Festival of 86
Chief engineer of Toyota's cult 86 sports car Tetsuya Tada has attracted a record gathering of the coupe's owners while visiting Australia.
Tada received rock star treatment when more than 500 people mobbed him at the club event held at Toyota Australia's Sydney headquarters.
Official attendance was 272 cars including 234 examples of the Toyota 86, which Tada-san said was a record number outside Japan for the one-year-old nameplate*.
A further 27 owners brought their AE86 – the spiritual predecessor of the modern car – while 11 others brought their Subaru BRZ.
Fans came from across Australia specially for the event – by plane from as far away as Perth and by car from Queensland and Victoria, and one flew from New Zealand.
Tada-san spent most of the three-hour event signing autographs on everything from components including the car's dash panel and engine cover to model cars, T-shirts, owner manuals and posters.
"I am very excited to join Australian fans of the 86," Tada-san told an enthusiastic crowd.
"I made this car for you – and people like you around the world. You have made this car a great success with more than 6,000 sold in Australia – the third highest total in the world."
The invitation was issued on social media just two weeks before the event by Australian 86 clubs, forums and blogs and it sold out within a week.
It was shared extensively through Instagram, Flickr, Twitter, Facebook and other platforms via the hashtag #Festivalof86.
* Note: The car nameplate is "86" in Japan and Australia. It is badged FR-S in the United States and GT86 in Japan.