It’s not every day you get thrown the keys to a one-off demonstration car, but that is precisely what happened to me on my last visit to Kazama Auto. I was just there to grab some shots of the wild Lexus IS350 that Kazama-san built for last year’s Tokyo Auto Salon, but little did I know I would come away from this particular shoot with a silly grin on my face…a grin that lasted for days! I remember vividly when my expression changed. As I slowly drove around the Saitama-ken countryside desperately looking for a cool location to shoot the car, I suddenly found myself on a deserted stretch of straight road. I thought, what the heck, I might as well see if this thing goes as well at is looks…and boy was I in for a surprise. Within a split second of stepping on the gas the turbine had mustered up full boost in second gear and the rear tires instantly lit up, as I shot down the road sideways. I grabbed third and the huge 20-inch rear GoodYears eventually managed to offer some grip, the savage acceleration accompanied by an ear-piercing scream from the external wastegate.
Grabbing third gear? Turbine boosting up? External wastegate? On a Lexus?
Well of course we aren’t talking about your regualr tuned IS350 here, as Kazama Auto went as wild under the hood as they did on the Super GT inspired widened body.
Powering this once luxurious cruiser is tuned 2JZ-GTE straight out of a Supra. It was one of the cars that stood out the most at last year’s Tokyo Auto Salon. Kazama-san built the car to be a very capable all rounder, perfect for the odd drift outing at Nikko circuit as well as a docile daily driver, not to mention an attention-grabbing show car.
The IS took almost a year to build with an impressive attention to detail to make the NA V6 to turbocharged in-line 6 conversion almost factory looking. I say almost, as some details like the front mounted Trust intercooler are a little hard to hide!
For Kazama’s power target of 620 HP the stock 2JZ was going to suffice, we all know how strong they are from factory. The motor, once fitted onto the custom engine mounts, was joined with a long list of top-end parts starting with the HKS T04Z turbocharger. This complete kit from HKS replaces the stock sequential twin turbo forced induction with one of the most responsive mid-sized singles on the market. The turbo can easily flow enough air for 650 HP but Kazama wanted the car to last and seeing that it would be drifted quite regularly, a certain safety margin was needed. The T04Z sits on HKS’s stainless steel manifold along with a Trust external wastegate. HKS made a one-off Legamax exhaust system for the project, helping make the 2JZ sound as road legal as possible…until that wastegate starts screaming that is! On the intake side a Trust intake plenum supplies air to the six cylinders, with the Nissan Q45 mechanical throttle replacing the stock 2JZs electronic one.
The fuel system has been neatly located in the trunk area, made up of a Bosh external fuel pump and a Sard collector tank sending high-octane juice to the 800 cc/min injectors up front. A custom enclosure was also fabricated for the relocated battery.
Art Factory did a pretty amazing job of turning the plain white body into something rather special for the Tokyo Auto Salon. Under the custom vinyl is Kazama’s original wide-body kit, which was heavily influenced by the GT300 IS that races in Super GT, cars like the Team Takeuchi Shift IS we saw a while back.
Thankfully when I went over to shoot the car it was fitted with the 20-inch Gram Lights 57GT and not the fluorescent-pink 57Ds it usually wears for display purposes. The 9.5J front and 10.5J rear 57GTs are shod in GoodYear Eagle F1 Asymmetric rubber, 245/30ZR20 at the front, and 255/35ZR20 at the rear. Braking is handled by Endless calipers at each corner, 6-pots at the front and 4-pots out back. With the way this thing piles on speed it’s infinitely reassuring to have such an impressive braking set up at your disposal.
Things get pretty wild at the back with those integrated canards! The aggressive stance is achieved thanks to a DG5 suspension kit for the ISF.
The interior is nothing short of pure awesomeness with Bride-logoed fabric adoring door trims…
…as well as the rear seats, a perfect match to the lightweight Gias II carbon-Kevlar front adjustable buckets.
Along with the 2JZ, Kazama-san also fitted a stock Toyota/Getrag 6-speed transmission from the JZA80 and modified the center console, making it almost look like this IS350 was never an auto! The swap required the propeller shaft to be adapted while, to handle the 2JZ’s power, an ORC 659D twin plate clutch is used. Tomei Powered provided one of their Technical Trax 2-way LSDs to juggle the 485 lb/ft of twist the motor develops.
The HKS EVC mounted in front of the main instrumentation keeps boost pinned at 1.2 bar…
…while the Billion Variable Fan Controller makes sure water temperature is kept in check.
The IS has been through a few much wilder vinyl wraps, as we saw at Odaiba last year, and Kazama continues to use it as his main demo car. However, with so many projects currently under way, including Tanaka’s 2JZ-powered D1-GP S15, the IS has to go and is currently up for sale. A great pity, but I’m sure Kazama Auto will come up with even crazier builds in the future. One thing is for certain, I won’t be forgetting the afternoon I spent with the Kazama IS any time soon!
-Dino Dalle Carbonare