Toyota Festival 2018
On Saturday 24th March, we left before the crack of dawn to head to the 2018 Toyota Festival. The small convoy consisted of Rob and I (in Rob’s Corolla GT-i), Nathan and Colin (in Nathan’s GT Liftback), and Karen, Kady and Reuben (in Nathan’s TRD Camry).
Arriving at Highlands Motorsport Park just before 9am, we parked each of the cars in their respective decades, ready for the show and shine. The morning started out on the chilly side, but it soon warmed up and we all needed hats and sunglasses on.
Colin and I started with a decent look over some of the new cars that were on display. The Lexus LX450D (the large 4×4), was priced at a whopping $179,000! Neither Colin or I thought we’d buy a car from the salesman after we overheard him telling someone else how well they went as he “thrashed” them around the Gorge on the way to here…
We’ll then move on to a couple of my picks of the day, starting with this 1984 Toyota Corolla AE86. Running a 4A-GE blue top, this car was completely 100% original. The car had only one owner, who purchased the car brand new for $25,210.50 in 1984 at Wrightcars Gore. Aside from a teeny bit of rust that was starting around the sunroof, this car was in spectacular condition, considering the car has travelled an impressive 361,000 kilometers! I believe the owner has plans to rebuild the gearbox & repaint the car – but I think I’d only be addressing the slightly rusty sunroof & leaving as much of the original paint on the car as possible.
The other car that I drooled over was this 1984 Toyota Corona GT-TR. Running the 1800 3T-GTE engine, featuring a twin-cam head and turbo, which produced close to 160bhp. The claim to fame with this engine is that it was the first ever twin-cam turbo charged engine to be produced in Japan.
Dad drove a 2-door Corona for many years, which featured the same engine and I can recall many trips we took in the car.
To even things up, the following 2012 Toyota TRD 86 was my modern pick of the show. Number 4 of 9 built and the only GT spec manual, makes this car a pretty special “factory” car. This car has obviously had some TRD extras added, which add up to be 29 modifications over the standard Toyota 86. Some of these are:
* 18″ Forged Wheels.
* Quad Exhaust.
* Brembo Brakes.
* Carbon fender fins.
* Stabliser (sway bar) set & chassis rigidity kit – when you look at this stuff in the engine bay, it’s pretty impressive.
Toyota had setup a simulator for their FT-50 racecar (pictured below), which allowed you to drive a simulated version of their car around the Highlands track. The car had bags of power & you had to be pretty gentle on the throttle, otherwise you’d spin the car pretty quickly. I managed to get a 1.58 in my three allocated laps, which didn’t quite compete with the highscores of the day (I think someone had knocked out a 1.42!).
Throughout the course of the day, there were four “track” groups, that were cutting laps of the track. If you had signed up to the track events when registering, you were able to take part in these events. Most of the cars in these groups though, were close to racecar spec. We spectated a few of them getting out and putting in decent times.
We stopped & had some burgers cooked by the local Lions club for lunch, before waiting for the show & shine prizegiving in the afternoon. The prizegiving was held & just about all of the owners had stayed around for the event. Nathan was delighted to take home an award for the 2000-2009 category with his very rare 1 of 10 built by Toyota NZ, Supercharged Camry. Well done Nathan!
The final spectacle of the day, was a group photo of all attendees lined up on track. Colin and I jumped into the liftback and did a lap of the track to get to the starting line. We parked behind Rob in his GT-i, who had a blast flicking his car around the track.
Once the organisers had taken the large group photo out of the cherry-picker, we all jumped back into the cars and did another lap around the track before leaving. I got the honours of steering Nathan’s liftback around the track & had a blast, especially with the raspy exhaust note that thing makes!
After a quick stop in Alexandra for an ice cream, I took the wheel of Rob’s GT-i for the remainder of the trip home, which included a stop at the “chippie” in Gore. It was a great day hanging out with a great bunch of people, seeing some rare, interesting and wacky cars.