Proper VIP: Black, Slammed & Elegant

I often sit and wonder; had I known how deep down the automotive rabbit hole I’d fall, would I have started the descent at all?

If I were ever foolish enough to tally up the hours spent and time invested in this hobby, I’m sure I’d wind up questioning my own sanity. Realistically, I don’t think anyone plans to get as deep as they do. Usually the decent into madness is gradual, spurred on by ample amounts of peer influence bordering on peer pressure.

Taylors IS300 - 12 - 8 - 2020 - Keiron Berndt - Airlift Performance - Speedhunters-1656

When Taylor Enriquez described his own start as an automotive enthusiast and later a VIP car culture aficionado, it all sounded very familiar to me. A spark for cars was always there, but it was ignited into an obsession by the automotive community itself.

Taylors IS300 - 12 - 8 - 2020 - Keiron Berndt - Airlift Performance - Speedhunters-1569

Cars are fantastic bits of metal plastic and rubber, but people are often what make or break the overall experience. Surround yourself with the right people, capable of both encouraging and supporting your ideas (good and bad), and no matter the location, platform or genre, you’re bound to get hooked.

Stepping Stones
Taylors IS300 - 12 - 8 - 2020 - Keiron Berndt - Airlift Performance - Speedhunters-1806

Taylor’s first foray into modification started with a Subaru BRZ. “It had several phases, with the final being both the most in-depth,” he told me. “A lot of people came to know the car.” 

As first cars tend to do, the BRZ taught Taylor plenty of lessons regarding the finer points of car modification. But the most important teaching it bestowed was the importance of using quality components.

Taylors IS300 - 12 - 8 - 2020 - Keiron Berndt - Airlift Performance - Speedhunters-1692

The ZN6 platform has nearly an endless supply of aftermarket parts, but they are certainly not all created equal. Saving a few extra dollars and doing a bit more research often nets a much better end result than going for the quick win influenced by instant gratification.

Taylors IS300 - 12 - 8 - 2020 - Keiron Berndt - Airlift Performance - Speedhunters-1602

As the BRZ neared the point of no return, Taylor was left wondering which direction to head next. That path revealed it self at a Slammedenuff show in Las Vegas. It was there he saw his first VIP build in person.

Taylors IS300 - 12 - 8 - 2020 - Keiron Berndt - Airlift Performance - Speedhunters-1615

Birthed in Japan, VIP centers around a ‘less is more’ ethos, combined with a genuine appreciation for fine craftsmanship. The style isn’t exactly new in North America, but VIP still has a relatively small following in comparison to other genres. In Taylor’s native Colorado, the following is even smaller.

Taylors IS300 - 12 - 8 - 2020 - Keiron Berndt - Airlift Performance - Speedhunters-1680

But regardless of its popularity, VIP struck a cord with Taylor, particularly the artistic side of his personality.

Switching Things Up
Taylors IS300 - 12 - 8 - 2020 - Keiron Berndt - Airlift Performance - Speedhunters-1912

Not a suitable platform for the type of VIP build Taylor wanted to execute, his BRZ was sent down the road and replaced with a third generation Lexus IS 300.

Interestingly enough, the size and sports nature of the IS 300 make it only just eligible to be considered a VIP style vehicle. Traditional VIP platforms are required to be manufacturers’ flagship sedans. While this might seem like splitting hairs, traditions like this are taken quite seriously in VIP circles.

Taylors IS300 - 12 - 8 - 2020 - Keiron Berndt - Airlift Performance - Speedhunters-1605

However, building an accepted VIP-style vehicle is perhaps a greater challenge, and Taylor rose to that challenge – with some help of course.

“I received a lot of valuable input when building this car from Pure VIP, to the owner of Junction Produce himself,” Taylor mentioned as he shared the process of really getting to understand and appreciate VIP car culture.

Taylors IS300 - 12 - 8 - 2020 - Keiron Berndt - Airlift Performance - Speedhunters-1894

With the guidance of local friends and a renowned icon of the VIP world, the IS 300 began its journey.

Painting The Canvas
Taylors IS300 - 12 - 8 - 2020 - Keiron Berndt - Airlift Performance - Speedhunters-1631

Black is a staple VIP color, and getting the paint on point was a crucial step of the process. The factory Nebula Gray was stripped away by Andrew at Glass House Paint Studios in Englewood, Colorado before an NIA Auto Design front lip was added, joined by NIA side skirts and rear bumper spats. A Vicrez ducktail was molded to the trunk above a Glass House-refined rear bumper. Finally, new Lexus Obsidian was laid down.

The engine bay was not painted black, but to keep things cohesive under-hood, all the OEM plastic has been hydro-dipped in a Nebula Gray and a black woodgrain pattern. Accented by Downstar engine hardware, the end result is certainly different, but at the same time not overdone or unbecoming of a Lexus.

Taylors IS300 - 12 - 8 - 2020 - Keiron Berndt - Airlift Performance - Speedhunters-1856

Hiding under the ‘wood’ is a Takeda intake, and an Exhaust Pros custom exhaust snakes out from beneath the well-hidden header. A powder-coated Megan strut bar ties the two towers together and provides an extra bit of eye candy in the engine bay.

Taylors IS300 - 12 - 8 - 2020 - Keiron Berndt - Airlift Performance - Speedhunters-1917

The prerequisite VIP posture comes by way of Air Lift Performance 3P suspension, PBW front upper control arms, and upper and lower rear traction rods. PBM rear toe rods and modified upper control arms also help the wheels tuck in to park and straighten out to roll.

Taylors IS300 - 12 - 8 - 2020 - Keiron Berndt - Airlift Performance - Speedhunters-1538

The car’s stance might not be performance-minded, but it is exactly what you would is expected from a VIP-oriented build: low.

Taylors IS300 - 12 - 8 - 2020 - Keiron Berndt - Airlift Performance - Speedhunters-1927
Taylors IS300 - 12 - 8 - 2020 - Keiron Berndt - Airlift Performance - Speedhunters-1782

Behind the 19×10-inch SSR Executor CV04 wheels is a Wilwood big brake conversion. The open spoke design of the wheels opened up an opportunity to powder-coat the calipers metallic silver.

Diamonds Are Forever
Taylors IS300 - 12 - 8 - 2020 - Keiron Berndt - Airlift Performance - Speedhunters-1704

Luxury is an important part of the VIP culture, and as such a true VIP-style interior needs to be leagues above what came from factory. In the case of Taylor’s IS 300, everything from the seats to floor mats has been redone in double diamond stitching.

Taylor did much of the work to this car himself, but like the paint the interior was outsourced, a local lowrider shop laying the stitching throughout. This makes sense if you consider that lowriders are probably North America’s closest thing to VIP cars.

Taylors IS300 - 12 - 8 - 2020 - Keiron Berndt - Airlift Performance - Speedhunters-1730

The cabin now more closely resembles a luxury sitting room than it does a car’s interior. Black and silver woodgrain carries through from the engine bay onto interior woodgrain accents.

Rear occupants are able to utilize a custom VIP Aesthetics center console fitted with an ice tray, ash tray, and cup holders. For those not very familiar with VIP culture this might all seem quite excessive and unnecessary, but these cars were centered around top-tier enjoyment.

If you were to be driven in this car rather than drive it, then items like the Junction Produce pillows and curtains would certainly enhance the experience.

Taylors IS300 - 12 - 8 - 2020 - Keiron Berndt - Airlift Performance - Speedhunters-1741

And if you were to look at it through the lens of an interior designer, the fact the curtains match the shot glasses truly brings the entire room together.

Taylors IS300 - 12 - 8 - 2020 - Keiron Berndt - Airlift Performance - Speedhunters-2236

The list of modifications and refinements made to this car is far more extensive than my words can convey. There are so many small details packed into a small area, that the initial ‘wheels and a drop’ glance hardly does Taylor’s Lexus justice.

If you’re not familiar with the IS 300 platform, then the added Ulterior Motive front and rear fender vents are easily overlooked. As is the IS 350 F Sport diffuser that’s been expertly tucked into place.

If you are familiar with the Lexus platform, then you’ve probably also noticed the aftermarket Luxury Abstract double diamond stitched door pillars. These tie in with a diamond stitched license plate cover.

Much of the car came together with the help of Pure VIP and Bechtech teammates, but Taylor served as both the primary art director and executor of much of this project.

Taylors IS300 - 12 - 8 - 2020 - Keiron Berndt - Airlift Performance - Speedhunters-1584

With this car, Taylor plans to continue to immerse himself in VIP culture and help properly represent the modifying style in the United States. Not for clout or awards, but rather a genuine respect for the principals of VIP culture.

Cars have always been an escalation for Taylor, and this one isn’t quite at the top floor just yet.

Dave Thomas
Instagram: stanceiseverythingcom

Photos by Keiron Berndt
Instagram: keiron_berndt



Comments are closed.


by Oldest
by Best by Newest by Oldest

Love the leather work and the car. Few questions. Why the LV logo, is it LV leather? Glare on the wheels, are they gold? Sweet car all around.


Could you guys please find something else to spend your time reporting on besides these VIP abominations?

Frankly, pictures of monkeys picking corn out of piles of crap would make for better copy.


Could you please find something else to spend your time on besides snide, #edgy comments on every second article on this site? You're a real reliable ray of sunshine in the comment thread.


The last VIP post was in June of this year. So I'd say we've spent plenty of time focused on different types of builds.


The feature before this is an actual racecar, it's not like this site is littered with stance stuff. And personally, while I've spent my money creating a track car, I appreciate seeing these types of builds.


I generally like all kinds of builds, but this just screams wannabe gangster or rapper idk.. then again the need for stancing a car to the point of making it horrible to drive will always elude me for the same reason I don't wear my pants around my ankles. trying so hard to make your car look cool immediately has the opposite effect and makes you look like a poser. A track car on the other hand will always be cool IMO no matter what it is.


Stance cars that use "race inspired" styling don't do it for me, but something like this that makes no claims of performance I can appreciate more, because it's upfront about being an aesthetic. Like I said, I've spent my own money on performance, and it's not like this site has been lacking motorsports content recently. And yet everytime a stance build comes out the "I don't like it so nobody else can" crowd comes out with it.


StanceHunters... boring content.
I miss old SpeedHunters. SH is summed up nowadays in good pictures of boring cars, which don't make a good content.


Aside from the recent Airlift editorial the last truly slammed car was in August. I get this content isn't for everyone but we've done a pretty good job of mixing things up lately I'd think....

Tyler Bickel-Villigran

i also miss old speedhunters content but i feel that this new direction is welcome by most of the community, old speedhunters was the kind of stuff id look at in middle school when i was bored, the new articles actually catch my eyes. we don't need a new version of hot rod magazine. i will always love speed hunters, i grew up with it as a household name almost everyone in my family had a stanced silvia in NFS undercover, and we still stance our digital cars and our real ones. #stancenation


I like the VIP coverage. I've never owned one but they look like the best thing ever to ride in. This one went a little overboard with the diamond stitching though


VIP Builds are just so cool!


I think these cars have a place in the automotive scene. They are the originators of the low stances look. When done right these are some of the most visually appealing cars. Not everything has to be a gutted track machine. Sometimes low and slow is the pace of life lol. Keep up the good work SH I think you guys do a good job on mixing it up.

Brandon Von Ohlen

Since so many other people feel the need to complain about this article, I wanted to say that I really do enjoy the variety of content on SpeedHunters. Even if it is not a car I would spend money to build, it is still cool to see and read about.


Wish I could actually see what's going on in the interior, those pictures are incredibly dark.


An absolute waste of money and time on another slammed stance poser mobile droid. The back seat is tiny, the suspension worthless, definitely going to get a bent rim and flat tire, have any of these tuners actually seen a real VIP car because this looks like something a kid in high school would think is cool, not anyone successful. I’m off to art direct a sandwich.


Excuse my rudeness but VIP these days is not the true VIP. This website has the real history of VIP:

After the introduction of automotive waste/garbage (stance) idiots in Japan started thinking that it would be a good idea to make their cars look as horrible as possible with stupid negative camber and calling any car that is black and has four doors a VIP car. For some reason idiots in the USA who think anything the Japanese do is sacred and holy decided to copy the stance idiots and thats how we got to this trash. Its going to be funny when in a few decades people will look back at stance and ask what where people thinking when they were doing that to their cars? This reminds me of how we look back at the tuning scene of the early 2000s with nostalgia rather than hate. I'm pretty sure that 10 years from now people will look back at stance cars and laugh at the idiocy of people who think rubbing cars frames' on the road is cool.


Myself and the owner acknowledge this is a VIP style vehicle, I am quite familiar with Liberty VIP and that page.


The work that has to be done to achieve this is extensive. Lots a suspension mods and the add-ons on the bodywork including full respray is not a small feet. It is slammed and elegant from the outside.

For me the diamond stitching has gone way overboard. "VIP centers around a ‘less is more’ ethos" is lost in my eyes. It's the dashboard and B-pillars that pushes it over the edge for me.

With the money gone into this car it begs to wonder if another platform would have been better, but hindsight is 20-20 and we all know we tend to spend more time and money we originally set out to.

All the respect to the choices made. Having a car this outspoken is always going to attract both positive as negative responses. It's your car and if you enjoy it, more power to you.

Tyler Bickel-Villigran

i'm sick of seeing people ragging on v.i.p and bippu culture, i get that not everyone likes it but if you don't just leave. car culture is about expressing ourselves, and finding others that have the same passion and the people who hunt down articles about what they don't like so that they can make fun of it, its annoying. go stare at a nova and leave stance/vip/bippu alone. we don't have to conform to what we like, that's the whole point of loving cars is to be different. we don't want to b e hassled, we want to be free, that's different for all people some of us like to go fast, some of us like to get low. in short don't read the article if you don't like what its about.


I do appreciate the effort and craftsmanship that went into building this car, and I love 99% of it, but this horrible "stance" camber stuff need to die asap.
There is no benefit from running stupid camber like that, and it detracts from the otherwise clean look.
Just my two cents.


Personally really dig VIP styling. Cars like this look so menacing. I mean picture this. As you walk past a tall skyscraper you notice something different about the traffic. There it is, the disturbance in the normal yellow taxis. A blacked out Lexus pulls up to the street curb. A clean shaven man, slightly elderly, but carrying himself regally, steps out of the backseat. Gazing around with trepidation, he pulls his suitcoat together as he closes the door, signaling the driver's slow silent exit as the man who is almost certainly a Yakuza boss walks away. It's such a car that evokes emotion. I love it.


My dream lexus.If i ever got to have one in the future it would probably be this one.