JDM ALTEZZA FANBOY
Excuse me for a couple of minutes while I fanboy over the Lexus IS... One of my favorite JDM builds of all-time is the HKS "Track Attack" Toyota Altezza. Carbon fiber body panels, full tube frame chassis, 50/50 weight distribution, 2,000lbs curb weight and a 600hp, 450 lb-ft four-cylinder engine It was the type of car that high school kids like me had wet dreams about. Of course, we never got the Altezza stateside, but we did welcome the 2001 Lexus IS 300 - a rear-wheel-drive compact sedan powered by a 215hp naturally aspirated 2JZ-GE 3.0-liter inline-six. It came with a five-speed automatic in its first model year, followed by a five-speed manual in 2002. The IS 300 would eventually spawn a huge community of Lexus enthusiasts and an industry for aftermarket Lexus parts. The original IS was a vehicle a lot of us at Super Street felt strongly about, which is why despite the identity of the IS evolving over the years, we still kept the car close to our hearts.
THROWBACK: EARLY 1ST GEN LEXUS IS FEATURES
- Looking good in gold and Wald body kit is this supercharged 2001 IS 300.
- 10-second, 850whp fully-built 2002 IS 300.
- Advan Model 5 wheels, HKS coilovers and carbon fiber body parts on this 2001 IS 300.
- 2003 IS 300 with a VIP theme and shaved 'n wide bodywork.
- 2001 IS 300 with Wald VIP styling with a custom turbo kit to make a street performing 321whp.
- 561hp custom turbocharged 2001 IS 300 on nitrous.
- We had a long-term IS 300 project car way back in the day.
CELEBRATING GENERATIONS OF THE IS
Over the last two decades, the Lexus IS has evolved into many shapes and sizes which we wanted to celebrate as the 2021 midcycle refresh emerges for the first time this fall. I put on my thinking cap and thought it would be fun to organize a group Super Street drive to celebrate all things IS. In total, 10 enthusiast-owned, street-driven project cars showed up which included a couple of turbocharged 1JZ-GTE-swapped first-gens, an IS 300 SportCross wagon variant, an IS C hardtop convertible, and of course, the 5.0-liter V8 IS F.
The event started with breakfast at the Mountain Top Caf in Phelan (about 70 miles outside of LA), followed by a cruise to the Mormon Rocks Viewpoint, then down Highway 138 through Silverwood Lake until we reached our final destination at Fontana's Auto Club Speedway. At the Speedway, all the attendees received their first glimpse of the 2021 IS 350 F Sport. The day was capped off with a few parade laps around the two-mile D-shaped oval of Fontana, often used for NASCAR races (rumored to be converted into a half-mile short track by next year).
To say it was an unforgettable day would be an understatement. Everyone in attendance was super stoked to be out of the house, especially for a year that's been plagued with a lack of events and get-togethers. Enjoy the photo gallery as captured by Renz Dimaandal and Luke Munnell, and if you'd like to find out more about the modified IS rides seen here, checkout their Instagram pages below:
OTHER COOL LEXUS STORIES
- Saying goodbye to the V8-powered Lexus GS F.
- The baddest Lexus RC F drift car we've ever seen with a 2JZ swap and Kevlar body.
- We cruise around downtown LA in the 2021 Lexus LC 500 Convertible.
- Ridiculous stance on this Lexus LC 500h hybrid by way of 326 Power Japan.
- JayCray's infamous Liberty Walk Lexus LC 500 on Toyo tires.
- Our retired off-road-themed 2020 Lexus UX project car.