I’d never been to a one-make show before, so when I got the invitation for Toyota’s #Festivalof86 I really wasn’t to sure of what to expect. How much variety can one vehicle platform deliver in one space? When it’s a car that was designed to be modified, the correct answer is plenty!

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Over 300 GT86’s made their way to the International Terminal at Rozelle, which had been transformed into an awesome party location! The layout and venue was about as close as you’d get to something you’d find in a Hollywood car adventure flick. Loud music, hundreds of tuned cars, food and drink all set against an amazing backdrop.

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In addition to the awesome cars and pumped crowd, Toyota had a special guest. Tetsuya Tada! The man who took the new 86 from dream, to sketch, concept and now to an instant cult classic! Tada-san was greeted more like a rock star than an engineer. Meeting the designer, the creator of something you hold so dear was clearly an amazing thrill for so many owners!

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The main hall was restricted to a dozen or so cars. Tada-san personally greeted each owner as they showed the creator what enhancements they’ve made to personalize their own vehicles. Tada-san was genuinely interested and the smile on his face was visible from across the hall as he chatted to the boys and girls that had embraced his vision.

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When I spoke to Tetsuya a little later on in the day, he mentioned that looking at the modifications and talking to the owners was his favorite part of the event.

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‘It is very rewarding to discuss the car with owners, both personally and as an engineer. It is a very rare opportunity for an engineer. The feedback is very valuable’.

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It’s awesome to know that the the modification scene in Australia may feed back to the motherland and help shape things to come out of Toyota Japan.

It takes the car design full circle. The 86 and BRZ was designed to address consumer demand to fill a hole in the market. “we want a car that’s fun to drive!”.

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Joining the cars in the main pavillion was Toyota Australia’s teal wrapped 86, which is a pretty bold example for a factory demo car.

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Beau Yates also had his new 86 on display. I tried to find Beau for a photo with the car but he was nowhere to be found… Oh wait, I found him!

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We heard whispers that Beau is now on his 400th door, after a bit of failed mid-run panel beating by Mad Mike during the Formula Drift Top 16 show down. He must have a garage full of doors by now… Still, the car is looking awesome. It’s easily one of the best looking drift machines getting around Australia at the moment.

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The car was attracting a constant crowd, even though out was ticked away besides the main stage.

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After Tada-san made his way around the display vehicles he made himself available for signings.
People were pulling engine parts, covers and internal trim items from their 86’s for signing.

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For those that weren’t so keen to pull their cars apart he was also signing posters, model cars, photos and pretty much anything else you could think of.

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I even managed to sneak a couple of items in the line. Three prints of Josh’s 86 I shot earlier this year. Tada-san signed one copy for my office, one copy for Josh and I also gave him his own framed copy of the shot. I wonder if it’ll make it’s way back to Japan?

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And grabbed a quick selfie with Tada-san and Josh. #SELFIE #RARE #SHORTGUYSAREAWESOME.

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The line was massive! Poor Tada-san must have had a sore hand by the afternoon. Lucky he’s used to signing ask of those important documents back in the office. 😉speed nation toyota

While this was happening, I braved the harsh sun and made my way out to the full car park. There would have been at least 200 cars filling the space. I noticed a good number of interstate plates. GT86’s are far as the eye could see! In any direction!

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If your a fan of the 86, this was heaven. Even though there were so many of the same chassis on display, there were a lot of vehicles that managed to stand out in the crowd. Almost all the 86’s I stopped to look at had at least a few minor changes to the standard platform. With a car built for modifying, it seems that almost any variation on any part of the car can be built or bought.

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There was a great atmosphere all day and where ever you looked there were big smiles on display.

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Yeau Bates, That is Neil Bates the Rally Champion and Beau Yates the Aussie Drift King took to the stage for a quick run of questions, answers and a good level of Banter.

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Oh yeah, the M.C. for the formality was some guy called Neil Crompton. Apparently he’s the voice of Australian Motor sport or something? I thought he looked and sounded familiar. If your unfamiliar with Crompo, he’s been commentating and hosting Motorsport related shows for the last decade or so. He’s pretty handy behind the wheel too.

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He did a decent job at crowd control, and more importantly he was a gun at leading the questioning when Tada-san threw down the challenge to Toyota. But more on that later…

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Awards were handed out to owners in the afternoon. A dozen or so awards for various things were handed out for a wide range of achievements. A celebratory cake was also cut. (and yes, it was pretty good 😉 )

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The most coveted award was for Tada-san’s Personal Favorite vehicle. That award went to the off-tap Garage 88 project car, which was driven by it’s caretaker Josh to the event. I doubt there’s a single bolt in that car that hasn’t been removed and put back in, or swapped out.

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Other awards were handed out for best stance, most driven, best interior and best exterior amongst others. Tada-san even received an award from Toyota Chief for generally being awesome and for his contribution.

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In what was definitely the most notable outcome from the event, during Tetsuya’s acceptance speech he cheekily threw out a challenge to Toyota Australia to run a One-Make Race Series. Although nothing was officially confirmed we have it on good authority that Toyota is happy to accept the challenge and are working towards a race series launch in 2016.

The competition will be Pro-Am and focused around competitive but affordable cars. Hopefully, it’ll all come together!

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The formalities were closed out with singing pocket rocket and X Factor winner Samantha Jade. I’m not really into poppy chart type music but damn she sounded amazing live!

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She played a half dozen songs and gave 110% even though the audience was much smaller than I’d imagine she’s used to. I’ll give her bonus points for effort too!

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The official end of the day saw everyone who still around get together for an awesome group shoot. Unfortunately most punters had already left by the time it all ready to get going. Still, I think we managed to grab a couple rad shots that really captured the fun spirit of the weekend.

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OH WHAT A FEELING!!!

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Now that the majority of people had left and the exhibition hall was clear we could move some cars around. So we took advantage of the amazing Sydney back drop for some extra shots. Just quietly… I’d be hanging ALL DAY to get these cars outside.

I started with Beau while the other guys moved their cars around and found their way around to the wharf. It was good to catch up with him and

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The boys from the NSW 86/BRZ Club lined up and looking pretty.

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And now for a closer look at these fine specimens…

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Obligatory but fun Toyota #Ohwhatafeeling shot

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Unfortunately due to time constraints we only had time for one setup and not enough time for lights, but we manages to set the cars up for one proper shot with the awesome city of Sydney as the backdrop. Tada-san must have liked what we saw, I think it was the first time all day I’d seen him snap his own photo 🙂

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Enjoy the shots!

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The final bit of fun for the afternoon, Tada-san borrowed the keys to Garage88’s monster and took her for a spin. The smiles were massive!86/BRZ CLUB #festivalof86

Live Fast. Live Free. Live Speed Nation. #SpeedNationAu

I’d like to thank Toyota Australia for the invitation down to what was one of the most impressive and fun events I’ve attended for quite some time. I’m not sure how they’ll top this years event if they continue the #Festivalof86 next year, but I sure am looking forward to finding out.

If you still haven’t had your full hit of 86 goodness we’ll be doing a few owner/car profiles on Speed Nation. If you can’t wait til then you can check out our feature on Josh’s GT86 RAWR HERE.
Josh's Toyota 86

Or if you love your AE86’s check out Koval’s Tofu Delivery Vehicles HERE.
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