Updated: Oct 31, 2021
Every year I usually begin event hopping with the arrival of Gerpan in March, It is a gathering of both Japanese and German metal along with their enthused owners as they enjoy retro car ownership at Quaker Streak and Lube in Clearwater, FL. This year like many others was full of exceptional cars with plenty of new faces and awesome vendors offering products and services tailored to all of us car nerds. I could go on about how much I enjoyed the event but let the pictures do the talking as we get into the lovely Toyotas that caught my eye.
Possibly my favorite car at the show was this 3rd generation JDM Toyota Supra Twin Turbo R. The JZA70 used to be a cheaper alternative to the sometimes out of reach JZA80 but with classics like the one pictured above becoming harder to find in good condition, the prices are rising on a classic that we never truly were able to buy here in the United States. While we have 7M-7MGTE equipped models we never received the 1JZ variants that added more power and reliability as it ushered in the rules of JZ engines. This particular example is covered in a beautiful metallic green paint from the factory, the interior is almost fully OEM with a mix of grey leather, vinyl, and fabric donning the very retro cockpit along with a set of aftermarket bucket seats, and the wheels are a set of period correct 6 spoke 17 inch Work wheels. Performance wise you would think that only an exhaust was added, but under the hood are some classic go-fast bits from HKS like the intake and blow off valve. My only regret is not getting a chance to hear this car start up and drive off as a well tuned 1JZ is something to behold.
Yes we know, Toyota Landcruisers are seen as bullet proof overlanding vehicles that can go anywhere and do anything...now what makes it a little bit better? I don't know maybe some cool accessories and this particular example being right hand drive from Japan. I was unsure of whether or not it was diesel or gas powered but I loved the raised height, large knobby tires and huge muffler poking out the rear bumper. The front bumper and updated exterior lighting brings this classic J80 into this century, eventually I would love to own a legendary Toyota like this.
A car that will never go out of style here in the United States' old school scene is the early 80's Toyota Corolla 1.8 or TE72/KE70. The classic Puerto Rican recipe calls for a lowered ride height and Weld Racing wheels like the ones pictured above. Under the hood things are kept very tame, very clean, and very original with the 3T-C looking immaculate with it's original air cleaner cover gleaming brightly above the sea of blue paint and metal finishes. It is great to see tuning and styling done with restraint, most of these cars never get driven due to being too precious or unreliable after modifications have been performed, this is just a nice cruiser.
A car show is a great place for friends and family to gather, bring your crew or come solo; car culture is still alive even with the pandemic ongoing.
A vehicle that deserves it's own feature is this very rare (possibly the only one imported to the United States) TRD Sports version Toyota Curren. The Curren is a facelifted Toyota Celica and this model features a 170 horsepower 3SGE and plenty of TRD goodies throughout. The steering wheel, shift knob, muffler, wing, and front bumper were all designed in-house by Toyota Racing Development in Japan to spruce up an already special car. The Curren is an example of the many models we did not get here in the United States and possibly never left Japan; the booming economy at the time allowed for the creation of various dealer network specific cars within Toyota.
The AE101 Toyota Corolla to some is just a good economical car from the 90's that many of us used to get around or learned to drive with, but if you dig deep enough you'll find a very passionate group of enthusiasts worldwide that hold this car in high regard. The Toyota Corolla we got here in the states was never much to write home about outside of it's fuel economy and reliability, but with variants like a 3-door hatchback and some models featuring a 20 valve 4AGE with a six speed manual; the AE101 Corolla craze will continue to grow in the United States as fans look to the more affordable front wheel drive future classics they grew up with.
Two Toyota AE86s with different styles and stories parked next to each other, one is a 4AGE swapped USDM Toyota Corolla SR5, the other is a panda two-tone JDM Toyota Levin; both coupes but executed in different manners. The AE86 chassis is a canvas for many to create their ultimate car, some choose to stick with everything OEM as values rise, and others meet somewhere in the middle.
It's really difficult to come across a true sleeper in today's car scene, everything is built to look as fast as it is but not this AW11 Toyota MR2. On the outside it looks just like any other well cared-for midship runabout, the supercharged decal out back means it should have around 145 HP, the Ronal Turbo wheels are beautiful selected to make this car pop but there's more than meets the eye. While the frunk is used for storage of goods and a heat exchanger, the rear houses a 3SGTE; shoehorned into the already small engine compartment and made to look original, this updated 4 cylinder packs a turbo wallop some 100 horsepower more than the original engine. You can't really tell the car has been swapped, the interior gives you a hint with the boost gauge mounted on the A-pillar but that's about it, even the exhaust looks like standard fare, this is how you meet the apex of keeping things looking original but going out on a limb and being a bit crazy.
Speaking of engine swaps, this KE30 Toyota Corolla from the late 1970's has a mini-Hemi in the 1.8 Liter 3TC replacing the original 3KC. The original 1.2 Liter 3KC had 59 horsepower and met California emissions standards but the 3TC is a more tunable engine with a starting point of 75 horsepower, the owner here has slapped on a pair of Weber side draft carburetors to up the ante a bit. This generation of Corolla is a reminder of how simple cars used to be, no electronic fuel injection or computers, diagnosing any issues means getting under the hood and not plugging a computer under the dash board. Clean examples in some of the more fun colors offered in it's day (Yellow) are hard to come by even with Toyota selling an astronomical amount of third-generation Corollas. The owner here seemed to have sorted out the engine, AE86 SR5 wheels, and a slight drop in vehicle height so it looks right; just enough to get the most of a classic cruiser.
Matt's Toyota Spritner Trueno fresh from a full motor build, a full feature is coming but trust that it sounds amazing.
Something tells me that this will be a thing, the latest Toyota Corolla XSE model comes with 18 x 8 inch wheels with a very cool design, here they look great on this speedway blue metallic E120 Corolla.
A sun faded Toyota Corolla TE72 wagon caught my eye, the paint has given up in it's battle against our energy source yet all of the shiny trim and wheels really endear me to this car. The Japanese front end with quad lights, clear corners, and slim metal front bumper pull in the updated wheels and chrome roof rack. The idea is to make it last as long as you can, if it means a layer of patina or sun fade then turn it into your benefit.
One of the most iconic OEM wheels to ever leave a Toyota factory are the 8-spoke A60 generation Celica GTS wheels as pictured above. The vehicle wearing the original set of wheels was one of the cleanest examples of a third generation I have seen in a long time, with the new Supra 2.0 acting as a Celica to it's more powerful brother; it is great to look back at its' lineage.
We end here with the most intact example of an MX63 Toyota Cressida I have personally witnessed. A museum piece would be a great way to describe this immaculate 4-door luxury sedan that has withstood close to 40 years of existence. While many Cressidas have withered away over time and have ended up being a style or drift showcase, the owner of this low-mileage example has done everything possible to preserve it. If anything, Gerpan has shown once again that there are a group of enthusiasts from both the Euro and JDM side of car culture who want to continue tuning, saving, and enjoying these retro rides.