I've been a CL member since January 2012; ISF owner since December 2011.
The inception of my ISF ownership came out of nowhere, to say the least. I received it as a dual 18th birthday/full academic scholarship surprise present. The story is heartwarming, riveting, and suspenseful, but I won't bore anybody with it.
Here's the first photo of the ISF I took...my hands were trembling with awe and confusion.
The ISF poses sentimental value because it is the successor of my father's first car purchased new here in America: the Lexus IS300...and it also dropped our jaws at the 07/08 Philly auto show.
The buy was unexpected, but at the same time paradoxically expected: life comes around full circle, huh?
(Yes, that's me). Notice the plate on the IS300 is the same one on the ISF (first photo) for its "surprise unveiling". (The plate reads my name in Russian for those who are curious).
Here are some more early photos.
G35 out, ISF in.
Here is a video of me punching it one of the first times in the F. The car had an Injen intake pre-installed.
Yeah, yeah...I shifted into 3rd way too early. In effort to keep the squirrely car in a straight line, I had to shift early and wobble the wheel. It is hard for the layman to conceive the fourth dimension. Well, it was impossible for me to conceive over 400 horses!
First few mods: lighting upgrades (v-LED ultra blue LEDs installed throughout car) & tint.
Took out the Injen intake included w/the car originally, and replaced with Takeda (I found to like the Injen much more, but have neither an Injen/Takeda now).
Tom's LTS installed (I have an Apexi now).
I installed a custom "JDM" vanity front plate to plug up some bumper holes.
First time enjoying a "spirited driving" session with the F.
April 2012: my first NELOC meet in NJ. I'd like to describe this event as a turning point for my ISF ownership. From here on, it's mod fever (it started with hearing dlad's ISS Forged QES exhaust. He has since sold his F for a GTR).
This meet also happened to have NJ news coverage.
Soon after the meet, I order an ISS Forged QES exhaust and RMI scoops--I was one of their last orders since their ongoing production of the exhaust.
Along with these few mods, I find a few hard-to-pass deals on an s4play diffuser, joe-z intake tube + Tom's filter, custom grill and F emblem and I jump on them.
This ad is not displayed to registered members. Register your free account today and become a member on Club Lexus!
I epoxied a metal plate onto the F emblem, and drilled through two threads to secure onto the mesh grill.
I had the rear bumper vinyl wrapped to blend with the s4play diffuser.
Also had the plastic rear tray 3D CF wrapped.
Found two more good deals: illuminated door sills and a Cusco front strut tower bar.
The engine bay plastic covers were slightly cut and an "OEM look" was maintained.
Second NELOC meet.
My next project was the Wald trunk spoiler. Removing the OEM spoiler was a pain, but simple enough overall.
Hybrid emblem installed w/the spoiler
Beat Sonic dvd + navi bypass installed alongside with a CF flatbottom steering wheel.
At this point, I reached a breathing period where the modding rate decreased tremendously. Here are a few pics of the car from various drives, meets, etc.
Rare F sighting at Cherry Hill, NJ (I see less than 5 ISFs per year in my area).
After a ~6 month hiatus of modding, I had Sikky headers installed. A trip was made to JE Performance in Baltimore. Great staff, great work
Here is my car sitting outside with member jaslapp1's F.
Post-headers installation opinion: wow. After some time for the ECU to adjust to the headers, the car definitely inherited a bit more umph. I felt the headers slightly quieted down the qes exhaust, but somehow added to its reverberation at the same time. My overall opinion: incredible. The power difference was definitely felt from stock/exhaust. My only complaint, however, is that the car smells like a go-kart...but actually, who doesn't like the smell of noxious hydrocarbons?
Next up was a Tom's Diffuser along with led reflectors from iJDMtoy.
A few weeks following the Tom's install came the first NEISF mega meet in Dover, DE! ~42 ISFs and one LFA attended. Big thank you to Vijay and Kevin for organizing it.
Here is a resultant video of the meet, a full-out exhaust compilation:
My comical addition starts at 8:25. My ISF was one of the louder ones at the meet.
Following the meet, I went into another modding hiatus (a well-needed one).
Here's a quick pic of my ISF treated with all Griot's products.
My next modification, on par with the "transformation" the header/exhaust combo provided, was KW V3 coilovers. These things definitely increased the fun factor of the car: confidence was moreso inspired when taking turns at high speeds; the ride was smoother, but still terribly "F stiff" I also installed upsized Michelin SS tires as well--I needed those for forever.
Although I snagged a Sikky sway bar over a year before the coilovers, I had it stiffened to the stiffest setting during the coilover install.
I had a few runs with a Dinan supercharged E46 M3 (~460hp)--I believe the supercharger was a Dinan S3-R (~$20k).
Headers and exhaust was enough to pull about a car length from a 40 roll for the ISF. I drove the M3, it was a very fun and fast car.
Now imagine if the ISF had actual aftermarket support besides a full exhaust as the only option...
I had a nice photoshoot done at a parking garage. Photos came out great
Here's a photo of one of many meets/cruises. This actually occurred in my hometown of NE Philadelphia. Seeing one ISF at one time is pretty unusual here, but several? Preposterous!
I stiffened my coilovers at a friend's shop.
Specs: Front Rebound/Bump: 2;3|Rear Rebound/Bump: 3;4
Love the ride, although it is VERY stiff...eh, I still haven't pulled enough neck muscles anyway.
Novel CF Brake vents came in very quickly and at a great price straight from Japan. Quality is impeccable
TRD push-start button from Japan
Japan fever hit me hard, and I ordered a Lems shift **** and upper garnish panels--looks great
I took another scenic drive with the new suspension settings and snapped a few shots.
At this point, I have a Tom's Front lip and side skirts sitting in my garage pending installation after this northeast cold subsides.
To give a rough idea of all of my modifications thus far, my decals will tell you!
Finally back from yet another modding hiatus.
I had time to refresh my brakes with new OEM brembo rotors and project mu ns400 pads.
I went through a whole ordeal having the calipers powdercoated (I won't name the shop)...time and sweat were my only qualms.
I have yet to apply the brembo decals (the company I ordered the decals from messed up my order...twice)
Cleaned the oem shims with brake cleaner, greased them up (brembo grease from dealer), and all was successfully installed.
I upgraded the steering wheel to a high quality CF wheel by Robson Singapore..wheel feels amazing.
Finally got to installing a Tom's front lip + side skirts as well.
Here are some photos of the finished product:
Overall impressions of the brakes: I love them. Well, new rotors + pads revitalize the car usually, regardless of brand. The bite of the project mu pads is really strong and dust seems pretty minimal so far (even after bedding in the pads). After a week of driving the car, I would not go back to OEM pads. I would recommend the project mu ns400 pads (all four corners) to any ISF owner...inquire with b2designs!
Thread has been updated above.
I attended the CF Charity Exotic car show.
The ISF was among Ferraris, Lambos, GTRs, Tuners, a Veyron, an Ultimate Aero SSC, Saleen S7, etc..list goes on!
It was the ONLY Lexus in the whole show. Driving past the crowd and even walking past the car you would hear phrases such as 'what is this?' and 'is this a Lexus?'
I hope a few people fell for my is250 LS swap joke...the exhaust note definitely left a mark on some bystanders!
I met a fellow Toyota owner who actually set up one of the previous NELOC meets at Lexus Route 13.
The Supra is still one of my dream cars
Here's a shot of not the most exclusive but probably my favorite exotic car in orange (still rare nonetheless).
Overall, I'll sum up the driving experience of the car (with mods thus far) like this: I wish trips were longer.
I enjoy braking almost as much as accelerating now!
(due to muscle memory of driving a daily 6spd for the past few months, I forgot the paddles on the wheel exist)