Bloody Good: GT Style 2006 Lexus IS
The Innovation Cup is an event that showcases new car modification styles similar to what you would see in an automotive "fashion show" — with a lot of wild ideas that seem pretty impractical, and just a few hidden gems in which I could see myself driving down the road. As I made my way through the rows of these concepts, I eventually came upon one of those cars that I wouldn't mind being spotted in.
Parked in what would be the equivalent first seat of the orchestra was a beautifully executed 2006 Lexus IS. With nothing blocking the view, I was able to take it all in; although wild, it was perfectly balanced. With the owner nowhere to be found, I walked the show a bit more, but the only thing on my mind was the IS.
After giving it a few minutes I returned, determined to find the owner. Luckily enough, some others in attendance were able to point me in the right direction. Eventually, I was able to introduce myself to Mr. Ishiyama, and he kindly agreed to meet at a later time for a photo shoot.
Junk in the Trunk
Fast forward three months, and we were able to finally able to meet in the outskirts of Chigasaki, Japan. Mr. Ishiyama, along with his wife, were kind enough to meet me at the train station and take me to the location for the shoot. I was a bit worried about stuffing all my gear in the car, but it wasn't an issue. This is a car that gets driven.
As we made the way through the small town streets, I found the ride to be really comfortable, thanks to the air suspension. The number of monitors and the entertainment system are nothing short of what I would expect in car like this. (However, the fact that the monitors are in the place of rearview mirror did concern me a bit.)
The interior is nothing short of plush with a mix of custom wrapped red felt and white vinyl. The passenger side drink holder is something I normally associate with vans, but it seems a natural fit in the IS. In the rear, the stuffed NOS bottle hints to what resides in the trunk.
Every panel seems to have been filled with monitors or gauges. In the A-pillars are air meters and various audio meters. The panels that don't have any sort of monitor or gauge are carefully wrapped in transparent carbon sheets. The interior is finished off with a real carbon steering wheel and a Death Grip shift knob.
Drop It Low
After arriving at the location, Mr. Ishiyama had some concerns, as it was the type of location he wouldn't typically choose for a shoot. However, it turned out to provide a great setting in contrast to the cleanliness of the IS. Mr. Ishiyama took out his remote and set the Ideal Air Suspension to its "max low" setting, tucking the Work Seeker CX wheels perfectly into the fenders.
The stuffed NOS bottle in the back seat matches the NOS bottle that Mr. Ishiyama uses as the air tank for the suspension — a nod to the American style he has incorporated into his IS.
With 18x10s in the front and 18x11s in the rear all wrapped neatly in Nitto Tire NT555s, the size and style complement the overall appearance perfectly. Rounding off the suspension are a set of T-Demand arms, Weber caliper covers and VOING brakes.
Taking design cues from abroad and combining them with his own, Mr. Ishiyama's goal was to make a unique GT style. This started with a full set of AIMGAIN body parts, including front and rear bumpers plus side skirts.
Accommodating the wheel and tire setup when the suspension is at its lowest are Lexon fender flares. Considering the fact that the flares, bumpers and side skirts aren't designed as a set, getting them to match seamlessly proved to be the most difficult part of the build.
The whole body is wrapped in blood red by Rubber Dip, which had been expertly sprayed on the car. The rubber dip looks and feels like paint, and I was a bit surprised to find out it was a plastic dip. The finish looked very candy-like, but the slightly matte finish does not create reflections like standard paint, making the cars color pop in most settings.
After one moves past the color, some of the finishing details come into focus, including the URAS front carbon fiber front flap and Jet carbon fiber canards — which add to the intended GT styling. An Effector rear spoiler is the cherry on top to Mr. Ishiyama's GT look.
Fumes & Illumination
A Seibon carbon fiber hood hides a factory stock engine setup with a painted engine cover for some dress-up. To keep things comfortable and reliable, the only engine performance modification is an AIMGAIN loop muffler.
One thing that Japan tuners probably do best are customizing their lighting, and Mr. Ishiyama's is no exception with his custom headlights and taillights by 78Works.
With the car pretty much finished, Mr. Ishiyama originally wanted to end with some additional audio modifications, but he recently chose to depart from his IS and start a new project instead.
Mr. Ishiyama worked closely with his builder Mr. Ota to turn his ideas into reality and would like to extend his appreciation. I hope to meet up with both of them soon to see what projects they may have cooking.