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. 

vertex IS300

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. 

lowered IS300

The Mantra

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. 

vertex chargespeed IS300

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. 

Chargespeed Altezza

Dustin Williams

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.

Text by Wooley   Photos by Taylor Galster   Car by Dustin Williams @okeydokebrand  @okey_dustin

bagged scooter


1JZ GTE VVTI engine swap

W55 Transmission

Spec Stage-3 clutch


Dustin works for Chase Bays. Here are some products they developed around this car:

Brake booster eliminator

Brake line relocation

Clutch line

Power steering kit


Vertex front bumper, side skirts, and rear lip

Altezza rear bumper

Altezza grille

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