Special thanks Tetsuya Ogushi & Naoto Negishi (for translation)
From the outside of Kazama Auto Service, one might not fully expect what occurs within its garage spaces. On one hand you see a few used cars that most would kill to see on a lot here and on the other, you notice a retail front for a RC car shop. Not exactly the kind of imagery that provokes thoughts of D1 competition cars or cars swapped with 600hp engines. On most days, it's normal to find kids or the hardcore RC enthusiast who come in to drive on their choice of an in/outdoor track or have a shop employee modify their cars for optimum performance. For Kazama-san, he still finds solace in building actual cars and there's been another project that's kept him preoccupied - the IS-GT concept.
We first caught wind of the IS-GT this past winter in an Option magazine Tokyo Auto Salon preview. We didn't know much about the car except that it would have extensive body modifications and a 2JZ engine swap done to it. For someone to take the chance and retrofit the car with an older engine platform seemed ballsy enough for our liking and wouldn't just be a built 4GR-FSE (stock IS 250 engine) or possibly a predictable IS-F 2UR-GSE (not that we've seen these swapped in either, but then again you might as well have started with an IS-F). When we saw the car in its finished state at the RAYS booth, we were pleasantly surprised with the outcome and for many good reasons.
Stating the obvious is how beautiful and meticulous the engine work is. The 2JZ-GTE fits in perfectly, as it does when it's swapped into other Toyota models where this engine doesn't come stock (and there are a lot), but it wasn't all puppies' kisses and butterflies. Kazama-san said "it was easier to swap the engine and transmission in than we originally thought. We modified the engine compartment and floorboard slightly and didn't have to modify the body." The most problematic part of the transplant was getting the stock UCF30 (Lexus LS 430) steering rack to work. He felt that the stock IS' electronic power steering lacked a linear feel so the idea to transfer the hydraulically operated UCF30 rack seemed like a good fix, but would obviously require the necessary fabrication to make it work. "I would find a good spot to mount the rack and the shaft would hit the engine mount," Kazama-san says, "So we modified the suspension member (heavily) to alter the centerline of the rack towards the left, but then that affected the left and right turning radiuses; we fixed that with tie rod adapters." A Getrag 6-speed transmission was mated to the 2JZ by using a modified propeller shaft that is a combination of a custom front section with a rear section from the stock IS; an OEM IS 350 differential casing is used to house the Tomei LSD unit. When you hear this setup at idle, it has a wicked sounding engagement thanks to an ORC clutch upgrade, and Kazama-san hinted to us that he's looking for the manual IS 250 shift boot cover from the US RWD model to finish off the transmission swap perfectly. As a matter of fact, to keep the build centered around a true street theme, he made sure the stock gauge cluster, audio and navi all work.
Once the swap was completed, it was time to play. Kazama used an awfully huge GReddy T78 turbo as the heart of his custom turbo system and fabricated all of the piping to make it work, from the intercooler piping all the way down to the exhaust, leading out to a pair of HKS Legamax mufflers. The intake is comprised of a GReddy AIRINX air filter and intake plenum, and SARD fueling components help feed the engine the necessary juice to push out the 600ps the engine, which was max tuned with a HKS V-Pro.
With the car up on a lift, we were able to take a closer look at the custom work we just mentioned and more that you can't see, like the suspension. With the RAYS Gram Lights 57D wheels off - and yes, we dig the pink - you see the DG-5 coilovers and a fully functional Endless braking system that uses 6-pot calipers on all fours with larger, slotted rotors and performance brake pads. Normally the 57D wheels are reserved for shows like TAS or the HKS Festival but when it's back to street mode, a more subtle look is achieved with another model from the Gram Lights catalog, the R57GT wheels. Ultra loud or conservative, the choice is up to Kazama-san.
Even if Kazama only swapped the 2JZ in and beefed up the handling, this IS would still kill it all. But a concept isn't fully realized unless the body goes through a few changes as well. Going above and beyond the stock lines, overtaking even that of the elder IS-F, Kazama-san found inspiration from high end Euro sports cars and custom crafted the Luxor GT aero kit, which adds width at all the fenders, cutting grooves along the way and out the back bumper. It's a nice widebody conversion that we could see working well on US cars in the near future, hopefully, and a two-tone paint job of both glossy white and flat black and the Kazama Auto livery accentuate the new body lines nicely. The roof has also been fitted with a dry carbon overlay and the headlights retrofitted with LEDs from G Corporation to mimic a pseudo-Audi look.
If you were wondering what Kazama-san might be doing with the IS-GT from here on out, it's going to be a few things. First, it's designed to be a street car, so naturally it'll be used daily, and second, it's going to hit the race track a few times; no drifting just yet. Option is hoping it'll join the 300km/hr club, which we're sure will probably be no sweat. Our thoughts? We're just glad we got to see, hear and touch this thing in person.
2005 Lexus IS-GT
Concept (IS 250/GSE20)
Owner kazama Auto Service
Hometown Kasukabe-Shi, Saitama, Japan
Occupation Tuning shop/RC retail outlet
Engine 3.0L 2JZ-GTE; GReddy/Trust T78-29D turbo kit, AIRINX filter, intake plenum, cam gears and exhaust manifold; SARD 800cc fuel injectors, fuel rail, fuel regulator and fuel collector tank; HKS racing spark plugs and Legamax mufflers; Kazama Auto custom turbo piping, intercooler piping, front/mid-pipe and Wastegate pipe; custom painted valve cover
Drivetrain JZA80 Supra Getrag 6-speed transmission; Kazama Auto custom driveshaft; ORC metal twin 659D clutch; Tomei 2-way LSD
Engine management HKS V-Pro and EVC 5 boost controller
Footwork & Chassis DG-5 coilovers for Lexus IS-F (front: 12kg/mm; rear: 6kg/mm)
Brakes Endless 6-pot front/rear caliper system with slotted rotors and high performance brake pads
Wheels & Tires 18x9.5 RAYS Gram Lights 57D (show); 18x9.5 RAYS Gram Lights R57GT (street); Goodyear Eagle RS Sports 255/35R18 (front)/265/35R18 (rear)
Exterior Kazama Auto Luxor GT concept aero kit, including front/rear bumpers, front/rear fenders, side skirts, rear door panels and rear canards; Masa carbon hood; custom carbon-fiber roof overlay; G Corporation customized LED headlight system
Interior Bride Gias II front seats and custom upholstered door panels/rear seats; Nardi steering wheel
www endlessusa.com, greddy.com, hksusa.com, kazamaauto.co.jp, mackinindustries.com (RAYS), more-japan.com (Bride/SARD), tomeiusa.com