After visiting the New Year Meeting’s swap meet and club display we ventured into the main car show area, where Isuzu and Hino were the featured marques this year. While that may have satisfied the approximately four Isuzu and Hino fans out there, here’s something for the Toyotaku.
This year, the Toyota contingent was particularly strong, with a forceful showing of Aichi steel. We saw many of the daruma Celicas in the club section, but there was no shortage of TE27 Corolla Levins or Sprinter Truenos.
Whether you go with TE37s on a TE27 (ha!) for a tuner resto-mod or classic RS-Watanabes on a period correct street fighter, one thing is for sure — the TE27 is still one of the most popular classic Toyota platforms.
Among the field of moss green TE27s, however, the eye-grabbing hue of one stood out. Clearly a work of great effort, the body looked like it had been dipped in liquid gold. The car was mix of classic details, like an SEV Marchal headlight cover and 13-inch TOSCOs, with some new school touches, like a stuffed NOS bottle and braided hoses surrounding its 2T-G. There was also an homage to Choro-Q, with a pull-back replica of itself sitting in the engine bay.
Beyond the standard issue TE27s, however, this year saw several of the more obscure models of the Corolla and Trueno twins. Seeing just one TE55 Corolla Levin or TE47 Sprinter Trueno is already a rare sight, but here we had both. The TE47 was even sporting rare headlight covers and was perfectly stanced (in the original meaning of the word) on Hayashi Streets.
The TE55 was a rare bird to see just about anywhere, but I especially dug the duck butt rear spoiler and “Cinderella Liberty” rear window treatment from Wizard. A slight lowering on widened OEM steelies, with some magic cast on the 2T-G under the hood and it’s a perfect street machine.
A TE37 Corolla 1600 GSL also stood out for being beautiful in its minimalism, modestly dropped on simple, white, powder-coated steelies. The long blade of a window visor for its pillarless hardtop DLO is surely a rare piece as well.
Toyota CEO and gearhead Akio Toyoda once said that the TE71 Corolla 1600GT was his favorite model because it was the car that “showed me the joy of driving” and was like a “best friend.” And before he became head of Japan’s largest automaker, he drove a used one just like it.
There was even an A10 Carina, a car mechanically identical to the first-gen Celica but far less common. When it debuted in December 1970, it was notable for its unique grille that separated the high and low beam lights, which typically appeared side by side.
We end on a S50 Toyota Crown, stately in its down-to-the-hubcaps stockness. As evidenced by the single-digit license plate, it was registered with the same owner in the same region for over 50 years.
To be continued…
We’ll have more New Year Meeting coverage coming up. In the meantime, in case you missed it, here’s Part 01 – Swap Meet, Part 02 – Club Scene, and Part 03 — Isuzu and Hino. Also, check out coverage from the 2016, 2015, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010 and 2009 New Year Meetings.
Brandon Kelley is founder of . Shota Mori is a photographer living in Japan; His work can be found at and .