Toyota Fest 2019
Updated: Nov 6, 2019
Normally I would start by posting the first few pictures of Toyota Fest as I arrived to the event, however it wouldn't do my story justice. Instead I will take a page out of hip hop's legendary artist Nas as he did in his song "Rewind"; and tell the story backwards... just partially. As it does in Florida rather frequently, it rains, and then sometimes it pours bringing an impromptu ending to fun gatherings like Toyota Fest.
During the event I took hundreds of pictures, leaving space at the back end of my memory card to snap some photos of Matt, Russ, and Bobby's trio of imported AE86s that I rolled to the event with. Unfortunately I wasn't able to really capitalize on that opportunity, as when I finally made my way around to the pandas it started to rain...and then the wind picked up. Apparently the storm that was passing through central Florida was larger than anticipated and it wasn't just a spritz of rain, it was a torrential downpour that soaked everyone and everything. The accompanying wind blew over canopies and anything else not bolted to the ground, it was scary yet fun as everyone did their best to help each other gather their things and prevent objects from flying in to cars or people, that is the car community at it's best.
Toyota Fest wasn't about bad weather, it was about bringing together some of the cleanest Toyota and Lexus vehicles to central Florida and the people behind the wheel. Attendance has been growing as have the variety of cars as the flood of imported Japanese Domestic Market models are now legally available to bring stateside. Whether it was a Supra, Starlet, SC400 or Corolla; there was a flavor for everyone.
The Toyota 86/Scion FRS will probably be remembered as the enthusiast car of the 2010's with the endless tuning options available. GhostZN6's vehicle is equipped with some go fast, go loud and go stylish parts that brings attention to the white canvas. Sitting on upgraded wheels and lowered on Eibach Sportlines, this 86 has the road presence and handling capabilities to be taken seriously. Out back is a Greddy exhaust that sounds deep and powerful, but not obnoxious as it is paired with Tomei unequal length headers to provide that "boxer rumble" sound. Rounding out the visual cues are Valenti tail lights out back, black housing headlights with matching corner markers, and a sleek front and rear lip kit with side skirts and canards.
What's small, yellow, and packs a mean sting? You'd probably say a bee which is quite appropriate to think of looking at this race ready Toyota Yaris. On the back bumper there's a sticker that says "The Bumble Rumble", under the hood is what makes this diminutive commuter car different than your average Yaris. A turbo provides some much needed boost, the owner claims about an extra 50 WHP has been added to the 1NZ which has helped it stay competitive as an SCCA autocross car as well as earn the number 1 spot on a few occasions. Once a commuter car, the owner and his team of weekend warriors transformed the Yaris with the addition of proper suspension upgrades, sticky tires, lighter wheels, race seats, and the most important go-fast upgrade...seat time. Currently running on it's original engine for about two years, the team of racers continue to have fun in the street touring front wheel drive class, Teq Digest wishes them good luck in the 2019 season.
The Lexus community definitely knows how to mix looks with performance as enthusiasts add their own version of "F-sport" to their older IS, SC, and GS models. The 2JZ and boost go together like peanut butter and jelly; this particular JCE10 has a large silver intercooler denoting the addition of a turbo under the graphite grey pearl bonnet.
A car that has become a must have for fans of JDM importers is the AE111 generation Toyota Levin. Under the hood of this 2-door Corolla is a blacktop 4AGE which makes about 165 HP, this with a sub 2400 lb weight makes for a fun experience. It's a shame we didn't get this popular sporty variant of the mid-90's Corolla in the United States, wearing a set of Enkei RPF1 compliments it's smooth coupe exterior as it slips under the radar of other sport runabouts. The cockpit is loaded with nostalgia, the right hand drive steering wheel brings back simpler times and looks comfortable to hold, as the plush cloth interior holds the passengers lucky enough to sit inside. This is definitely on my "cars to drive" list as i'm interested in how Toyota utilized their "Super Strut Suspension" setup to differentiate this Corolla chassis from the others.
We will be back with some Toyota Supra love in the next post, with the soon to be released MK5 model garnering so much attention, owners of previous generation models look to relive the past in a major way.