Gerpan 5: The Toyotas
Gerpan has made it to a fifth season, with a growing amount of attendees placing their car into the show and a bunch more stopping by to browse some automotive goodness. This time around I decided to approach things from a different angle, instead of just shooting every single Toyota-branded vehicle; I captured only those that were new to me. With my Starlet GT Turbo as part of the gathering and my toddler boy at my side, I caught up with friends, perused new entries, and attempted to shoot my best shots. For those new to the Gerpan concept it's simple, classic German and Japanese cars gather in the main lot which brings about an eclectic mix of brands as opposed to the normal curated display of same-model vehicles. In the overflow lot are newer machines, those German and Japanese cars that are more modern or future classics; or just plain cool. For Teq Digest, it is the season opener that happens just before the official start of springtide; warmer temperatures even for an already very warm Florida means that slumbering metal is coming out to play.
I'm a sucker for wagons, especially the 1JZGTE powered variety. The Toyota Mark II Blit 2.5iRV shares its' underpinnings with the JZX110 Mark II which means it is very similar to the rear-wheel drive sedan; but with more storage space. This particular Blit is covered in Toyota's white gold crystal OEM paint, and sitting with a slight drop on 18 inch Yokohama AVS T5 wheels. I wasn't able to see if it was automatic or manual, but regardless this was my favorite car of the show as it is not only fast (rated at 276 horsepower) but utilitarian in a way only the longer roofline of a wagon can provide.
To pair with the Mark II Blit is the "husband" car, a JZX100 Toyota Chaser; seemingly the poster car for drift enthusiasts worldwide. Also powered by a 1JZ-GTE, the Chaser is the perfect weapon for any occasion, its' tunable chassis is the reason why it is so sought after along with handsome looks, and a 4-door profile that slips under the radar. From mild to wild, the JZX100 is a platform that can adapt well to different styles, personally I say just turn up the boost and keep it clean.
The SW20 has seen a resurgence in interest by enthusiasts, for a long time they were disregarded as being either too pricey or too difficult to drive; but times have changed. An alternative to higher dollar European mid or rear engine vehicles, the second generation Toyota MR2 had the looks of more expensive vehicles with Toyota reliability. A turbo model never hurt the midship runabout's appeal, unmolested examples continue to go up in value but these very versatile and attractive vehicles are a performance bargain. With the ability to fit various engines in the rear engine bay, it is with tactful restraint that the owner here simply kept his red beauty intact as it sits atop gold center wheels.
Now defunct, the Scion brand exploded onto the automotive scene in the early 2000's with this compact people mover, the Scion xB. The xB was based on the Japanese market Toyota bB, in the North American market it used the larger 1.5 liter 1NZ-FE and went to a floor mounted shifter, it even came in manual. What came with this affordable subcompact was a wave of car-artists, a blank canvas like the xB meant that you came across all different styles of these city-ready vehicles for many years. Today however, I hardly see an xB without a vinyl wrap promoting a business, stock examples are even more rare, but I almost never come across such tastefully modified examples like the car above. This particular Scion xB is painted in white, has color-matched rain visors, ground effects, and roof wing. It's lowered to the perfect height with a set of 3SDM 0.05 in silver that creates an understated contrast from then rest of the car. While I'm not an expert on all things bB related, it's very obvious to note the placement of the JDM bB emblems on the grille and rear hatch that have an awesome font which seems to be missing from a lot of cars today.
Sometimes I kick myself for not doing better at saving the few third generation Toyota Supras that have fallen into my lap at very affordable prices in the past. The MA70 Supra is seen as more of a grand tourer than a sports car compared to the JZA80 and J29/"A90", but it packs some of the same straight line performance that newer generations do. Obviously no car is perfect, for the North American production run we only received the Turbo Supra with the 7MGTE and its' head gasket issues caused by the OEM head studs. In Japan, a refreshed version with a 1JZ-GTE was offered but not all is lost on what we received on this side of the world. The MK3 Supra is fast, it has a luxurious interior with plush seats (a rear seat as well), a driver focused cockpit, and all of the late 80's standard electronic features that make it a proper halo car for its' time. With an upgraded head gasket and head studs, the 7MGTE can take plenty of punishment in the pursuit of power, many have reported more than double the 232 horsepower from the factory on a stock bottom end, that's serious performance from a car with the right retro vibes.
Blue interiors hold a special place in my heart, this unmodified SW20 Toyota MR2 Turbo just so happens to have one under its' targa-top. Much like in the film "The 40 Year Old Virgin", Steve Carrell's character Andy explains how difficult it was to spend so many years collecting his treasured G.I. Joe figurines as a child while resisting the urge to open them; the owner of this MR2 has pretty much done the same. I'm unsure of the ownership history, but for a car of this era to remain unmodified and in immaculate condition is commendable; it is a preservation piece for the local Toyota community to enjoy at events like these.
The Toyota Mark II is one of the longest running production models in the history of the brand. Initially offered as a slightly larger version of the Corona sedan in the late 1960's, the Mark II would go on to offer variations for different drivers and the markets they belong to. In the United States we had a similar model in the Cressida that shared both underpinnings and styling, but the forbidden fruit is the above pictured JZX90. Offered with a manual transmission and the cult favorite 1JZ-GTE, this vehicle along with the Chaser have a serious following for their great mix of performance, ergonomics, and scalable styling. Layered with Toyota's pearl white, this particular Mark II is mostly stock albeit for a lowered suspension, classic 5Zgien FNOR1C wheels in white, and a woodgrain steering wheel. As a sedan, some may overlook certain styling cues that makes this model a looker, the most attractive part being the full rear-width taillight bar...certainly the view most competitors would like to show off on track.
It was once again a memorable Gerpan, a brand that is growing and becoming synonymous with cool cars from yesterday. It was great to spend time their catching up with a few friends and seeing which cars my toddler gravitated to while I was honored to have so many ask me about my EP82 Toyota Starlet GT Turbo. I took this one shot from where I was parked, facing in the opposite direction of a Ford Model A hot rod; in a way it was poetic, two cars from different eras with a wave of appreciation seemingly moving with time. The original hot rods of yesterday are where modern day tuning roots come from, style, speed, and the substance that generated those first gear heads; call it tuning or hot rodding, regardless of the brand or origin, it's automotive art.