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ILDS Summervibes 2024: Clearwater

I'll have to admit that my time is limited now more than ever, juggling responsibilities means that I'm unable to go to as many automotive events as I'd like to. When I do have time, however, I'm not usually motivated to go to a meet, and shoot photos when cars are packed together like a used dealership lot. The people behind I Love Driving Slow or ILDS for short, continue to do their very best curating not only a selection of well-built cars but also designing the space they have acquired to showcase these cars in the best light possible. Every year, ILDS tries something new, and this year their SummerVibes event expanded beyond a hot Sunday in Ybor City, and added a Saturday afternoon just down the road from me in Clearwater for "SummerVibes Weekend." The newly renovated Coachman Park in Downtown Clearwater is quite the setting, you have a large hill that leads to the waterfront, plenty of green space, and an amphitheater for live events which gave the ILDS folk plenty of varied space to place cars and vendors. Having space physically decluttered and allowing for people to enjoy different angles of these cool cars is something only a few organizers around the country get right, so I hope to continue to see ILDS push the envelope and other organizers take a page out of their book and give both professional and iPhone photographers a shot at a well-composed scene. Now let's take a look at some impressive Toyota and Lexus vehicles that were on display, maybe next year I'll have something worthy of participating.

Making my way on foot from one of downtown Clearwater's many free, and open free parking spots, I was greeted by a beautiful Blue Mica Metallic JZA80 Toyota Supra. Sitting on a pair of Volk TE37 SL wheels up front and Weld Racing S71 in the rear, this slick-equipped Supra adopts both JDM flare and the Mickey Thompson burning, high horsepower ethos that made the JZA80 popular in the United States long before The Fast and the Furious movie hit theatres. I'm not quite sure of the wallop the 2JZGTE can dish out on this particular car, but the large intercooler peering out of the front bumper on this right-hand-drive example, along with the high-flow exhaust out back, gives you a good idea about how serious this car can be behind the wheel.

Did you know that there used to be a box car race on the hill leading to Coachman Park in Clearwater? Did you also know that minivans can be very cool cars to modify? Walking down the hill to Coachman Park, I passed by plenty of amazing vehicles, but one that caught my eye was a Toyota Estima Lucida that employed airbags to lower itself on a set of perfect Work Euroline wheels. The Estima Lucida is essentially a Toyota Previa with a smaller footprint, chopping off a few inches from the length and height while still managing to fit a full family for long trips. In the U.S., minivan culture has come and gone, but a manual van with airbags and JDM wheels provides a glimpse of Asian culture where these cars are popular. This minivan is just simple and purposeful, the Estima Lucida's front and rear fascias help provide a much sportier look compared to the Previa we received, and the two-tone paint and plush interior make it one of those low-key vehicles you do a double-take for when passing it on the street.

Few cars garnered as much well-deserved attention as @makevipgreatagain's JZS160. Placed in the perfect spot, the deep black paint that draped this big-body Lexus GS soaked up all of the rays while the contrasting white Weds Kranze Bazeria wheels really popped, as did the black 326 Power lug nuts that added an extra level of detail. This particular GS fully embodies the VIP ethos, from the H-Style front grill, the clear lens all around, modified projector headlights, Garson D.A.D. front lip, and the privacy curtains. While many can say it is really hard to maintain a perfectly stock vehicle to create one of those time capsules that are auctioned off 20 years in the future, it perhaps is much more difficult to adhere to only putting on period-correct modifications from brands that are held in high regards, salute!

It's hard not to see the appeal of the JZX100 Toyota Chaser like the one pictured here that's owned by @hellakidsandachaser, it's equipped with a 1JZGTE that's backed by a five-speed manual transmission, and has four doors...for four more people to take drifting! Even if drifting isn't your thing, the last Chaser is a great-looking car, this one is upgraded with a BN Sports Type 1 body kit that adds a layer of aggressiveness to what may be mistaken as just another ordinary sedan otherwise. This car, however, is special, in terms of size it slots in between the Altezza (IS300) and Aristo (GS300) but is nimble as seen in plenty of your favorite drift or throwback JGTC videos, it's a sedan with serious motorsports cred. It's easy to imagine fully enjoying a JZX100 like this with the front mount intercooler chilling the charge air as the Nardi Deep Corn steering wheel navigates which way to keep the MB Battle wheels either sticking or smoking on the ground, while some dream of Supra, others dream of Chaser.

After three decades of service from the first-generation Toyota Century, it was time to upgrade the flagship model with something Japan had not, and still has not seen since; a V12 engine. Every bit of 90's technology and know-how was poured into the GZG50 Toyota Century, this is a car meant to chauffer the successful, yet modest businessman; opulence and prestige in a very "IYKYK" realm, a mix of interior materials like wood, leather, and suede that lends itself to the extremely quiet cabin. This is a real VIP car from the factory, not because there's double wishbone suspension with optional air ride, but because it provides the space and amenities of a luxury Tokyo a car. This particular Century is equipped of course with the 1GZ-FE V12 producing a reported 276 horsepower and 340lb-ft-torque, it's not meant to move the 4,500 lb sedan in a rush, but the large Ebony-veiled four-door passes pavement effortlessly and in style with upgraded multi-spoke wheels that are done-up in gold accent bolts to match other details throughout. It's truly a vehicle that deserves more time to comb over, to DeMuro-lize, and report back all of this car's quirks and features. Still, perhaps another day, but for now, it continues to be the pinnacle of Toyota's offerings.

Another member of the JZX100 family member was in attendance, this time a beautiful white 1JZGTE-powered Toyota Mark II. The Cresta, Chaser, and Mark II have distinct styling cues, but with the same underpinnings that make it a solid rear-wheel drive platform for anything you plan to do with it. This example sits on a set of hyper-polished Advan RA3DT tri-spoke wheels and has a large intercooler that fills in the mouth of the M Sports body kit, a simple yet effective execution that adds details any JDM afficiando would admire.

It's been roughly five years since the A90 Supra, the "New" Supra, or the J29 was released on sale to the public, and by now it has just been accepted as the Toyota Supra. When it was announced that Toyota and BMW would be working together to create a successor to the JZA80 MKIV Supra that reached legendary status, it came with plenty of backlash as Toyota searched through BMW's parts bin to create their own recipe on the Z4 chassis, the result? The best BMW not named the M2 CS and a great sports car worthy of the Toyota badge. Here, we have a subtle execution of the Supra's aggresive silhouette, contrasting black ground effects and wing, and a set of stepped deep dish wheels, this is a car that oozes road presence which makes it a great canvas for any tuner's brush.


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