A Little Background
I remember when the original IS300/Altezza was first introduced in the states around 2000 or 2001. It was a big deal in the automotive world. Lexus presented alive new sport sedan that got enthusiasts’ & journalists’ blood flowing. The IS300 was introduced with bold colors like bright red & yellow. Inside, it had eyebrow-raising sueded/alcantara seats, as well as prominent gauges & dash layout. Under the hood, the inline-6 (normally aspirated 2JZ) had a strong & forceful OEM exhaust note. And soon after launch, Lexus dropped a manual transmission option! How was I not all over this car?! Oh that’s right, I was a broke college kid lol.
But in addition to college classes, I also worked at Panoz Racing School… and Lexus came out to Road Atlanta for a big ‘to do’ for regional dealers upon introduction. They let the dealers rip the cars on an autocross, skid pad, etc. It was clear that Lexus believed in this chassis, and wanted the dealers to realize the car’s beauty was more than skin-deep.
I remember the commercials for the IS’s release. Lexus ran the slogan “Sufficiently Radical”. And that really hit the nail on the head, especially in the height of the import-tuning (Fast & Furious) explosion where the import car culture was taking everything over the top. It was a bold car, but it still had that nod of sophistication you’d expect from Lexus. And it proved that Lexus really did their homework and came to play with the BMW 3-Series.
See, the IS300 TOLD consumers what they wanted! It didn’t ASK them. Toyota/Lexus was on a mission. And I tend to say, “If you want a truly good car through & through… look for the brands/models that really had/have something to prove.” Toyota/Lexus put their best foot forward as a brand with the original IS300. They executed well, and built the right car at the right time. Subsequently, history has validated the chassis. As a purchase, you can’t really go wrong with this car. And… there’s enough aftermarket support & swap options to go anywhere you want with it.
This particular car belongs to Dustin Williams from Okeydoke Brand & Chasebays. Dustin’s done a Toyota 1JZ GTE turbocharged engine swap with a W55 manual transmission. He’s got the right mods for the chassis: Vertex & Chargespeed aero, Work wheels. But the engine/trans in this chassis is just a timeless driver’s combination. It really makes this IS300 a forever car, a constant classic that stays up with the ages.
1JZ GTE VVTI engine swap
Spec Stage-3 clutch
Dustin works for Chase Bays. Here are some products they developed around this car:
Brake booster eliminator
Brake line relocation
Power steering kit
Vertex front bumper, side skirts, and rear lip
Altezza rear bumper
Chargespeed hood & fenders
Minty Fresh Gundam aero roof spoiler
Ganador aero mirrors
Wheels / Suspension / Brakes
Chrome Work VS-KF wheels in 18×9 +26 front & 18×9.5 +20 rear
LS400 front brake calipers
Stance XR1 coilovers
Serial Nine rear UCAs, rear LCAs, rear toe arms, rear traction rods, rear solid subframe bushings, rear solid diff bushings, and front UCAs
Figs Racing rear solid LCA & trac bushings