If I want to drive the Camry a bit forward. No problem. The intention is to immortalize the great Toyota of Ron Moës with today's protagonist: the Celica TA40 of Hans de Jong. I get in the Camry and the sounds of Whatcha gonna do for me by Chaka Khan caressing my hearing via Sublime FM. That's the channel I like to listen to too. That moment fits the day. Just like the entire group fits together on a Saturday in Groningen. In an almost miraculous way.
I am visiting Hans de Jong in Groningen. The appointment was made through Ron. He is also present, it has been a year since we met in person, during the report on Toyota's rally past in Dendermonde. Now we come together again because of Hans de Jong's Toyota Celica. Ron has taken his cousin Jan Hendriks with him. Jan – also owner of a beautiful Rekord E2 Caravan – is just like me an Opel and Toyota fan. Ron is Toyota and, just like Hans, was given the gold from Japan with the spoon. There are many cross connections here, and all four of us drive (at least) one Toyota. That creates a bond, and a beautiful one.
Hans de Jong has had a dealership of the American Snap-on Tools for years, which makes beautiful garage tools. Moreover, Hans is one of the sons of the founder of the first Toyota agency in the Northern Netherlands. The stories are beautiful. It was the time when a Crown was in the showroom for 9.999 guilders. Next to the Corona RT4#. And next to Giulia's and Bertones. The importer was the same: Louwman and Parqui. Hans' father was also the first owner of the Dudok-Esso station on the Turfsingel, he had the contemporary monument built in the XNUMXs. The stories take you back to the past, I love it.
The main purpose of the visit is Hans's Celica TA40, a thoroughbred Toyota coupé that deserves to emerge from the beautiful shadow of its predecessor - the 20-series. Before we admire the Toyota, Hans pulls a Hellcat out from under a cloth. Six point two, V8, 717 horsepower. Boom! Breathlessly watching can be beautiful. Breathless listening too. Just one ride, one ride. The Dodge stays where it is. Today's target is further down. Nicely covered. It is the Celica, in its own cocoon, in its own courtyard. In 1980 the Toyota became Hans's first car and the TA40 is still Hans's car. Bought as ST, but Hans turned it into a highly personalized GT. With American accents and Wolfrace trim. The curtain is lifted, and we come face to face with the Celica in the beautiful 373 Lipstick Red, the original and photo-technically complicated color of this extremely beautiful Toyota.
Under the long hood shows off a jewel of an engine, the 2T-G with the Yamaha cast cylinder head and two Solex-Mikuni carburettors. Gourmet work. Hans built the engine himself in this Celica, which was delivered new with the 2T-B power source. This Toyota breathes a lot of Wolfrace, and is flanked by a poster of the Celica RA45 that made its rally debut in Africa on behalf of Toyota - with Ove Andersson at the wheel. A year earlier we were talking about this here in Belgium, now we are taken back in time. Beautiful history. In plural.
Then we go on our way to the location. Bart Spijker is unfortunately not present today, so I take pictures myself. On the way to the location you notice why the 2T-G engine is a nice machine. The engine is awake and that is especially evident when the gas is turned on for a while. The Celica is desirable, and the Mc Pherson suspension at the front and the light rigid coil-spring rear axle (combined with a tasty set of Koni's) provides sporty comfort.
The seat in the Toyota is low, and you are treated to a large amount of neatly clustered meters. The atmosphere on board is pleasant, the thickly upholstered furniture is top-notch, and this Toyota certainly didn't cut corners on a piece of carpet. This is a real one, which, according to the best Japanese tradition, is heavily stuffed. Meanwhile, you notice that Lipstick Red is a special color that plays with the elements. In addition, the card game pillar seems to tell that Toyota has played many, many trumps well. This is modified or not one of them. Symbolism is sometimes beautiful, as is the maintenance booklet with the first inspection from 1980.
After a while we are back in Groningen. Maria takes care of the bitterballen and the thirst quenchers. There's a cigar. There is a shag. Breed cat Vegas feels my love for animals. It's fun, and the serious and sometimes very personal matters of life are also discussed. Nails are also hit on the head here, there is no room for hollow slogans. This is another day that shows why making a report can be so beautiful. Just like the title for this report. Ron thinks of it, the puzzle piece fits. We will not reveal the title, but it will soon become clear that it covers the load of the beating day.
It is a day that reminds me of the comradely atmosphere of the past. It was the time of village comradeship, a beer or a cup of coffee in the Zuiderzeehal, no complicated hassle. It was also the time when I listened to the Soulshow. This day is a soul show. It's one and all feel good. And it's no coincidence that the interior of Ron's Camry is filled with the sounds of Chaka Khan. Just as I drive his car forward a bit. It must be so, and it is so. Sometimes puzzle pieces just fall into place on their own. And contacts become even more valuable. That happened on a beautiful Saturday in Groningen.
Many thanks to Hans, Maria, Ron and Jan