For a decade, there have been two vintage SoCal car shows that I've always looked forward to attending each year, and "the TORC show" was always one.
An acronym for Toyota Owners and Restorers Club, TORC is an organization dedicated to the preservation and restoration of pre-1985 model-year Toyotas. Twenty three years ago they ventured into the show scene, hosting their first laid-back, friendly meet for all things old-school Toyota. The recipe worked and the show caught on, and for good reason: there have been a ton of stylish, tunable, and fun Toyotas produced from the brand's first release in 1935 until that 1985 cutoff point. From the stately Crown, to the pint-sized RWD Starlet and R100, to countless generations of Celica and Corolla (which of course includes the timeless Hachi Roku).
Problem was, there had been an equally awesome and growing crop of Toyotas produced since then. Supra, MR2, more Celicas (turbo/AWD All Trac trim, anyone?) and so many more.
And that's not to mention everything under Lexus (which emerged in 1989), Scion (2003 to 2016), and plenty of quirky and cool ute and all-terrain vehicles produced by the parent company over the generations that never seemed to fit in at any one Toyota show.
SO, what was born as "the TORC show" became All ToyotaFest, and continued to grow and flourish over the years. It became so big that two years ago the decision was made to move it to a new home: the Marina Green in Long Beach, along the home stretch of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach street circuit.
Now in its second year at the new location, the show's growth shows no signs of slowing. Better than 600 pre-registered examples of a far reaching assortment of new and vintage Toyota, Lexus, and Scion vehicles graced the green this year, combining some of our favorite timeless TORC restorations with plenty of new builds, and even some new debuts and projects by Toyota themselves.
One of the many benefits offered by the new Marina Green location is easy access and plenty of parking. Right across that parking area, roughly spanning the Formula Drift at Long Beach main course, was a ride-and-drive activation featuring the all-new, not-yet-in dealerships, 2019 Toyota Corolla and a chalk-lined autocross course designed by championship racing driver Craig Stanton. Drivers were given a choice to take an automatic or six speed 2019 Corolla for a couple laps around the course, or—for those who preferred to ride—could sit shotty while Craig or one of his team of ace instructors manned the wheel and toed the racing line.
Surrounding the main stage—where honors, trophies, and prizes were doled out all day—was an assortment of Toyotas new and old, company- and enthusiast-built and owned.
This being a release year for the Corolla, with the 2019 model hitting showrooms in a matter of weeks, a special section immediately surrounding the stage was carved out to honor Corollas past and present. Some of the cleanest examples of restored and resto-modded vintage, and potently tuned modern models in recent memory could be found here. If you didn't have an appreciation for Corolla heritage before walking into this section, you would have after leaving it.
Surrounding that were some of the more popular modified Toyotas today, namely the Celica, Supra, and MR2.
Venturing out from the center in one direction, you'd find the Lexus models, including lots of powerful SC300s and various cleanly VIP'd GS models.
In the other direction? An eclectic mix of Prius, Hilux, Tacoma, 4Runner and various other Toyota truck, ute, and SUV models.
Space closest to the water was allocated for Vendor Alley, where some of the most extensively modified rides could be found and where big-name retailers, manufacturers, and shops shared space with rising brands.
While all that might have garnered the bulk of attention, earning the wildest reactions and spurring the biggest buzz were the cars at the farthest corner of the show: the Bosozoku-inspired rides.
Toyota Cressidas always seem to be the preferred models here, and whether it was the flawless bodywork and bright purple hues of Richard Rabe's 2JZ-swapped Cressida...
...or the pair of slammed, piped and shark-nosed versions, or some more "loved" (ratty) examples representing the complete opposite of the spectrum, the Boso style was impossible not to notice, and hard not to appreciate—even among the purists in attendance.
Claiming the westernmost end of the Green, opposite from where you would've entered from the ride and drive, sat a gathering of the car world's most recently missed and fondly remembered brand: Scion. Though the Scion brand has been "absorbed into Toyota," enthusiasm for Scion rages on, evident in the rich assortment of all Scion makes present, modified for show and go.
Throw in a whole lot more of everything profiled here, along with plenty of oddballs and models you probably didn't even know Toyota made, and you might begin to understand why we endorse this show so much. We say "might" because you really have to see it for yourself to completely get it. Visit the link below to get next year's All Toyotafest on your radar, and for more from this year's show, check out our gallery below.