Every year we make our way down the coast to San Diego's Green Flash Brewing Co. for the AutoFashion VIP Fest. Celebrating its 12th annual event, the gathering brings together a large number of—you guessed it—VIP-style builds, but has morphed into something a bit more multi-faceted in that other styles are well represented at the gathering. This year, AutoFashion's Freddie Fernandez asked if we could have a look at the cars on hand and choose one that we liked best. A tall order when you consider some of the heavy hitters within the confines of the brewing co.'s lot. Though it wasn't easy, one car that caught our attention the moment we stepped into the show and not only held it, but had us coming back for another visit (or three) as the day continued, was this 2000 Lexus GS 300.
Now, if you're of the anti-VIP crowd or perhaps not well versed in what the style entails, you might automatically write this off as nothing more than a sedan with a body kit. That's fair, as it's not everyone's taste, but if you truly appreciate a well-executed build plan and are into the micro details that push a build to stand apart from others that might resemble it, then Squad One's Wes Reyes' GS is the right call.
The aero additions start as bolt-on updates and include a Platinum K-Break body kit, front grill, and trunk spoiler. Zoom in a bit more and the stacked exhaust tips on either end of the rear are also from K-Break. Step around to the front of the car and the slick carbon fiber front lip that's just a few sheets of paper off of the concrete is actually a custom one-off piece that looks more like an original option rather than an afterthought, with no awkward gaps or fitment troubles; it flows with the car's updated front end. Just above that sits a K-Break hood with blacked out vents and a very minor bodyline sculpted into the outer edges near the headlights.
Borrowing a bit of OEM JDM inspiration, Wes' GS is fitted with Aristo door visors, door handles, trunk trim, and side mirrors with integrated signals. Japanese issue LS 460 fog lights were also included, as were L.E.D. taillights. Allowing the J-spec infused sedan to hunker down at will are Air Runner airbag struts controlled by Accuair e-level management.
The tire tucking revolves around Ulterior Motives applying some metal fender magic to all four corners and the result is a factory-like appearance with just enough space for the 19x10 front, 19x11 rear Super Star Leon Hardiritt Gemut rollers wrapped in Falken FK453 rubber. At full compression the rear wheels remain almost perfectly parallel while up front, some camber is introduced and avoids any fender to tire collisions but it's just enough, rather than "hey, look at me." And that's the attitude, whether planned or not, that this car seems to convey. It's a delicate balance of mild and wild but subdued enough to quietly pique your interest while laying back and waiting for you to step in for a closer look.
Part of the appeal of the GS' exterior comes from the blue paint that feels somewhat familiar but you might not be able to put your finger on it right away. You can find it at the Toyota dealer slathered on their Tacoma, 4-runner, and FJ, dubbed Toyota Cavalry Blue.
Inside the cabin, the Lexus feel was maintained and only enhanced with some choice red accent stitching that includes the steering wheel, seats, and center armrest. And while the stitching was in full swing, Wes had the e-level remote integrated so it's in perfect position for quick level changes.
Right after SEMA closed out, AutoFashion held a small get together in Las Vegas where this GS 300 made its debut. Just a few days later it was at VIP Fest 12, but don't assume it's complete yet. Currently relying on an untouched factory engine, Wes has plans for an all new turbo 2JZ to make its way into the bay, and if what he's done so far with his build is any indication of what's to come, we expect quality parts, attention to detail, and a seamless combination.