The VIP styling of cars is an undeniable trend. It’s bigger today than ever before and has yet to see its peak in following. From the notorious HellaFlush car shows to the cars showcased at the annual Tokyo Auto Salon, you’ll see an abundant amount of VIP’d Lexus, Infiniti, and the like. As a person who likes to tinker and modify cars, when given a luxury vehicle, what do you do with it? There seems to be only one answer—but Johnny Feng doesn’t agree.
We present to you his ’06 Lexus IS 250. From the factory, this car seemingly likes to play dress up—and does it impressively well. At a first glance of his striking sports sedan, one might be a little shocked that this is everything but previously discussed. Johnny simply isn’t a follower; he enjoys going against the grain. “I avoided the whole VIP scene,“ he says. “Because that’s the route most people go.”
Johnny is a 25-year-old accounting student and has a track record of owning some respectable cars. What began it all was, perhaps not so shockingly enough, The Fast and the Furious. Like millions of teens across the country, Johnny and his high-school friends were influenced by the hit flick. “It started all pretty ricey. My first car was an Eclipse GS-T. I wanted an Integra but my Dad found a really good deal on it. I had this fake body kit and it was so low it was nearly undriveable.” Years later, he attended a local car show where he found love with the Lexus IS line—particularly the IS 300—and purchased one of his own. “I wanted the ‘original’ Altezza lights and loved Nobuteru Taniguchi’s HKS Altezza.” After he was done building the IS 300, he went back to his would-be roots and purchased a yellow Integra Type R where his love for all-things JDM shown through as he had it converted to a JDM front. As all ITR owners know, theft is an ever-present danger. A common saying is, “it’s not ‘if’ your car will get stolen, it’s ‘when’.” Unfortunately, this saying held true for Johnny. After the loss of his Integra, he had to start his search for another car. “I ended up getting a new IS because it looked so revolutionary and I wanted to stay within the Lexus family,” he says.
Johnny took a great deal of pride in building his IS with definitive thought and a strong goal in mind. Having ultra-rare JDM goodies and having a show car that can also perform is very important to him. At first glance, the INGS+1 enhanced exterior and BASF Midnight Purple paint are the main attention grabbers. “The car has been through three stages of paint—OEM, flat black, and Midnight Purple,” says Johnny. “Flat black was all the hype a few years back. I decided to paint the car Midnight Purple because it’s always been my favorite color . . . that and it was keyed.” However much wincing that may have caused, we’re more than happy with the outcome.
Open the door and you’ll see custom work done to the interior with red stitching on the rear seats, door panels, and shift boot. Johnny pilots his Lexus with his hands on a Nardi Classic 330mm steering wheel connected by a Works Bell quick release and an ARC titanium shift knob on an F-Sport short shifter. To keep himself and his passenger securely strapped in, Johnny has installed dual Bride Brix seats with four-point Takata harnesses mounted to a custom harness bar. Rounding out his interior mods is his ICE (in-car entertainment): An Eclipse navi head unit with Crossfire amps, subs, and custom enclosures.
Under the hood is the V-6 4GR-FSE powerplant set up with a Vortech supercharger by Autogear of San Gabriel, CA. The Vortech V-9 F-trim centrifugal unit is accompanied by an RB Racing electric oil feed and scavenge pump to handle the lubrication requirements. The HKS SMF reloaded air filter, custom charge piping, Synapse Synchronic blow-off valve, and Greddy intercooler manage and cool the pressurized air. The Mazzuri headers, Invidia mid-pipe, and Blitz Nür Spec exhaust handle the obvious, while Sun Auto’s Hyper Voltage System and Grounding Kit extract the full power potential by enhancing the car’s electrical system. No show car is complete without a sprinkling of bling under the hood, a carbon-fiber engine cover and cooling plate, along with an ARC oil cap and radiator cap, are the final touches for this engine bay.
Function & Form’s Type 2 coilovers were installed by Impex Motorsports of Rosemead, CA, to achieve the IS’s slammed stance. To keep up with his goal of obtaining a performance-oriented show car, Johnny had GT Spec chassis braces and F-Sport sway bars installed to improve rigidity and handling. When he needs to bring everything to a stop, the Endless six-pot racing calipers with 355mm rotors achieve that effortlessly.
To efficiently get the power to the ground, Johnny swapped out his stock differential to a Tom’s LSD. Power transfer through the LSD ultimately hits the ground via a set of limited-edition Blue F-Zero Volk TE37s wrapped in Falken FK452 tires. Like many show car builders, he’s very particular about his wheels. Blame it on being indecisive, picky, or just getting bored with the same thing, but Johnny has gone through 13 sets of wheels on this car alone. As of this writing, he’s already onto his next set—Volk CE28s in Mag Blue.
Jonny’s fresh tastes have won his car numerous awards at Hot Import Nights, SpoCom, and Import Showoff events. His IS 250 is a show car but is definitely track worthy. His firm belief in not faltering towards the VIP trend has stuck true throughout his build and he’s not about to give in yet.In the future, he sees his car being fully track prepped “with a gutted interior and race suspension,” he adds. Be on the lookout both on the street and the track as he strives to build the perfect combination of a street and track car.
Behind The Build
Fantasy basketball, basketball, bowling
“I just wanted to have a cool, JDM-ish car.”
’06 Lexus IS 250
Output 280 whp / 220 lb-ft of torque
Engine Vortech V-9 F-trim supercharger, 6-rib pulley; Synapse Synchronic blow-off valve; Mazzuri headers; RB Racing electric oil feed and scavenge pump; custom dual-pulley setup; Greddy intercooler, oil catch can; custom intercooler piping; Samco hoses; HKS SMF Reloaded air filter; Invidia mid-pipe; Blitz Nür-Spec exhaust; Sun Auto Hyper Gauss, Hyper Grounding Kit, Hyper Voltage Kit, Hot Inazma Eco; ARC oil cap, radiator cap; carbon-fiber cooling plate; carbon-fiber engine cover
Drivetrain Tom’s LSD; F-sport short shifter, clutch; Fidanza flywheel
Suspension Function & Form Type 2 coilovers; GT-Spec Type D front strut brace, front 2-point lower tie brace, front 4-point lower tie brace, rear V-brace, rear lower tie brace; F-Sport sway bars
Brakes Endless front 6-pot racing calipers; 355mm rotors; Endless brake lines
Wheels/Tires Volk TE37 wheels (19x9.5 inches +22mm front, 19x10.5 inches +22mm rear); Falken FK452 tires (225/35-19 front, 245/35-19 rear); Project Kics R40 Neo Chro lug nuts
Interior Bride Brix seats, MO-Type seat rails; Nardi Classic 330mm steering wheel; ARC Titanium shift knob; custom harness bar, custom door panels, rear seats, shift boot with red stitching; NRG short steering wheel hub; Takata MPH-340 4-point racing harnesses; Works Bell quick release; Project Mu pedals
Exterior Ings+1 LX Sport front lip, side skirts, rear bumper, rear wing; Xenon-Vision HIDs; AutoTecknic front tow hook; LX-Mode front grille; IS-F-style LED taillights; BASF Midnight Purple II paint, applied by Auto Werks in El Monte, CA; shaved rear emblems; black roof; flat black grille
Electronics Eclipse AVN5500 DVD/MP3/Navi head unit, BEC106 backup camera; Crossfire 1000D amplifier, VR404 amplifier, BMF subwoofers (x2); MB Quart crossovers (x2); custom enclosure with plexiglass
Gratitude Robert and Bakari at Falken; Preston and Robb at Function & Form; Shino at Lot-USA; Kevin and Autohan at Autogear; Harry at Impex; Peter at Autowerks; Steve and Freddie at Autofashion; Dat at Speed Alliance; Brian at AutoTechnic; Everyone in Ar-kan; Diana, the girlfriend; family and friends