Our History: Starting 1994 – Toranafest began!
The concept of Toranafest began in 1994.
The original Toranafest was instigated by New FM Radio Host, Maynard (now with ABC Newcastle) in response to the inordinate amount of Toranas he had noticed on the road, in Newcastle. After getting “ribbed’ about his car (a VW) from Newcastle’s Torana owners, the idea of holding an all Torana Car show was beginning to have momentum.
New FM approached the Club with the concept and they were more than happy to be a part of it.
The members debated whether to include only local Toranas, or include those from Sydney and Newcastle or even Australia. The actual name Toranafest was devised by members from the HVTC.
On the 5th June 1994, a total of 183 Toranas gathered at Bar Beach for this inaugural gathering. This number took some years to surpass. The local Police provided an escort through Darby St and Hunter St. The traffic lights were coordinated to be green to keep the cars together as one. The cars then finished the cruise and gathered at the Newcastle Foreshore for the day’s show and shine.
It was seen as a fun way to promote the Club and to stage an event that included Holden Torana’s. Trophies were awarded to both the youngest and oldest Torana driver on the day. At the first Toranafest, the oldest driver was an 83 year old gentleman from Mayfield (in a 1973 LJ) whilst the youngest was Justin White. This event staged by the Club has grown significantly in recent years as the numbers testify:
1994 – 183 entries
1995 – 2001 – no records kept
2002 – 49 entries
2003 – 44 entries
2004 – 55 entries
2005 – 55 entries
2006 – 71 entries
2007 – 102 entries*
2008 – 227 entries
2009 – 246 entries
2010 – 259 entries
2011 – 274 entries
2012 – 296 entries
2013 – 354 entries
2015 – 327 entries
2017 – 425 entries
* In 2007, Mick McCardle took over as Toranafest Coordinator and saw the need to expand the Toranafest concept. Taking a close look at past events, it was decided to give Toranafest a “theme” each year which could also be used for marketing purposes. 2007 saw the first VIP Guest invited – Harry Firth
The Club has always donated the proceeds from the day to a nominated local charity or community group. Over the years the groups who have benefited from Toranafest included Neonatal Intensive Care Ward at JHH, Delando Cresent Special School, Westpac Rescue Helicopter and in recent years, Ronald McDonald House.