CL joins 11th Annual Toyotafest along with the Team Lexus IS350

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May 13, 2006 – Long Beach, CA


Every year Toyota owners & enthusiasts gather in Southern California for a special day. This is the definitive Toyota enthusiast event in all of North America.

The Toyota Owners & Restorers Club’s (T.O.R.C) 11th Annual Toyotafest 2006 brought out both young and old to the Queen Mary Events Park in Long Beach, CA, right beside the famous and historical luxury cruise liner, the Queen Mary. Since this was an all Toyota owners and enthusiasts event, Scion and Lexus owners gathered together to enjoy a Saturday with their old school and new school Toyota brethren. The event is unique in which 300 Toyota related vehicles are parked in a picturesque park setting next to a bay. The north end of the park displays an unobstructed view of Downtown Long Beach. 

Toyotafest 2006 drew a majority from all ends of Southern California including those from Central & Northern California. There were groups that drove all the way from neighboring Oregon, Nevada and Arizona. There were many Toyota & Scion specialty vehicles that you normally see on rotating platforms or behind ropes at major auto shows. There was also a specialty vehicle that came from Lexus. The huge Toyota Performance Sports transport truck decorated the background of the park. Some of the specialty cars displayed were those which were originally unveiled at SEMA in Las Vegas and the big North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The participants of the event were treated to prime parking spots arranged by their respective categories. Various raffles of Toyota related items which were not limited to just parts and services were given out. There was an on-site DJ mixing music via the 5 Axis Scion xB DJ booth. There were many vendor displays and also In-N-Out Burger was present with their cookout truck to feed the masses. 

This is the 2nd year Club Lexus was invited to participate along with other owners in Toyotafest. The Lexus contingency consisted of 28 vehicles this year. There were a total of 20 Club Lexus entries and 8 others which were either other owners or vendor vehicles. We were placed at a great spot this year which was right at the edge of the park. Right at the edge is a bay that opens into the Pacific Ocean and a scenic view of Downtown Long Beach. There were several generation of Lexus’ that represented. All generation years of the GS, LS and IS were present. There were a handful of 1st generation SC’s that showed as well. Voting for the best Lexus was not an easy task. Because voting is based by the popular vote of the Toyotafest entrants, it was tough to choose the “Best Lexus” especially when there were many great looking Lexus vehicles in our section. This year’s winners included 3rd place, my.IS & Club Lexus member Ed Granado, “Edgy” with his supercharged 2002 IS300. A full Junction Produce 1998 LS400 in Silver won 2nd place and winning the title of “Best Lexus” was 1st place, Club Lexus member Clark Ishihara, “SanseiGS43” with his “VIP sport” themed 2006 GS430. We congratulate all the winners of Toyotafest 2006.

Team Lexus Modified IS350 

Because Toyotafest is a special gathering of all Toyota enthusiasts, we asked our friend Brad Nelson from Lexus about bringing out something special from the Lexus side. Since Toyota & Scion were bringing out their goodies, why not Lexus? He elected one of their special project cars which Team Lexus help put together to be utilized. The Lexus delegate to Toyotafest 2006 was the BASF Carizzma Ultra Blue Pearl Team Lexus IS350 show vehicle. This was the same show vehicle that was unveiled in Detroit for NAIAS 2006 earlier this year and was also displayed at the Javits Center for the 2006 NY Auto Show. The IS350 arrived to us in Southern California just one day prior from it’s quick cross country journey from Team Lexus’ headquarters in Baltimore, Maryland. Brad had mentioned, “This would be a wonderful opportunity for the Team Lexus IS350 to make its first public appearance in the West Coast.” We felt the same way as this was the perfect place for enthusiasts to see it up close and personal. 

The BASF Carizzma Ultra Blue Pearl IS350 was transformed in just a short amount of time. Since the New IS350 was just released for sale in October 2005, Brad was enlisted to put together an IS350 that would be later displayed for the Detroit NAIAS 2006. The project was designed to explore the aftermarket potential using just light modifications to enhance the vehicle’s L-Finesse theme. It was natural for Lexus to select Brad to head this project as he is an avid car enthusiast himself. You may have seen him on television during TLC’s “Rides” program working along legendary driver and fabricator Rod Millen, design legend Chip Foose and the build up of the V8 powered IS430. 

For the 2nd generation IS nerds out there, this IS350 started out as a Crystal White fully loaded Luxury Package with Mark Levinson & Navigation but with no moonroof—the same press pool car you have seen in the Lexus press release photos. Since the car started its tour of duty here in So Cal, Brad and his “team” had to finish this car in about a month’s time before it was to be unveiled for Detroit in January 2006. To start the modifications, Five Axis Models in Huntington Beach, CA installed the Lexus Accessory Ground Effects Kit and Rear Spoiler before it was painted. After painting, an all-star team of companies were enlisted to transform the stock IS350 into a show stopper. 

Selecting a color for the IS350 was somewhat of a task and it needed to give that “wow” factor of a high performance vehicle. At the same time, a nice contrast was needed to compliment the Lexus display at NAIAS 2006. Brad visited with Five Axis to find the right color. After going through pages of paint catalogues, the iridescent BASF Carizzma Ultra Blue Pearl was selected to represent the Team Lexus IS350. Five Axis is responsible for transforming a plethora of Scion vehicles into fashionable and functional rolling artwork including xA Roadster, xB DJ Booth and tC Show Car. The stock leather seating and trim was swapped out by Stitchcraft Custom Interiors in nearby Westminster, CA. Yards of blue faux suede hugged the centers of the black leather seating as well as the door trim. The Luxury Package wood trim was swapped with the silver trim of the Sport Package. 

After the IS350’s exterior & interior were completed, the car was quickly transported to Team Lexus in Maryland where they installed goodies from their main sponsors that support their IS350 GT2 Race Car that will be gracing the circuits of the American Le Mans Series GT2S class later this year. To compliment the IS350’s new look, the car was lowered 1.5” with a custom height adjustable coil-over by Road Magnet and road dampening duties handled by 2 way adjustable JRZ Shocks. A staggered set of forged aluminum 19” BBS RS-GT wheels w/Michelin Pilot Sport PS2 tires allow the performance IS350 to stay planted to the road. With plenty of room to spare, a six-piston, two piece aluminum front and four-piston two piece aluminum rear Stop Tech big brake kit was installed. A special stainless steel, low restriction, dual exhaust by Borla gives the IS350’s 3.5L 2GR-FSE some attitude. In the photos, the IS350 sports the Lexus Accessory Exhaust made by HKS. This is scheduled for release later this year. The Borla unit was sent back to the factory to complete its final R&D for release. Team Lexus fabricated their own polished intake system which allows the potent 3.5L 2GR-FSE V6 to breathe. There have not been any tests done to measure the performance gains of these mods yet, but for now, these “light mods” show the potential of the 2nd generation IS. The project was orchestrated in a short 3 months from conception to completion. Needless to say, Brad, Five Axis and Team Lexus executed this project nicely. 

As always, we thank Brad Nelson and Lexus. They made special arrangements to transport this IS350 in 2 days to us here in Southern California from Team Lexus in Maryland. It was a great opportunity to view in person and park our cars right next to the special Carizzma Ultra Blue Pearl, Team Lexus Modified IS350.




Article & Photos by: Flipside909

All Photos are property of Club Lexus – The Lexus Owners Club

Copyright © 2000-2006 Club Lexus – The Lexus Owners Club, All Rights Reserved

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