanese imported Toyota Supra was also on the field garnering attention from people of all ages. The 2JZGTE equipped Supra is legendary in many ways, the 3-liter powerplant is still sought after for all types of motorsports, while the classic body lines made it a JDM poster car for many even before that one film series that used to be about street racing premiered. Under the hood is a beautifully kept engine bay, the wiring is mostly tucked, the twin turbo setup has went away in favor of a single unit that's covered with a blanket, an oil catch can helps collect fluid at high RPMs, and an upgraded radiator keeps things cool. On the outside is a bright red hue that looks more Ferrari than Toyota OEM paint code, bronze Work Meisters anchor each corner, and a ground effects kit ascentuates the lower body lines. My personal favorite part is the air port on the lower rear quarter panel, seeing an Mk4 Supra do a burnout with the smoke funneling through that hole has made a lasting impression in my memory.
Lexus had a major presence at the event with a large display full of some of their latest and greatest, along with the opportunity to test drive a few vehicles like the LX600, LC500 and new IS500 F-Sport Performance. Featured on their stage was the very rare Lexus RC-F Fuji Speedway Edition, with carbon fiber parts throughout to drop 0-60 times below 4-seconds with 472 ponies from the naturally aspirated V8. Only 50 examples exist in this exclusive Electric Surge blue with its' Carbon fiber roof, rear bumper, lip and air dam front spoiler, fin rocker, door lower molding and retractable wing rear spoiler; the fierce GT3 inspired look is coupled with 19 inch black wheels wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sports 4 S tires and supported by bright red Brembo brakes. Inside, the RC-F is covered in a mix of black Alcantara and blue leather accents that makes it stand out from your average RC-F. Unfortunately if you're reading this, perhaps all 50 units have already sold out, but it's worth checking local dealers anyways.
When the Lexus IS500 F-Sport Performance premiered it was a very exciting moment for fans of the cult favorite IS-F. Finally the vehicle is for sale and in person it looks as good as it does in pictures, the slightly more muscular V8 powered IS comes with the dual stacked muffler tips, exclusive wheels, and menacing front end with a bulging hood. Of course you can read more details here, but what's important to know is that this naturally aspirated luxury muscle car has 472 horsepower and goes...really fast. As part of the Lexus Driving Experience I was able to take it around on a test-drive which will require a compilation of videos I was able to record when opening the sonorous V8 to an RPM range where it came alive.
On the RADwood side of the Golf Club at Amelia Island was a more modern Toyota Landcruiser Prado imported from Japan. This model, a KJ78 has the same 4X4 prowess as other Land Cruisers but with a slightly smaller footprint reminiscent of early FJs. Under the hood is a bullet proof 1KZ-TE, a 3.0L turbo diesel which can be found across many Toyota products from the mid-90's in Japan. This particular SUV is in very good condition, it has OEM Toyota rain visors and a set of bead locked wheels wrapped in Radar Renegade RT off-road tires. Ready for pretty much anything, Landcruisers like this are sold at a discount compared to U.S. equivalent models, with usually lower mileage examples, an available diesel, and a variety of trim levels; the Landcruiser and it's Prado variant will continue to be popular both on and off-road.
At the very end of the Concours d'Lemons was a true off-road legend...a Toyota Tercel. The purpose of this portion of the event is to have fun with the oddballs we normally see under the massive tires of a monster truck, or being squished by a compactor at a junkyard. It was entertaining to see a Safari Tercel with mud tires, a working winch, and bull horn ornament. The Lyft tag probably means that this particular Tercel can take you absolutely anywhere for a fee, it would be interesting to see something like this tackle some trails but as strange as it may seem, it makes me want to one day dabble with a lifted econobox.