Tag Archives: IS300

The Japanese Sedan – Chris Phillips’ 2002 Lexus IS200

Words & Photos by Henry Phull

 

Although I’ve grown somewhat accustomed to seeing Chris Phillips’ Lexus IS200, there’s still a part of me that remains in some sort of disbelief, or shock, every time I see it, for it’s one of the best sitting cars I know of. I’m sure you’ll be thinking that there’s no way he drives it this low in the UK… It must be aired out, right? Think again, it’s static. Not only that, but it’s been executed flawlessly on a jaw-dropping set of BBS split rims, a surprising choice for a Jap car, although they work incredibly well on this car. To top off the madness, Chris dailies this Japanese frame slayer day in, day out. That’s dedication. A valeter/detailer for Meridien Modena by trade, he keeps the Lexus immaculately clean, too. For a car that was originally purchased to keep stock and use as a workhorse, things seem to have got a little out of hand – once you fall in love with lowered cars, there’s no looking back. Some would say it becomes a part of you and you’ll forever carry the bug, even if you start off with a completely different sort of car.

 

 

Chris’ car history involves a couple of Corsa’s which went through the full works… limo tints, massive exhausts, neons, and lowered appropriately of course. But the Lexus came as a replacement for his Volkswagen Polo 6N, a highly modified and well known car which ended up on full air ride, CCW Classic wheels and a G40 engine-swap after several previous transformations. Being one of these people that has experienced life with both bagged and static cars, I’m sure Chris will agree that the love/hate argument over the two suspension platforms really does come down to personal preference.

 

 

Deep into Polo ownership, it was becoming evident that the project was draining Chris of money. Even though he still loved the car, it was a constant revolving battle, especially with the engine swap which led to numerous late nights and early mornings – frustration would probably best describe the situation. “It’s a car I will never forget I owned, but there comes a time where you have to cut your losses” explains Chris. With the idea of leaving car modifying behind him, he set out in search of a new motor. After hours browsing the classifieds, he was having trouble finding a car he would be happy living with.

 

 

As is often the case, it was a waiting game for something cool to pop up. Soon enough, the Onyx Black IS200 SE came up online advertised in Farnborough. “I was working in Basingstoke at the time so on my way home one night I took a detour to take a look at the car”. It seemed the ideal car for a daily motorway cruiser and general runaround, stylish yet comfortable at the same time. The deal was done and a week later Chris collected the car. It was in need of a little TLC… Having had some work at the bodyshop previously, the paint wasn’t looking great, mainly due to not being lacquered. With the bug for modifying cars still non-apparent, Chris planned to basically tidy up the car and make it presentable.

 

 

Still an avid car show attendee (mainly VW ones due to the Polo) Chris noticed that, slowly but surely, more non-VAG cars were making an appearance on the VW-dominated scene, yet he’d still not seen an IS200 in the UK circuit. “I spent many nights looking through forums and Facebook pages to see what had been done with them. Most of my results were coming back to modified IS300’s in America, proving they’re more common over there.” With this thought at the back of his mind, he still managed to go a good three or four months without being seriously urged to modify the Lexus. Of course, the bug did finally reappear… and rightly so.

 

 

It all started one evening when Chris discovered that somebody he knew had put a set of IS200 coilovers up for sale. “A couple of weeks later I had the money together and it was game on – it’s pretty much snowballed from there.” Presently, he has collected four different types of bumpers, two sets of side skirts, a couple of sets of wheels and different grills. “You could say that the itch had returned and it just had to be scratched.” he laughs. The coilovers in question are HSD Monopro’s with custom stiffer springs to allow for a better ride at the height Chris has chosen. Along with 30mm RCA spacers up front, the car was given to Coltech Classics in Poole for a few hours work which involved notching the suspension turrets to allow the upper control arms to pass through, allowing the car to go even lower. To help sort out the rear fitment, Chris installed Megan Racing adjustable rear camber and toe arms.

 

 

After running the car on several different sets of wheels, including Rays G07WT’s, WORK Meister S1’s and Enkei NT03+M’s, the car in its current state (and undeniably the best look yet) now sits on a gorgeous set of BBS RS 320/321 which have been stepped up from 17″ to 18″ with a kit supplied by VR Wheels in the US with genuine BBS assembly bolts, half height caps up front and full height ones on the rears for a staggered look. Tyre wise, Chris settled for 215/35/18 fronts and 225/40/18 rears. “As it’s my daily i didn’t want to run such a small tyre to run the risk of it becoming unseated” he explains.

 

 

The Lexus originally had a half leather/half alcantara cream interior, which Chris swapped with a complete black interior, followed by a change of carpets, seat belts, trim panels, etc. They all had to be changed for black items which really do help to make the car look more modern and sporty. He also fitted a black leather arm rest which was sourced from a higher spec IS200. Chris’ friend Brad Comer retrimmed the handbrake and gear gaitors in black perforated alcantara to match the seat centres. Finishing off the cabin, and to make it look just that little bit special, he installed a black leather Nardi steering wheel (although after shooting the car, it’s now been changed for a Renown 130R Dark wheel).

 

 

Chris has fitted some extra goodies to make the exterior stand out over a regular IS200, including custom smoked headlights and fog lights, a Vertex front bumper along with matching Vertex side skirts, plus a TRD lip on the standard rear bumper. The boot lid has also been debadged in favour of the clean look that Chris has going on. Driving this low does have its set backs, going fast being one of them, but he isn’t fussed about speed. Performance wise, Chris opted for a Japspeed cat back exhaust system, which Coltech Classics modified whilst it was in, to get it sitting higher and more central to the cut out in the rear lip. It’s all about these small details which help set the car off.

 

 

I had to ask Chris why he puts himself through driving this low, as it would scare most people. “I have my good days and my bad days just like everyone, some days I get in the car and go for a drive and I’ve just got a smile on my face. But then other days you’ve got to plan your route making sure there aren’t any speed bumps, road works etc”. With static life, it is also impossible to keep a car in mint condition, and being a detailer this can sometimes get on Chris’ nerves. Things like messy arches due to rubbing, and wear that has taken to the bumper and side skirts, but these are the compromises that come with running a car so low. It just adds to the character, anyway. “Even with that in mind I still wouldn’t have the car any other way. It’s cool to see joe public look at the car and give you a thumbs up or a nod.” he says.

 

 

Chris lives every car guy’s dream. Monday to Friday he is surrounded by cars at work, and not just any cars… Ferrari’s and Maserati’s. He’s fortunate enough to drive some models that other people would only dream of seeing, including the Ferrari Enzo, 599 GTO, 288 GTO and even LaFerrari, “150yards but I still count it”, he chuckles. On the weekends, Chris spends his time at car shows, working on the Lexus or detailing privately. He’s become quite well known for his handiwork around these parts, taking care of several cars that we’ve already featured on Slam Sanctuary.

 

 

 

“I’ve been able to meet some great people along the way who I now feel privileged to call friends and if I was ever to attend a show on my own I can always count on someone being there that I could catch up with.”

 

 

 

It’s awesome to see that there are still people out there that thrive to drive as low as they possibly can. Seeing something like that pull up behind you is mind boggling and you just can’t achieve that level of satisfaction with a bagged car. We enjoy both air ride and coilovers here at Slam Sanctuary, but deep down there has to be some sort of extra credit due to those like Chris who take things a step further, not to mention, completely different choice of car. Every now and then he has thoughts of selling up and buying something more sensible, yet again, looking at the car and how it sits now, it’s no surprise that he can’t bring himself to do say goodbye. Besides, those questions and remarks about speed bumps and curbing wheels from joe public will never get old, right?

 

 

Early Edition 2015

Words & Photos by Henry Phull

 

Edition38’s Show and Shine is quite some time away, but why should we have to wait until then? Luckily the organisers of one of the Summer’s biggest VAG shows seem to share this view, and yet again saved us from our show blues with their newer show, Early Edition, which kicked off as usual at The Saints stadium in Northampton. Early Edition has always been a relatively small show, it is of course mainly a warm up event for the big one later on in the year. But unsurprisingly, it is forever growing. The attendance, like last year, was off the chain. They’ve had to expand the show ground itself to give everyone more space, which means even more show cars. Also I’m not sure if it’s just me, but I much prefer shows that are on tarmac, it’s where cars belong, right? It always beats shooting a car on a grass field.

 

On to the show, and I’ll start things off with Oxford Car Audio’s awesome Audi S5 demo car, sitting on Air Lift bags and Avant Garde F541 SPEC1 wheels.

 

 

Opposite, Joe Caudwell’s supercharged Audi RS5 was equally jaw dropping, bagged by Plush Automotive with AccuAir suspension and also rocking a set of Avant Garde carbon split rims, F431 SPEC2’s. I think the dude on the floor must’ve been eyeing up some brakes.. ha.

 

 

I loved the colour of Jak Johnston’s LHD 1981 Mk1 Golf GL and I’m looking forward to seeing it on a set of BBS E49’s in the very near future!

 

 

I was admiring Dale Buckley’s Mk1 Audi TT back at Ultimate Dubs, but it was nice to finally see that fresh new colour outdoors. It looks even better than I’d previously thought, along with those gorgeous BBS RS’s.

 

 

 

The recent addition of Rotiform LHR’s have done great things for Will Smith’s Polo, which is still one of the cleanest 6N2’s you’ll ever come across.

 

 

It is refreshing to see that more and more air-cooled cars are being accepted into the community, here we have Aneysha Wakelin’s ’64 and Kirsty Greatrex’s ’69 Beetles.

 

 

 

 

For me personally, Matty Loveridge’s Miami Blue Mk1 Golf swallowtail was car of the show. I’ve always had a soft spot for this car back when it was on BBS RS’, but he’s recently added a super cool set of Compomotive Turbo’s and bagged the car on Air Lift suspension. I thought it’d be difficult to top what he already had, but Matty has done it. And to perfection.

 

 

 

You’ve gotta love a bagged Audi Avant, Nick Bulmer’s A4 here on huge 20″ BBS RS2’s and AccuAir suspension.

 

 

Adam Wyatt unveiled the new look for his Vento only very recently at Ultimate Dubs, but it looks like he’s already changed the wheels to a set of Advan 3 spokes which work incredibly well.

 

 

Continuing with the ‘traffic light’ colours, check out Matt Woodgate’s A4 on Air Lift suspension and Rotiform splits finished completely in black.

 

 

 

Finishing up with those colours is Luke Polyblank’s bagged Mk2 Golf on a gorgeous set of Gotti’s. I love the rear heckblende which really pulls the body striping together.

 

 

 

Over on the StillStatic stand, VRS Northampton’s Mk7 Golf R stopped me in my tracks. It must be the lowest static Golf R around, surely? Finished off nicely with big brakes and mbDESIGN wheels.

 

 

The colour combination of Nick Ackroyd’s Scirocco was something else… Viper Green paintwork and gold centred Rotiform CSW’s, what a thing of beauty. Along with an interior and boot build by RIIVA Design and EDGE Automotive, this car everything you could want in a show car.

 

 

 

BBS E50’s have to be one of the all time greatest wheel designs, which go so well on Jason Buckley’s Mk1 Golf. Early Edition was certainly a haven for all kinds of Mk1 goodness.

 

 

I’m starting to see that glorious signature ceramic polished finish on a lot of wheels recently, all hailing from the guys at Felgen Werkes. Here’s Tim Smith’s Mk4 R32 rocking his finished set of WatercooledIND’s.

 

 

And look, another ceramic polish finish on Kats Giles’ widened Mk5 Golf… although this time with a stunning set of Rotiform LHR’s.

 

 

Over on the Players’ stand, I’m glad Kiran Mistry got his Mk1 back on the road after an unfortunate incident prior to Ultimate Dubs a couple of month’s ago. It’s now looking awesome.

 

 

It’s pretty cool to see a bagged Seat Leon, as they’re not a car you see that often. Nicola Sidney’s Mk2 shown here on an eye-catching set of OZ Pegasus splits.

 

 

And believe it or not, more pink wheels… D2 Forged on Mark Lampard’s bagged Audi TTS.

 

 

You thought I was done with the Mk1’s? Too bad.. there’s more to come. Jacob Moore’s example was getting a lot of attention due to its classic BBS combo, absolutely timeless.

 

 

Shaking up the game, however, was Route 32’s immaculate Mk1, which has been around for a while now, and always popular due to that R32 engine conversion and stunning interior. This year they’ve added a set of custom B-Star wheels which look incredible on the car, especially with that contrasting turquoise centre colour.

 

 

 

 

I do enjoy seeing people think outside the box of the ‘usual wheels’, and making different choices. There’s so many wheels out there. The 20″ OZ Superturismo’s work great on this bagged Scirocco.

 

 

More of that Felgen Werkes polished magic on Georgie Marlow’s BBS RM’s complimenting her Mk1.

 

 

 

The second time I’ve seen Auto Finesse’s Air Lift equipped Mk2 demo car, and it looks even better in daylight. That BBS bodykit really makes the car!

 

 

 

So I’ve shown you my highlights of the show, now I’m going to take you outside into the surrounding car parks where there’s more wonderful cars to see, including lots of non-VAG. I’ll start with Olly Snow’s stunning Mulberry Mk3 VR6 on BBS RS.

 

 

Considering what bargains S8’s are nowadays, I’m surprised we’re not seeing more of them. Billy Hilton just slammed his awesome example on KW coilovers and 20″ Rotiform SNA’s.

 

 

It’s a car we all saw a lot of last year, and a relief to finally see back out again… Becky Evans’ beautiful BMW E21 bagged on BBS RS.

 

 

The VIP Modular VX210 wheels on Mark Gunning’s Audi A5 are monstrous, check out the size of those lips! Bagged by Only Charged Dubs, this car sits extremely well too.

 

 

 

Some more handiwork from Only Charged Dubs, with Josh Hall’s Mk6 on Autostrada Modena’s.

 

 

These BBS GT004’s looked glorious on Myles Collins’ R32.

 

 

 

It’s been a while since I’ve shot James Aveil’s Mercedes W114, I love this thing.

 

 

Of course there’s Rory Hamilton’s W115, too. These two looked fantastic together and it’s cool to see more of these big Mercs already this year.

 

 

I really dig Alex Herman’s E46 M Sport, it really suits those 2-piece OZ Mito Type 3’s.

 

 

Here’s a double whammy of white centred BBS RF’s, firstly on a pre-facelift E36 ‘vert…

 

 

And another set working equally well on Alex Hurd’s bagged E46 M Sport.

 

 

 

Steven Doe made the trip from down South in his stunning BMW E21, bagged on CCW wheels. I’ve shot the car a lot already this year, but it’s still a clear favourite.

 

 

Parked alongside was Chris Phillips static Lexus IS300, looking incredible on stepped-up BBS RS. Chris has recently fitted some Vertex skirts which makes it hard to believe this car is static.. tough as hell!

 

 

 

Being a BMW enthusiast myself, something like this will always make my heart melt. I loved Jake Ryan’s 318is, bagged and on OZ Futura’s. A strong look.

 

 

 

I’ll finish up with some LikeHell Design repping, starting off with Jamie Hitchcock’s static BMW Z4 that we recently featured (click here to check out the feature).

 

 

And more WORK wheels on Josh Mussell’s (the man behind LikeHell) static Nissan 350Z.

 

 

This was the first time I’d come across this, but that white centred WORK Meister look seems to work on a lot of platforms. Check out Nath Howell’s bagged Subaru Impreza. Cool or what!?

 

 

Finally, Jordan O’Sullivan’s R53 Mini Cooper S on Carline CM6’s remains to be one of the nicest Mini’s out there.

 

 

That’s it for our Early Edition coverage. As usual, the event was huge… just imagine how big Edition38 is going to be later on in the year. Unlike Ultimate Dubs, the organisers here didn’t allow ANY non-VAG into the main show this time, even on trade stands. How do you feel about this? We want to know, leave your thoughts in the comments. However we’re still glad that there was such a large turnout even in the car park, it shows you’re all interested nonetheless. Thanks to Edition38 for having us, we’ll see you again at the main Show and Shine on 4/5/6 September. Next up on our agenda is The Car Show Collective’s ‘Show of Shows’ in Kent on the 17th May. Don’t miss it!

 

 

Spring ’15 Open Day at The Wheel Specialist Fareham

Words & Photos by Henry Phull

 

I do quite a bit of work with The Wheel Specialist in Bournemouth, seeing as they’re local and always do some incredible wheel refinishing, but today’s blog post takes us a bit further down the road to the Fareham branch, whom I’ve heard equally good things. The guys at Studio Incar mentioned to me that Olly and the rest of the crew were putting on an Open Day, and the turnout was expected to be rather good. Being just an hour away, I decided to head on down the M27 on a surprisingly pleasant Saturday morning. It seems that Summer is finally on the horizon.

 

 

I only arrived about an hour later than the event was scheduled to begin, and the whole industrial estate surrounding TWS was already taken over by modified cars. It was clearly going to be worth the trip! The first car that caught my attention had to be Olly Snow’s Mulberry Mk3 VR6 on some mint BBS RS and rocking a Vento front end.

 

 

Over the road, I spotted Ben Fisher’s awesome Golf Rallye van on a set of fully white BBS RS with gold hardware and centre caps, making them somewhat different from the norm, but suiting the car to no end.

 

 

 

A look inside the TWS headquarters, and Mike Allen’s gorgeous Chevy truck was on display along with Roy Allen’s Mk3 pickup on Image 3pc splits.

 

 

 

Sadly Mark Harbour’s Beetle decided to not start later in the day, but it was nice to get the chance to shoot his beautiful air-cooled example again.

 

 

 

Jack Ashley recently added a lovely set of OZ Fittipaldi splits to his Mercedes C Class wagon, it’s great to see this project coming together.

 

 

 

Josh Hawker’s Mk4 R32 Golf was looking super mean on a set of 18″ 8.5j/10j XXRs.

 

 

The award for ‘Best Wheels’ had to go to Chris Phillips and his incredible Lexus IS 300 on stepped up BBS RS. BBS aren’t always easy to pull off on a Jap car, but this works incredibly well. This thing is static and sits crazy low, big respect!

 

 

 

BBS Mahles suited this Mk2 Golf GTI really nicely, it shows you don’t always need to spend big bucks on a set of splits for a car to come together.

 

 

 

It’s always a pleasure to catch up with Carl Levy and his super clean Mk1 Caddy, which I hadn’t seen since the Westside show last year when he was running black centres. This year the BBS RMs have been refinished in a clay brown which matches his chopper in the back, very cool.

 

 

 

 

Steven Doe debuted the car a couple of weeks ago at Ultimate Dubs, but I was so happy to finally see his BMW E21 outdoors to check it out properly. A lot of fabrication has gone into getting this sitting perfectly on the AccuAir suspension and CCW wheels. It’s already fast becoming my favourite car of the year.

 

 

 

Our friend Nick Sahota turned up in not one, but three cars.. including his Ford RS Cosworth!

 

 

Plus, his breathtaking “318” Chromie, which features an M60 manual engine swap which sounds and drives like an absolute beast. I also love all the rare parts on this car like the rear louvre and heckblende, which sets it apart from other E30s, along with a set of polished Schmidt TH-Lines.

 

 

 

 

Of course, the car everyone knows, Nick’s E30 M3 was there alongside the Chromie. If you’re still not aware, the M3 is hiding an E46 M3 “S54” lump under the bonnet, and he’s just installed a centre lock conversion in order to fit a set of BBS Motorsport Bugatti wheels.

 

 

 

Richard Wint had a bit of an unfortunate incident when leaving the event in his E36… luckily I managed to get a shot in before the aftermath.

 

 

 

 

I loved Joe Saunder’s TFSI-converted Mk3 Golf on OZ Turbo splits which was also sitting spot on.

 

 

Although still on his winter wheels, Stevie How also turned up in his Mk3. I’m looking forward to seeing what he has up his sleeve for the Summer.

 

 

 

The cool thing about smaller events like this is the variety of cars that turn up. It’s always worth a few rounds up and down the surrounding estate until you come across some gems…

 

 

Looking super shiny, Carl Shakespeare’s E39 M5. These are cars you really don’t need to touch in the cosmetic department. Along with renewing the suspension components, a subtle drop and refurbing the wheels, he’s ended up with the perfect do-it-all vehicle.

 

 

Latham’s wrapped RS4 Avant pulls off these BBS LMs and meaty tyres so well, resulting in a proper aggressive machine.

 

 

What a perfect way to spend a Saturday, catching up with mates, awesome cars and even a raffle to top things off. The Wheel Specialist Fareham certainly have a great bunch of supporters, which is no surprise seeing the quality of their work demonstrated on all their customer’s cars. These guys know how to put on an event, and I hear there may be some sort of Summer BBQ on the cards, so keep an eye on the TWS Facebook page and stay up to date. Until next time!

 

See more on The Wheel Specialist Fareham:

TWS Website
TWS on Facebook
TWS on Instagram