The love for all things Toyota, R Garage features legendary Toyota models

The love for all things Toyota, R Garage features legendary Toyota models

What’s considered to be the second Toyota museum in Southeast Asia opens in the Philippines.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Where is the Toyota R Garage located?

    Located in Bauang, La Union, next to the Toyota dealership of the town, R Garage showcases and immortalizes the sporty and reliable vehicles that soon defined the Japanese carmaker.
  • How many vehicles can be displayed at Toyota R Garage?

    R Garage spans 1,600 square meters and can accommodate 50 cars at a time.
  • The museum houses pristine examples of classic Toyota vehicles — from sporty compacts such as Celica, Sera, Starlet, and Sprinter, the generations of Supra, and AE86 Trueno, to Land Cruiser and RAV4 SUVs of various vintage, and Hilux. Even the Toyota Sports 800 — a little two-seater so rare that even with 3,131 units made from 1965 to 1969, only 10% percent of these are reportedly surviving today — has found its way to this place.

    Not long ago, you could see these spotless cars bearing their original badges, colors, or engines only in Japan.

    This is R Garage, located in Bauang, La Union. Standing next to the Toyota dealership in the town, the museum showcases and immortalizes the sporty and reliable vehicles that soon defined the Japanese carmaker. R Garage spans 1,600 square meters and can accommodate 50 cars at a time.

    R Garage is born from one man’s passion for the brand — particularly of Richmond So, General Manager and Owner of Toyota La Union.

    But just like in a movie or book plot, So’s love affair with Toyota came his way unexpectedly.

    Toyota R Garage

    "I was never interested in cars growing up, but when I was asked by my father to lead our Toyota dealership in La Union, I learned to appreciate and love cars, particularly Toyota,” Richmond shared while referring to his father, Rene.

    “This passion grew stronger and stronger as years went by,” the R Garage leadership added. “There are many other great cars built by different brands but for me, I will only own Toyota cars."

    After he graduated from college, Richmond joined his family’s Toyota dealer group, and later, took over as Toyota La Union's manager upon his father’s request. The son then developed a stronger passion for Toyota and a collection of the brand's classic cars, which all started with his purchase of an AE86 Sprinter Trueno and an AE82 four-door hatch in 2017.

    Soon after, Rene became pleasantly delighted to learn how his son had accumulated a fair number of cars in such a short time. Rene then made the decision to provide a suitable location for these cherished vehicles rather than simply fixing and putting them inside their business.

    Toyota R Garage

    How determined businessmen were in making R Garage a reality further indicates their passion.

    Over the previous two years, the enormous barren lot on the south side of Toyota La Union steadily transformed into this landmark. The So family was motivated to finish the project as quickly as possible — despite the setbacks caused by the health crisis.

    Now with these events safely in the past, what’s next for R Garage?

    Apparently, the R Garage team will occasionally change the cars on display in order to maintain the attraction interesting for visitors. The R Garage is eyed to be a part of R Hub, a complex that will house businesses such as cafes, restaurants, shops, and a theater.

    In the near future, kid-friendly interactive activities will be included in the museum visit. R Garage is now developing relationships with colleges and universities as well. By providing an immersive Toyota experience for pupils, the business hopes to advance their education — and cultivate within them the desire for automobiles.

    Toyota R Garage

    R Garage is significant not just because it's the second mecca for iconic Toyotas in Southeast Asia. Still, it's also a concrete example of how gearheads can keep the passion burning.

    Photos from Jeff Reyes

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