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2003 Lexus IS300 - Best Of Both Worlds

Like Tera Patrick In Her Prime, This Is300 Brings The Eurasian Heat

Joey Lee
Sep 1, 2009
Photographer: Scott Dukes

Let's face facts shall we? In today's day and age, it's getting harder and harder to find a build that has the complete package of performance and luxury. You either have the fully-built track cars or you have the cars with class. The luxury rides spend their days on the club circuit rather than the race circuit. The track cars soil man-panties and not the ones worn by the club breezies. That's just the way it is. The market tends to dictate what people are looking for and the masses want a track or show vehicle-never an amalgamation of the two. The IS300 you see laid out so elegantly before you however, represents a change in the tide. See, this IS has an aggressive streak and unlike a failed R. Kelly/Jay-Z mash-up, it is truly the best of both worlds.

The focus of this project was to combine luxury aspects to a track-worthy vehicle." Nate explains. "I chose the IS300 platform because I needed a car that had the lavishness and style to display my product." The product, if you're wondering, is custom high-end CNC-machined license plates for a company that Nate Davis operates known as: TrialOne CNC. "It's pronounced Trial-One 'Sensei', as in Trial-One master or professional." Davis states cleverly. "Get it? It's a play on words because 'Sensei' in Japanese means master." You don't have to lie to kick it, we didn't get it either until Nate explained it to us, but credit definitely goes to the man for being crafty with words. He's equally as crafty building cars. "I've been in this industry since 1995 so every single modification that I've done to this project is done with great thought and attention to detail. There's not one thing on this IS that doesn't hold a special meaning to me," Nate states.

"I knew that with the IS-platform, I had a car that possessed the handling and aftermarket support to transform it into a high performance vehicle for track-use." Getting the IS around the track in a decent amount of time posted a bit of an issue though. The 2JZ-GE that comes equipped from the factory is practically a twin of the Supra's GTE. Unfortunately, it's a twin in a sense that it's the Danny DeVito to the Supra's Schwarzenegger. To give the 2JZ some balls, Nate opted for boost with a Vortech blower. "I wanted power to be as immediate as possible while keeping the consistent boost and torque levels that only a supercharger can provide," Davis explains. "I knew that if I couldn't get the power I wanted, I could always swap over to a 2JZ-GTE. It's currently making 317rwhp and that's plenty for the track."

With all the power he wanted in his grasp, Nate turned his attention to the exterior. At a glance, the front and sides may not look at all familiar. That's because the TRD Qualitat Modellista aero package was never introduced here in the U.S. and they are so rare that even Japan and Europe had them only in limited release. He looked to Japan for inspiration once again when he copped a pair of Vertex 15mm overfenders. The widened fenders allow this IS to house staggered 18x8.5/18x9.5in Enkei RPF1 Type RC wheels. Behind the RPF1's sit a Rotora front and rear big brake kit which will increase stopping power once Nate hits the track. Improving its already capable handling prowess are A'PEXi N1 Damper ExV coilovers with the original coils swapped in favor of custom springs from Eibach. The rest of the exterior are a plethora of JDM Toyota knick-knacks including but not limited to; an Altezza sport spoiler, window visors, antenna and even JDM TRD rear mud flaps. M1 Autobody was responsible for creating a remix of the original Graphite Grey Pearl paint and adjusting it until it matched the Metallic Grey Pearl hue of a 2002 Porsche.

The interior really shines when both show and track are taken into consideration. Nate could have gone with a full racing bucket but that just wouldn't make sense in a luxury car. Instead, Nate elected to go with Recaro Sport Topline seats. These electronic Recaros feature a climate control package that not only makes the seat fully adjustable but also has a vent to keep you cool. "I love them," Nate exclaims. "They're elegant yet fully track-capable." Davis is so meticulous in his approach that he had all the interior trim redone in a brushed aluminum finish. "I did the brushed aluminum because carbon-fiber trim is so overdone and I wanted that old Mercedes AMG-look." As mentioned earlier, there isn't a mod on this IS300 that hasn't been well-thought out. Even the custom audio set-up in the rear is wrapped in suede and leather to match the consistency of the Recaro Topline seats upfront.

To say that Nate Davis has great attention to detail would almost be an understatement. The guy is very anal about his work and very methodical in his execution. After speaking to the man, it almost seems as if pictures alone wouldn't be able to do all his little details justice. Many will contend that if he wanted a euro-luxury theme so bad, he should have just bought a European car to start. If he had though, Nate would be missing one critical aspect-originality, which seems to be his best trait. That's the beauty of the world we live in. You build what you want so that you can create something that no one else has. A European car would never be this IS300 and vice versa. What Davis did was take the best aspects of both the genres and added his own personal touches to build something completely his own.

Fast Facts
2003 Lexus IS300
Owner Nate Davis
Hometown Los Angeles, CA
Daily Grind Owner And Consultant Of Trialone CNC

Under The Hood Inline-6 2JZ-GE; Vortech Supercharger Kit (satin finish), oil cooler and front-mount intercooler; HKS Limited Edition Ti exhaust system; Toyomoto stainless header and Y-pipe; Mishimoto aluminum radiator, (2) 14-inch radiator fans and transmission oil cooler; K&N oil and air filters; Torco SR-5 engine oil and synthetic automatic transmission oil; GReddy oil cap and radiator breather tank; PLP front radiator cooling plate; FIGS brushed-aluminum battery hold-down, KICS Project magnetic oil-drain plug; SUN Auto Hyper Ground System

Drivetrain Stock E-Shift

Stiff Stuff A'PEXi N1 Damper ExV coilovers w/Eibach 13kg front/11kg rear springs; Eibach front and rear sway bars, FIGS MEGA rear control arms; PLP front strut tower bar; JDM TRD rear chassis brace; JDM Option front chassis brace

Stoppers Rotora 4-piston front brakes and 2-piece rotor, 4-piston rear brakes and 2-piece rotor, Gold brake pads and stainless steel brake lines

Rollers 18x8.5 +42 Enkei RPF1 Type RC with 225/40-18 Yokohama Advan Sport (front); 18x9.5 +45 Enkei RPF1 Type RC with 235/35-18 Yokohama Advan Sport (rear); KICS Project 20mm extended wheel studs, Neo Chrome lug nuts

Outside TrialOne CNC front license plate; JDM TRD Qualitat Modellista front bumper and sideskirts; JDM TRD rear mud flaps; JDM Toyota window visors, sport spoiler, antenna, power-folding mirrors and sidemarkers; Vertex 15mm front aero fenders and bonnet spoiler; Custom carbon-fiber roof spoiler; Custom Graphite Gray Pearl paint by M1 Auto Body; Tuned Parts custom headlights; Coastline Customs front and rear light film

Inside Recaro Sport Topline seats; Schroth White Tiger limited-edition safety harnesses; FIGS driver and passenger brushed aluminum floor plates; JDM TRD shift knob and boost gauge; custom brushed-aluminum interior trim; Defi Link Display, Link Controller II, coolant temperature, oil temperature and oil pressure gauges; Innovative Motorsports 5-wire wideband air/fuel ratio meter and turbo timer

Ice Memphis Audio 12-inch subwoofer, component speaker system, 1100-watt amplifier, 75-watt 4-channel amplifier and 1.0 farad capacitor; Evolution Motorsports custom car stereo enclosures wrapped in suede and leather with custom silver stitching

Props TrialOne CNC; Enkei International Wheels; Yokohama ADVAN Tire Corporation; Mishimoto Automotive; Schroth Racing Harnesses; Innovative Motorsports; Recaro North America; Torco Racing Oil USA; KICS Project; Sun Auto; Mothers; Memphis Audio; K&N Filters; Rotora Brakes; Vortech Superchargers; M1 Auto Body; Integrated Performance; Vertex USA; Eibach Springs; FIGS Engineering; Superior Dash; Optima Battery; HKS USA; Coastline Concepts; Tuned Parts; Token Solutions; Defi; Evolution Motorsports; Mike Figaro @ FIGS Engineering

www enkeiwheels.com, speedalliance.com, recaro.com, rotora.com

By Joey Lee
243 Articles

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