The Bonney Lake Old School Reunion was one of our first forays into the Seattle car scene, and although over 300 cars were registered for the event we really had no idea what to expect.
The name of the show implies an obvious theme, and as the event was recommended to us by a number of guys with older Japanese cars, we simply figured it wouldn’t be one to miss. Ultimately, we were blown away by the sheer variety of cars that showed up.
It’s refreshing to see that every corner of the United States has a plethora of cool builds tucked away, and the Old School Reunion just made me wonder what else is hiding out in the Pacific Northwest.
People showed up in just about everything, from highly-polished custom builds to patina-covered daily drivers.
The event itself was laid back and offered the perfect excuse to sit around in the (perhaps uncharacteristically) fantastic Seattle summer weather. Maybe I’m just getting old and enjoy relaxing more than I used to, but the more time goes by the more I seem to enjoy the atmosphere of a static show.
In years past, this weekend on the calendar was home to two events: a Mk1 and MkII VW meet, which would always end early so the guys could cruise over to check out an old school Datsun meet.
As time went on, the organizers got together and came up with a way to combine the shows.
The results of these efforts can be seen first-hand at the annual Old School Reunion, and it’s cool to see that as this event has grown the attendees have expanded to include practically every genre of older cars you can think of.
There is one obvious omission, but as there are plenty of American-themed shows in the area, the organizers agreed that another show dedicated to that scene simply isn’t necessary. Still, you might notice a couple of American cars were able to sneak in.
To give you a better idea of the sights and sounds of the show, as well as the variety present — and a quick look at a few cars I missed on camera — hit play above.
Meanwhile, the parking lot for spectators was mostly a field of overgrown grass which, in California, would be a guaranteed way to see a handful of cars burn to the ground in the tinder-dry fields.
But as warm as it was on this particular occasion, the Seattle region has more than enough rainfall year-round to keep things nice and green. I’ll need to acclimate myself to the fantastic mountainous scenery the area has to offer in terms of shooting locations, but that shouldn’t be so hard.Two Celicas, Two Philosophies
While I do have a 35mm gallery incoming, as well as a couple of spotlights on some really interesting cars from the show, I wanted to kick off the coverage from the Old School Reunion with a few themes that I couldn’t quite ignore over the course of the day.
First up, two completely different Toyota Celicas.
The first is a ’77 RA29, built by Ranz Motorsports. It features a really interesting mash-up of styles and parts, including a BMW front lip spoiler, JDM GT2000 rear details, AE86 suspension parts, and RS Watanabe F8 wheels.
Perhaps more interesting than the plethora of external details is the powerplant of choice – an F22C sourced from an AP2 Honda S2000.
A modified S2000 ECU paired with a hybrid AE86/S2000 ignition system has been used to activate VTEC and unleash the owner’s inner boy racer.
It would certainly be a fantastic car to drive, and the inside’s been tidily built up to suit. It appears as though the Celica has been tuned for an enjoyable cruising experience rather than for all-out driving feel, and I certainly can’t fault the owner for that.
It’s also cool to see a proper S2000 instrument unit tucked into the 40-year-old dash.
Down the way a little bit was a ’75 RA28 originally built for the Japanese market. Technically a ‘Toyota Celica Liftback GT2000′, the right-hand drive model is certainly a bit of a unicorn here, and it was interesting to see these two entirely different cars based off nearly the same chassis.
The steering wheel shows some signs of aging, but inside and out the car is immaculate and appears to feature a number of original parts.
I’ve always loved the proportions of this model, and now is a safe time to repeat the ever-popular saying: they don’t make ‘em like they used to.Old School Cressidas
I was fearful of this turning out to be a Toyota-centric post when the Old School Reunion had so much awesome variety from other automakers, but there were simply too many cool X30-era Cressidas to ignore.
The first pair I noticed was this father-son duo, and they’ve been modified exactly as you might expect father and son to do.
Dad’s car retains a majority of the factory items and aesthetic, with a ride height drop via updated suspension being the most notable change to the car. It just goes to show that if you can source a clean example of this chassis, it doesn’t need a lot to look nice.
The other half of the duo represented more aesthetic updates both inside and outside the car, but still nothing too crazy.
However, if the 4M powerplant isn’t cutting it for you, another pair of Cressidas had you covered at the show.
One common theme I noticed was that out of all of the 1980s and earlier Cressidas I saw at the Old School Reunion, everyone has retained the factory interior. Those comfy, velvety couch-like seats make these cars awesome cruisers, and I can imagine they’re just too cushy to give up.
They have such character, too, and with Sara’s penchant for this body style I wouldn’t be surprised to see one in our future…
On the topic of Toyota, there were plenty of other awesome examples at the event — like this KP61 which took home the ‘Seattle’s Finest’ award — but a full feature is required to properly appreciate it.
That’s on the way, as is a look at a few more favorites on film, plus those aforementioned spotlights from what proved to be a quality show with a very diverse entry list.
There’s no doubt there are plenty of ways to spend a weekend afternoon, but as several hundred guys and girls in the Sea-Tac area proved last weekend, the Old School Reunion in Bonney Lake was the place to be.
Enjoy the extra (mostly) non-Toyota-themed shots below.
Additional Photos by Sara Ryan