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ILDS Summer Vibes: Toyota Edition

Updated: May 19, 2023

I Love Driving Slow or ILDS for short, puts on some of the best events in the Tampa Bay area. Winterfest is usually their most significant event in terms of popularity, but nothing is more scenic and impactful than seeing cars lined up and down the streets of Ybor City. Summer Vibes brings all types of automotive flavors to the historical 7th Ave strip, with plenty of stance, JDM, supercars, and lifted trucks to mirror Florida's diverse car culture. Of course, we here at Teq Digest celebrate vehicles from the Toyota brand, so I perused all of the awesomeness on display and shot the best cars wearing the T and L badges on their grilles, enjoy!

Perhaps I need to go out a bit more, but this is the first GR Corolla I've seen in the wild. After putting up my sunshade I peeked over and saw this white Core model parking on the street, easily blending in with normal traffic but if you're a Toyota fan, then you know what those wheel arches and tri-tip exist mean. I have no real information on this particular vehicle but by keeping up with local (all over Florida) GR Corolla listings, I'm pretty sure this Core has at the very least the performance pack since dealer markups are keeping buyers away to a certain extent, but vehicles without the LSD upgrades have been on the lot for much longer. Regardless, this is a desirable car with all of the things true car enthusiasts have been craving from Toyota.

If you'd already know, I'm currently going through a 1UZ AE86 swap of my own, so walking from the parking lot to the main strip I was glad to see Ivan's TE72 Toyota Corolla equipped with a 1UZ. This car along with Julio's TE72 are two local cars that have high style points with well-executed 1UZ engines. It was an opportunity to really take in all of the details and compare what I'm currently trying to accomplish but this wagon just makes it look so easy, the engine looks almost OEM. Of course, the outside of the car is equally impressive, the real standout, however, is the extremely rare BRX BR-1 wheels that are an original display set from 1985. I'm a sucker for a clean TE72, it doesn't matter which body style but as a fan of classic Toyotas I love seeing modernized touches that keep these vehicles on the road, and the style? You can't buy it, not any more or at all, it's obtained through dreams.

The Lexus GS and Toyota Aristo seem to be increasing in popularity once again. While the JZXs of the world are reaching very high selling prices, the JZS160 and all of its variants are becoming a more affordable alternative to large, Toyota rear-wheel-drive sedans. I counted about four different GS/Aristos but this GS400 stood out because of its set of Work Euroline Type N wheels and neat exterior appearance.

The first-generation Lexus IS300 is an understated yet handsomely designed vehicle, which makes for a platform that is accepting of many different aesthetic tuning styles. This IS300 in particular is fitted with plenty of ground effect parts, accessory lighting, and a wheel/drop combo that fills in the wheel arches. The red paint job is immaculate and injects new life into this 20-year-old chassis, which reminds me... my EP82 is due for a new coat of black.

One of my favorite cars at this event was this beautiful dark blue MX32 Toyota Cressida. Incredibly clean is just one way to this describe this car, it's lowered just right, sits on contrasting gold mesh wheels, and all of the brightwork is intact. The Cressida has always been a cult favorite, which has kept it under the radar for a long time outside of the even more cult Shakotan scene which turns these cars into race-inspired menaces on Japanese roads. The Cressida was once the most luxurious sedan you could purchase in the United States from Toyota, it came with air conditioning, power windows, and rear armrests and was fitted with the first EFI system on a Toyota project stateside. The 4M straight-six was derived from the original M engine from the MS40 Crown, that engine was then developed into the 3M that powered the legendary 2000GT, and eventually would be updated into the Toyota Supra's 7MGTE, it is considered the grandfather of the JZ series engine.

Continuing on with the theme of dark blue sedans, this Lexus LS430 literally had me drooling over how perfect the stance and fitment of the Work Lanvec LD1 wheels were. I'm a sucker for any LS or Celsior but the UCF31 is probably my second favorite generation after the UCF21. For some, a VIP build is in an in-your-face automotive rendition of displayed opulence, but for others, it's just about riding in low in a luxurious JDM sedan. In my opinion, this particular car nails its look, stretched tires, the right amount of low, and by the looks of the muffler tips, it probably does a good job accentuating the hidden rumble of the 3UZ-FE. While I can dream of past and future track days, I can also imagine the feeling of just cruising around feeling like a "very important person" in a big-body Lexus.

Of course, if you need a great representation of what a properly executed AE86 looks like, there's no better example than Russ' Zenki Sprinter Trueno coupe. This particular car shows what an OEM+ build can be, minor engine modifications, useable suspension, some JDM goodies, and full functionality. Russ does have some updates coming later this year if all goes well, and when that happens we'll have to catch it on video again.

The new GR86 is a great-looking car from the factory, but it is impossible not to enhance the looks with some sort of body kit from the various automotive stylists that exist today. The owner of this green Toyota GR86 stood close to the Toyota brand by fitting a full TRD body kit that was color matched and paired with a set of white Work Meister S1 rims. Performance-wise not much is known but I did notice a single-exit exhaust with a downturned muffler which should help get some of the boxer rumble out while driving hard.

The JZX100 is a super-popular platform and with good reason, it's a four-door saloon equipped with a 1JZGTE or 2JZGTE, it comes with a manual transmission, and can do all of the motorsports stuff while doubling as a daily. Since we didn't get the Toyota Chaser here in the States, a Chaser V like the one above comes at a hefty price for lightly modded, clean, and well-equipped examples. Of course, when it comes to style, the JZX100 has plenty of options to choose from, some kits are still being produced but a vintage TRD sports grill and modifying the front bumper to fit a large FMIC is all you need to add some aggressiveness.

Another variant of the JZX100 Toyota Chaser was a Tourer S. Equipped with a 1JZGE from the factory, this particular example has an extremely clean body while being dropped low on a set of what appears to be Acura RL wheels.

While we received three generations of turbocharged Toyota Supras, the third generation GA70 was never sold here new. Thanks to the 25-year rule and some true Toyota enthusiasm, this 1GGTE-equipped GT Twin Turbo Toyota Supra was imported and fitted with a set of Weds Kranze LXZ wheels. The fitment of these large JDM wheels is something to admire, there's minimal camber adjustment and tuck into the relatively narrow body of the MK3 Supra, and these deep dishes work well.

The A90 Toyota Supra can pretty much do it all, which is why we've seen them on track, on a drag strip, drifting, and set up to go really low with bags. What had been missing in the first few years of the current Toyota Supra's existence was a six-speed manual transmission. New for 2023 was a manual option which the owner of this particular MK5 jumped on the moment it went for sale. Without looking in the cockpit to see the first-release only tan interior and manual shifter, you'll notice on the rear bumper the "Supra" logo in red which means there's a row-your-own gears transmission inside. Lowered with an airbag system, this Supra is meant to cruise the streets in style, you may have an argument that it could be utilized a different way but this person actually puts their money where their mouth is and enjoys the car how they want, that's automotive freedom.

Not everything that's "cool" has to be fast, old school, or a coupe; if you haven't seen some of the JDM Toyota Alphard minivans that have been modded then take a look at how awesome this Toyota Sienna looks. Minivans are ultra-practical, they can carry a lot of people and are usually packed with tons of creature comfort and technology which makes them the perfect platform for VIP or a wheel/music build. In Japan and other parts of Asia, minivans are a big deal and part of the tuning scene so when I see a well-put-together example like this Toyota Sienna it puts a smile on my face since you can tell parenthood isn't an obstacle in having fun as a car enthusiast.

What a time it must've been to live in Japan and have the salary to buy one of the cool JZX100 variants like this Toyota Mark II. The eighth generation Mark II was the second to last offered for sale and probably the last good-looking of the venerable sedan. As we already know, this chassis came with a few different engine options with the standouts being the 1JZGTE and 2JZGE. I'm not sure what's under the hood of this particular JZX100 but it does feature a well-fitting FMIC and a set of bright chrome Advan RG2 wheels that goes well with the rest of the brightwork featured on the grill and badges.

The Lexus RC is a polarizing car, this RC350 F-Sport might not do much to change that sentiment but it executes its objective perfectly. The RC was the first coupe in the Lexus since the bloated SC430, it's a mashup of the GS, IS convertible, and IS sedan and because of that it has made for a great road car but those seeking German-style all-out performance have been left to seek help from the aftermarket to eke out better handling. It's not to say the RC can't do things its competitors do, it just misses the mark in some areas but has reliability, build quality, and Lexus customer service to help boost ownership. Look-wise, the RC is also a love-it-or-hate-it scenario, the large front grill is a topic that keeps forums and social media busy, but when you're looking to make a statement it doesn't get more "in your face" than this. But, let's talk about this car in particular, it's just kissing the floor with its' air bag suspension providing the lows, while the HRE 547 provides the deep dish highs. Outback are some seriously large, booming mufflers; the type that actually just changes the tone of the 2GR and does not make it excessively loud. This slammed, black Lexus RC350 is sure to make people talk, and maybe that's the point of building a car to look a certain way, it's almost like art in the sense that you end up appreciating it for what it is...long live the RC.

As I stated earlier, the Lexus GS300/ Toyota Aristo is a popular platform that is coming back into style in a big way, so it's only fitting to close out with these two very modified JZS160s. I Love Driving Slow is all about being seen and cars that go very, very low, this black Lexus GS does not disappoint. Slammed on a set of white-faced Kranze Bazreia wheels that are tucked and cambered, this VIP homage has plenty of little details to take in. Inside, the cockpit has been modified with window curtains, quilted leather inserts on the doors that match the reupholstered seats, and a marble-look wrap or cover that replaces the wood grain on the steering wheel and center console. Exterior-wise, project headlights, and rear smoked taillights have been fitted, and out back an upgraded exhaust can be seen peaking out from the bumper...I wish I had the chance to hear it.

Sitting pretty in pink is this wild-looking Lexus GS300. Draped in a coral shade of pink, this GS sports a BN Sports body kit, deep dish chrome wheels, and plenty of chrome throughout like the light bezels and front grill. The owner went with the "Euro-look" clear lights that really work on this build, if the other car is a VIP homage, this one is a champagne glass raised to big body drift sedans from Japan including a set of downturned exhaust tips that complete the look. Cars like this made this show a blast to attend even when dealing with the hotter-than-usual heat that's reserved for later in the year; I look forward to future installments.


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