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Project Lexus!


ClioSport Club Member
So here goes, I've never done a thread for one of my daily cars before because (a) they've been factory original so not much to say anyway and (b) all my time and effort has gone into my Clio thread!

However, that said.......... I've just bought a new daily, a 2005 Lexus IS 200 that I actually DO intend to modify a little, so I thought why not, let's get the party started!!

So from the beginning! For those who don't know me, this is my beloved Clio/weekend toy/garage ornament (delete as applicable) as it stands right now, which I've now owned for over two years and have spent far too much money on;


Without going back too far, this is the car that was my daily transport between 2014 and 2017 - I absolutely loved this car, a 2002 BMW 325i Sport, petrol and manual, which when I bought it only had 43,000 miles on it and still only had 57,000 on it when I sold it last year!! I still miss it now as for me it was the perfect daily, but the dreaded rust was creeping onto the rear arches and one of the rear sills so I sold it before it needed doing;


So what could I get after that? No idea! Lots of eBay and general internet hunting resulted in me looking at something a bit different - a Jaguar S-Type!

Long story short I found one that was a 2005 facelift model, 3 litre V6 Sport automatic, owned by a lovely 75 year old gentleman and it only had 37,000 miles on the clock with a full, and I mean FULL Jaguar main dealer service history and every possible option apart from the sat-nav which I didn't want anyway! Went and viewed it. It was superb. Job done!

I've continued the Jaguar main dealer history and it has wanted for nothing - even the mats in it cost me £150!!




The Jaguar still only has 43,000 miles right now as I type this and I still own it, although I'll be selling it soon - my situation has changed and I now don't need such a big cruiser as a daily and wanted something smaller and cheaper to buy and run to start saving some money. But what on earth do you get instead!?

A good friend of mine has a black Lexus IS 200 Sport and this got me thinking.......... huge spec, comfy, reliable, quite cheap to buy? Let's have a go!

So enter my latest purchase, a pale gold Lexus IS 200 SE 'Navigator' automatic with slightly higher miles for me at 73,000, but a full history and a very good spec!

Here is the first proper photo I got when I went to view it at the garage, a rare outing for my Clio so it's quite nice to have them together here. The Lexus is full grandfather spec at the mo, with Range Rover ride height at the front and mudflaps etc, but everything works and it's all there and for what I paid, I was very happy.


I've read many reviews and seen youtube clips etc and everyone seems to say the same thing - great reliability, but underpowered. At only 153bhp for a 2 litre 6 cyclinder, they are right, it's no rocket ship believe me, but it's so comfy inside and it's my daily commuter so to be honest, power is very unimportant over comfort and functionality, I don't care!

So the deal was done and I got it home a week later (on the day of Harry and Meghan's wedding, go me!) after getting £300 off the asking price PLUS a service and year's MOT thrown in.

Now when I bought the car, it had a random phone holder in it. Odd I thought! But me being me, why take it out when you can buy the phone that fits it for the 'LOL' for a whole 15 quid, so check out my hi-tech phone set up in these interior photos;


I'm loving the stereo and actually DO have some old cassettes that I can finally play again!!




The car is bog standard apart from a K&N panel filter in the standard airbox and a reasonably decent set of HID headlights all fitted by the previous owner;


So for now, that is where i'm at with the car - I've been buying lots of parts to get this as I want it (without going crazy) but will take lots more photos when it's all arrived as it's all coming in stages at the moment.

It's got one Avon and three ditchfinders on at the moment too, with different tyres being on the rear drive wheels so they will soon be binned and I have ordered four new Pirelli P-Zero's for it, hopefully to be fitted next week.
Never saw the Jag in the metal, looks blinkin' mint in the pics though. The Lexus should last forever I would think. Come on, spill the beans, what's the plans?!

Love the phone by the way 😂
  Mk1 Audi TT 3.2 V6
For a 2.0 6 cyl, they are one of the heaviest on juice of any car I have ever driven. they lack power, sound shite, and usually only driven by takeaway delivery drivers. Not for me.


ClioSport Club Member
I’d keep the jag tbh, though I do like the lex-I
The Jag is a fantastic car for the money that I agree mate yes, I know i'll miss it when it's gone - it's an effortless mile muncher with a huge spec - despite the handling of a bouncy castle! It's certainly not a car you could throw around (as standard anyway) but the 240bhp from the 3 litre V6 is just enough to give it some punch when you need it. It's just one of those situations where you have to *try* and be sensible. 7 miles roughly a day, mainly in traffic, isn't ideal for such a big car LOL!

For a 2.0 6 cyl, they are one of the heaviest on juice of any car I have ever driven. they lack power, sound shite, and usually only driven by takeaway delivery drivers. Not for me.
Getting one for your next car then? 👍


ClioSport Club Member
I have an IS300 to get me to the train station and back. Same as an IS200 but with a decent engine 😂
Bought it for £500. Spent £500 getting it running spot on. Its decent! Needs calipers now though
Very nice! Yes i'd have been interested in the 3 litre version (211bhp isn't it?) but they seem rarer than a rare thing both old nails AND minters and would have been silly going from a 3 litre to a 3 litre lol!


ClioSport Club Member
So this is the look i'm going for, this car from the USA has Eibach Pro hubcentric spacers all round, 15mm front and 20mm rear, and is lowered on I believe Eibach Pro Kit springs - if it's not these springs, these are the ones that most people seem to recommend anyway! The spacers just push the wheels out nicely and is a decent drop without being 'slammed' on the floor which is the last thing I want.


I have now got a brand new set of Eibach Pro Kit springs here ready to go on to lower it approx. 30mm all round, which as a side note is all black springs and not red or yellow or anything silly like that so these will look a bit more oem and I have the spacers on order - they are not here yet as they are coming direct from Eibach in Germany!


  2005 Fabia Vrs
I had an is200 for a short while. It was a 1999 se model and surprisingly for 153000 miles everything worked. Loved it but it drank petrol like an alcoholic.
I fitted a k&n too and it spindled a bit better.


ClioSport Club Member
Haven't you ordered the big gay wing yet? It's gold, so will basically look like a Top Secret Supra.
Hahaha I like it........ but no mate! I think someone's been playing too much Need For Speed yooo 😛😛

Seeing as you're going for spacers and a subtle drop and moving away from the national trust spec of the car, maybe an Altezza grille (middle one) would be a nice addition?
National Trust Spec, LOL! I like that.............. yes I've actually been looking at grilles! The Altezza one does look very smart I agree and I do like it BUT I don't want to de-badge the back and then do you think it would look a bit odd having IS200 and Altezza on it?

On eBay USA the genuine grilles (silver colour) go for like 300 dollars, wowzers, but they do a rep one same as pictured in your photo in black for more like 50 dollars so it's defo do-able!

Nice subtle mods Steve!
That's the plan buddy. I'm not comparing this to your Mercedes in any way but what I love about your car is how OEM it looks but also has that great spec. That's the plan here, minimal but subtle mods 👍

I had an is200 for a short while. It was a 1999 se model and surprisingly for 153000 miles everything worked. Loved it but it drank petrol like an alcoholic.
I fitted a k&n too and it spindled a bit better.
This is good to hear about it being a mile muncher! Mines on 73,000 so hopefully plenty more in the tank so to speak!


ClioSport Club Member
I often think it's the little details that count sometimes and here is a classic example......... the locking wheel nuts currently on the car are the most awful looking brown rust crap I've seen, so for the sake of 30 quid new from Toyota, these are good to go;


I also have new centre caps on order at Toyota/Lexus - mine were all looking a right mess with some of the coating on the 'L' logo coming off and just generally looked manky, so the new lockers and wheel centres should really tidy up the wheels. I bought some gel type overlays from the USA to go over the top and they did look decent for the price, but it's just not the same as a complete new centre so felt like half a job with the corroded edging still showing.

The calipers will also be painted silver so that will then be that area hugely improved!


ClioSport Club Member
I went and got some photos of the car as it stands yesterday to hopefully look back on and see the changes, these much better show the work that's needed to make this look a bit more decent - i'm the first to say this car is not in such 'mint' condition as my Jaguar, it's had some paint and it's got a few battle scars but to be honest, I wasn't going to go travelling round the country for one of these and for the money I paid, i'm still more than happy. It's actually nice to have a car I can leave on a car park and not worry about too much LOL!

From these photos, it's easier to explain the plans;

* Rubbish tyres - 4x new Pirelli P-Zero's were fitted after these photos were taken so job done there!
* Brand new genuine Lexus centre caps will replace what you see in these photos
* Mud flaps will soon be in the bin
* Rusty locking wheel nuts have now been replaced with brand new genuine parts when tyres were fitted
* Range Rover ride height will soon be sorted
* Eibach Pro spacers will push the wheels out after lowering
* Rusty old callipers will be 're-furbed' and painted (most likely silver)
* Awful over size rear plate/plates with awful blue GB strip - new matching size plain plates from fancyplates received, waiting to go on
* Radio control car sized radio antenna soon to be replaced with genuine JDM Toyota Altezza 'short' aerial mast
* Grille - i'm in two minds, possibly Altezza, possibly keep it as it is!







These photos show how the wheels currently sit in the arch - fingers crossed the Eibach Pro spacers look quite decent when fitted!



Tyres going on yesterday afternoon also showing the need to tidy up the brakes;



After this I popped round and saw my good friend who also has an IS200, but a black manual Sport that is much more modified. Further highlighting I have some work to do!!




ClioSport Club Member
Parts are slowly coming in, Eibach Pro spacers arrived today (direct from Germany) so are now here and ready to be fitted soon;




I also have the replacement genuine wheel centres - they are actually a lot more 'flash' than what was on the car already and are much better quality to be honest - the only issue is, they are SO fresh and shiney, they highlight the need to get the wheels re-furbed, but that will have to wait for now after just having four brand new Pirelli tyres;



Looking much better now with fresh lockers and new wheel centres, next up will be getting the callipers properly painted and freshened up and get those tyres dressed!!!



ClioSport Club Member
If you do yours like the US one in post 13, it'll look spot on.
I'm not a fan of your mates one, that's taking it too far imo.
I know what you mean there, I really like the black IS myself, but it's not my thing to do it to mine. Maybe i'm just not cool enough to rock that look!? However yes with mine, i'll be going for my usual oem+ look. The US spec car is exactly what I really want mine to look like, standard wheels, the lot - just without the US bumper etc with the tango in the corners!


ClioSport Club Member
Always had a soft spot for these, how is the auto box? I take it a CVT? If i was getting one defo want the 3.0 then turbo and done :) I just love the dials, looks like a watch.
Yes the 3.0 would be awesome (well, much better!) but again it would be pointless for what I use the car for myself. Regards the auto box, to be honest it isn't amazing, it's smooth but i'm used to a 6 speed auto on my Jaguar and this is only 4 speed so it feels like its straining more and I do notice the 2 less gears - but again, it's only a town car for me so doesn't really make any difference. Haha yes I agree dials are cool, i'm well into my watches so the dial face is something I like. Wasn't a co-incidence, they DID intend it to look like a watch 'apparently'

In other news, the JDM/US Altezza aerial arrived today - this is a boring photo, but one I feel justified to post all the same - as it cost me £13.55 in custom charges (as it came from California) to get it from the post office!! Not impressed. But looks better than what I have!



ClioSport Club Member
I mentioned above I have some new, plain number plates to go on, today I got round to putting them on amongst some other jobs...……….. took the old plate off, was confronted by this. FFS!


So after some swearing, about half a gallon of white spirit, a hair dryer, lots of elbow grease, the hose pipe to wash all the back down and some Autobrite products to buff it up, I was then looking at this;


Job done! Then about another 45 mins+ to line up the rear plate, measuring it, marking with masking tape, putting it on and putting the front one on, a massive improvement could be seen.

The 20 second job of swapping aerials was also sorted!



Again, I could have bought a 2 quid aerial on eBay, but this Altezza one, being a Toyota part, fits perfectly, looks perfect and is a perfect colour match.


ClioSport Club Member
Please turbo it lol
I actually saw a turbo one going through town yesterday, standard wheels, standard height, no bodykit, just a black intercooler and pipes at the front to give it away - oh and an awesome turbo sound! I must remain strong however, this is my daily and needs to be reliable lol!


ClioSport Club Member
I actually saw a turbo one going through town yesterday, standard wheels, standard height, no bodykit, just a black intercooler and pipes at the front to give it away - oh and an awesome turbo sound! I must remain strong however, this is my daily and needs to be reliable lol!
Turbo cars can be reliable, i think it's just an excuse ha!

3 weeks later it gets a 1JZ swap
2JZ bottom and an 1JZ head :)


ClioSport Club Member
So the next (and most likely last for a while) delivery arrived for the car today, from America (California so another £20 import charge, nice!)

I've been toying with the idea of changing the grille to the JDM Altezza style one but looking on eBay US, there was no way I was going to pay 300 dollars for a new genuine one + shipping! There was a guy in the UK selling a broken one for £150 however, but thought i'd pass!!

Anyway, I carried on looking and found one to take a punt on - this is a copy one 'made in China' but at only 50 dollars + shipping brand new, it was well worth that relatively low amount of money to see how it looks. So this is what arrived;


Now being a copy, it's no surprise the badge looks proper cheapy cheap with a decal you have to stick on yourself!?


So expecting this, I'd already bought a genuine Toyota Altezza grille badge in black, to fit in its place, which cost almost as much as the grille itself!!


So this is now what I have ready to go on the car;


I'm not 100% how it'll look, but to buy the grille, shipping AND genuine badge was still less than half the price of the genuine grille so for me it's worth a go, especially when my mate will most likely buy it if I change my mind.

I now have quite a pile of parts sitting there waiting to go on the car, hoping to get it all sorted next week 👍


ClioSport Club Member
Fitted the new grille this morning, very simple job to change them over - must say for the relatively low cost of this one, the quality is actually very good and the fit is perfect!

For me though, having the correct and genuine grille badge makes it. The one supplied would have made the whole thing LOOK cheap!



The old vs the new!

I still like the old one and let's be honest, the Lexus badge matches everything else on the car, but it was a little battered and this looks good so will leave it on for a while I think 👍



ClioSport Club Member
I like it, but do prefer the style of the original one. Looks a bit more classy.

What's next?
Yes the original is a bit more refined with the chrome effect edging etc, will leave this on a while and see how I get on with it!

Lows, spacers and all new brakes to be fitted hopefully tomorrow and Tuesday, also getting the calipers and hubs painted and cleaned up too


ClioSport Club Member
So all the parts are now on the car and it's safe to say, the car has been transformed in the ways springs and spacers always do! 😃

Very pleased with what's been done - the Eibach springs and Eibach spacers have been fitted and although part of me thinks maybe 15mm all round would have been better than the 20mm on the rear, it still looks really good, drives really well and you have to try quite hard to make it rub on the back so that's what matters. Over speed bumps, down pot holes and drain covers, on full lock, no rubbing whatsoever - just a little bit on a very bumpy country road when going at a quicker speed!

So on with the photos. Firstly, let's remember what it looked like before when I first bought it;


Now, after a month and a half, I have this;










The manky old calipers have been refreshed in silver, new genuine Toyota/Lexus wheel centres, new lockers and all new tyres;

(hubs and spacers painted black to blend in - Eibach springs also factory black)



I'm the first to admit this car will never win any concours trophys, it has it's scratches and stone chips, few marks here and there and the rear bumper needs a little bit of work, but overall i'm very happy with this and that's all the plans now done - the camera is always kind as they say but when you look at it when I first bought it, this is really what I was thinking about and how I wanted it to look 👍
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