The RMS Queen Mary has been permanently moored in the Port of Long Beach since the late 1960s after a life as a cruise liner when it first set sail in the '30s, but enthusiasts recognize the aging ship as the iconic background to many a car show and meet held in the park next to her. Those days may be ending, though, as word is the entire area and nearby cruise terminal will be razed and updated with shops and dining (because there is such an extreme shortage of those in Southern California — sigh). This is why for the first time in years, the Toyota Owners and Restorers Club (TORC) decided to move its annual All ToyotaFest from its familiar surroundings to an all-new area in Long Beach — Marina Green Park.
The strip of grass is north of the old digs — over the mouth of the LA River, or if you're driving there it's sandwiched between Shoreline Drive and the marina, across from the Long Beach Arena. Just a few short weeks ago the park was overrun with bleachers, prime viewing for the Long Beach Grand Prix, but for ToyotaFest it was nothing but Toyota, Lexus, and Scion as far as the eye could see.
This was the 22nd edition of the single make event, and as is par for the course it was a very diverse representation of everything the OEM has done both in America and abroad. For the Toyota tuner enthusiast, there were plenty of Corolla, Cressida, MR-S/MR2, and Supra, including Joe Recinos' 8-second, purple, drag strip-eating JZA80. And speaking of the Mark 4 Supra, a bit 2JZ love crept into an old-school Carina we encountered at the show, but for the most part many of the pre-1990s classics — Century, Corona, Sprinter, Starlet, etc. — kept it factory, or very close to it.
While it's not necessarily our bag, we were mightily intrigued by some of the trucks and SUV at ToyotaFest, like the pink pickup with a 1UZ V8 swap, or the 6x6 FJ. Of course, what is a Toyota event without Lexus — especially VIP-style Lexus — of which there were oodles of SC and IS300. And while the brand may no longer be around, Scion continue to live and thrive in the scene, like Brett Humanic's Pandem FR-S, or Thanh Duc Giang's VLENE widebodied FR-S we featured in April, now with new vinyl.
Yep, we'd say it was a good ToyotaFest this year, possibly invigorated by the new location, but whatever the reason it was encouraging to see so many cars and spectators turn out. If this place is indeed the future of the event, we suspect more good days lie ahead.