After four months, Daniel Kruthanooch, better known as Yogi, finished his 2006 Lexus GS430 just before the '14 SEMA Show. Then it happened... The day the Internet nearly broke. While being Internet famous wasn't in Yogi's original intentions when he set out to build his car, the moment his buddy posted the finished product on Instagram, it spread like wildfire. Yogi's phone blew up with repost and tag notifications like he was an import model!
Rewind the tapes a year ago and Yogi started his Lexus build going the VIP route—as every Lexus GS should, right? The project shifted gears into a one-of-a-kind sporty sedan when he turned to Jim Wang from Weds Wheels North America. The VIP-themed wheels he originally wanted would take three months to arrive from Japan. His car wouldn't make it to SEMA at that rate, so an option Weds had available were the SA55Ms—a design you'd typically see on an Evo or STI, not a Lexus. Yogi knew immediately that a one-piece wheel in the VIP community would not cut it; however, the moment he mounted the SA55Ms on his GS, his whole perspective and direction for the car changed. The union between sporty and luxury made Yogi feel some type of way.
To help visualize the entire build, Yogi called on his good friend and artist Judson Bryan. "All I had in my head were the things I wanted to do, but it just sounded stupid. The extremely talented Judson Bryan was the one who put my imagination on paper," he explained. With a rendering in hand, Yogi approached BCD—no, not the tofu house, but rather Buddha Concept Design—to bring the project to life. It started off with a Vertex Digna kit, but BCD fabricated custom fenders that measure 70 mm wider up front and 80 mm thicker in the rear. Yogi admits the hardest part was cutting up the body, but it's sometimes a necessary evil to achieve a higher goal. It certainly made all the difference! Next, the Vertex kit was tweaked to flow seamless with the new arches. Yogi mentions, "If I had to pinpoint my favorite part of the car, it would be the body lines. When BCD and I met, we both agreed that the widebody would follow all the stock body lines—simply because I believe if you eliminate the body lines off a car, it totally ruins the whole look." To further accentuate the exterior, BCD created front and side splitters, while the front grille was updated to the '08-'11 version. A much more extreme Seibon vented hood would help evacuate hot air from the engine bay. In the rear, an aggressive custom BCD rear diffuser matches the APR wing with Ryoku Rob stands—another modification you'd rarely see on a Lexus build.
After rolling around on the SA55Ms, Yogi opted for something even more sportier from WedsSport—19x10.5" SA15-R in a blue, light chrome. They're a 15-spoke fin-type design, which has successfully been used by Weds in touring car, GT, and rally racing.
To get his stance dialed in, Yogi uses an AirREX air suspension system and a wireless manager. A crapload of Megan Racing suspension parts were thrown in to stiffen the chassis and keep the luxury sedan handling like a sports car.
In the cabin, you won't find Junction Produce accessories or VIP trays. Instead, just a set of Bride seats normally reserved for tuner cars. Under the hood was kept sweet and simple. The factory 4.3L comes with an already potent 300 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque. Yogi replaced the airbox with an Injen intake to allow the 3UZ to breathe easier. A combination of a Megan mid-pipe and GReddy Evo 3 exhaust brings the V-8 motor to life and produces a sound akin to muscle cars.
Today, Yogi's unique Lexus serves as Buddha Concept Design's demo car as well as an inspiration to the Lexus crowd. Yes, a Lexus looks like a gangster slammed to the ground with elegant accessories, but Yogi appreciates all types of builds and saw a sporty-styled theme that fit his lifestyle and vision the best. And it just so happens it became insta-fire on Instagram!