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 |   |  1998 Lexus GS300 - Going Ham
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1998 Lexus GS300 - Going Ham

This Lexus might look low and slow but it goes hard as a motherf@cka with 550+whp!

Feb 7, 2013
Photographer: Kyle McManus
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This Lexus is far from traditional. It might even offend some of you. It’s a combination of themes. You can see a bit of VIP influences with the Vertex aero, SSR rims and glossy paint. But it’s also not a slug putting down 550+whp on the dyno via a boosted inline-six. Lastly, its stance is unforgettable. With everything mixed into one package, it was clear that plenty of time and money was put into this GS300. The car stopped us in our tracks at Wekfest East so we had to revisit the owner to take another look and show you this work of art.

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The 26 year-old responsible for the car is Zeb Magsi and he’s built his fair share of cool cars. Originally from Pakistan, one of his first projects was a Tommy Kaira-equipped Evo. Then, he moved to North Carolina and really got into the scene building up a couple of race-ready Civics. In ’07, he decided to move onto something that would set his style apart from the rest. And since the VIP scene was still quiet where he lived, he picked up this GS in the hopes of building something unique.

For starters, the car was everything Zeb wanted with low mileage, a clean body and no sunroof—a rare feature on the GS. The car also came with another minor detail that Zeb was after…a full 2JZ-GTE swap! A quick history lesson about the GS, it never came boosted in the states; however in Japan, it was called the Toyota Aristo and was offered with the twin-turbo 3.0-liter inline-six—the same basic configuration of the Supra. Nuff said, right?

In a mission to create the baddest Aristo around, Zeb kicked off the project by redoing the wiring and certain hardware pieces from the previous owner. Although the car had the right foundation for power, the motor was hurtin’. He spent months trying to get the engine to a point where it could be driven on the regular. Eventually the GS started up and drove but it still lacked the right tune due to the difficulty of running a full standalone in the Lexus. He also couldn’t mess with the piggyback HKS F-Con V-Pro system without the master key and computer software.

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After years of research and waiting, Zeb got a hold of the necessary HKS software and key from Australia to finish the tuning. With the right tools in hand, he decided to go even harder by strengthening the motor with forged pistons, Brian Crower rods and ARP rod bolts. The head received equal treatment thanks to Supertech valves and valve springs. Another important upgrade was new seals throughout—a common weak link with 2JZ motors.

Not slowin’ down, Zeb beefened up the drivetrain by swapping the transmission to an Aristo-spec four-speed automatic while also adding a Titan Motorsport torque converter and upgraded valve body.

With a new BorgWarner turbo and uprated fuel system, the 2JZ was retuned at 19psi to push 556whp and 590 lb-ft. Awesome? We think so! But Zeb told us he’s most proud of its drivability, “I just wanted to build a car that runs right. I didn’t want it to stall or hesitate but run like factory. When you’re off the boost, it’s actually really quiet and drives like a normal GS300.”

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With the motor done, Zeb didn’t get much rest as he fitted the chassis up with the finest gear available. After experimenting with coilovers, he went to D2 Racing who provided the coil-over-bag setup for the car’s incredible drop. Not cutting any corners, all the bushings and suspension components were replaced to ensure a solid OE-like ride. D2 also supplied the brakes all-around.

Following the chassis, it was time to get a little more cray with the exterior. “My main thing was that I wanted to keep the body lines with the fenders. Exotic INC did all the work and they pulled the fenders without adding metal or fiberglass,” he explained. After adding the Vertex kit, the body was sprayed the original Cinnabar color, but not just any ordinary Cinnabar. Zeb requested a special three-stage mixture which added some gold pearl giving the car more of an orange shine in the sunlight.

And with the fresh fenders, Zeb mounted up massive 19" SSR SP3 wheels to all four corners measuring 9.5" wide up front and 10.5" in the rear. He dialed the camber to -5.2° shortly after—the most camber he can run while still maintaining as much traction as possible.

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The car is almost complete but Zeb admitted the interior remains stock. He’s searching for the right set of seats before he goes buck wild inside. But for now, he’s doing his part to grow the scene. He’s even started a website called Insane Stance & Offset which has coordinated large meets in surplus of 1,000 cars for the last three years in his area.

As for the GS, even though it packs a lot of power with show stopping looks, we’re happy to inform you that it’s far from a trailer queen. Zeb romps on it every other day and isn’t afraid to take it on long road trips. In fact, we caught up with him after he drove 12 straight hours to Wekfest. Now that’s going HAM!

1998 Lexus GS300

Owner Zeb Magsi

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Hometown Cary, NC

Occupation Self employed

Engine Aristo 2JZ-GTE VVTI engine with Brian Crower rods; CP Pistons; Supertech valves, valve springs, valve stem seals; HKS Valcon Plus V Cam Pro kit, turbo manifold and duel feed fuel rail; ARP head studs and rod bolts; Aeromotive fuel pressure regulator; twin Walbro 255lph fuel pumps; -10AM fuel feed line; 1050cc Fuel Injector Clinic injectors; BorgWarner S300SX turbo; 3" JASMA downpipe; 3" midpipe; 5Zigen Fireball Mega mufflers; Precision front-mount intercooler

Drivetrain Aristo four-speed automatic transmission and rear differential; Titan Motorsports 3500 stall torque converter; Cusco limited-slip differential; upgraded valve body

Engine Management HKS F-Con V-Pro, DLI ignition and sensors; AEM wideband and Tru Boost controller

Footwork & Chassis D2 Racing adjustable struts and air bags; RideTech five-gallon air management kit; Figs Engineering tie rods, rear MEGA lower arms, TRAC links and rear toe arms; Daizen front-end bushing kit; TRD front and rear sway bars

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Brakes 356mm front and 330mm rear D2 Racing big brakes with eight- and four-piston calipers

Wheels & Tires 19x9.5" -3 front, 19x10.5" -8 rear SSR SP3 wheels; 235/35R19 front, 255/35R19 rear Falken FK452 tires

Exterior Vertex front and rear bumpers, side skirts and spoiler; Seibon carbon hood; JDM carbon trunk; pulled fenders; three-stage paint

Interior Pioneer D3 head unit; JL Audio 6.5" components, five-channel amp, 12" W3 sub

Thanks You Exotics INC for the paint and body, Phantasm Motorsports, Force-Fed Performance for the engine build and tuning, D2 Racing and RideTech

Sam Du
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