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2003 Lexus IS300 - Best of Both Worlds

Billy Shea's perfect combination of power and comfort

Text By Rodrez, Photography by Rodrez

In the import performance world, few legendary mills receive as much praise as Toyota's 2JZ power plant, the motivator found in such classic vehicles as the Supra, SC300 / Soarer and IS300 / Altezza. It's served as a favorite among the digital cheerleading crew that jumps on every conceivable automotive-based forum or social media page to challenge any and all with the threat of "2JZ power."

Bench racing aside, the 2JZGTE's cast iron block and aluminum head is well known for handling an incredible amount of boost without batting an eye, even in stock trim. Upgrade the internals and supporting cast and the sky's the limit. Over two decades after its inception, Toyota's flagship motor is still at the top of the most wanted list by tuners worldwide.

Billy Shea, owner of this immaculate IS300, was well aware of the 2JZ attributes, but initially chose to boost his factory GE. With 25psi of boost being shoved down its throat, it eventually tapped out and left him with little more than a paperweight. Instead of replacing, then repeating what had just happened, he opted for a 2JZGTE swap and decided to perform just a few upgrades.

Though the 2JZ block and head remain internally stock, Shea opted to upgrade just about everything else. Taking a glance at the spec list, it's painfully obvious that this guy has an all-out obsession with HKS parts. First on the agenda was dropping the factory twin turbo setup for a single HKS T04Z snail. Cams, intake, exhaust, intercooler, fuel delivery and anything else under the hood carry the HKS logo with the exception of the radiator and a few dress-up pieces.

The result is just under 500 horsepower, and while we're sure your best friend's cousin's sister-in-law's best friend made over 1,000hp with his 2JZ, Shea is happy making reliable, controllable power that has no problem plastering him to the Bride drivers seat as he mashes the accelerator.

To match the aggressive nature under the hood, the IS300 exterior was treated to a complete Chargespeed lip kit and Ganador mirrors. Just under the D1 fenders sit Endless calipers covered slightly by 19-inch Work VS-KF rollers and Falken rubber. Inside the cabin, all of the creature comforts you'd expect from a Lexus IS300 are still intact, giving Shea the best of both worlds. Tastefully chosen authentic parts, power, and comfort all rolled up into one classy package.

(Shea later revamped his Lexus IS300 with a complete color change, new wheels and other changes. Check out the full story here.)

Behind the Build

Billy Shea's 2003 Lexus IS300

Engine Toyota 2JZGTE engine swap, 1JZ-GTE transmission, Aristo oil pan; HKS cams, intake, exhaust, exhaust manifold, T04Z turbo, blow-off valve, GT2 wastegate, Type S intercooler, 680cc fuel injectors, fuel rail, EVC boost controller; Walbro 255lph fuel pump; Koyo radiator; ARC overflow tank, catch can, oil cap, air deflector, radiator cap; TRD 1.5-way LSD; ORC clutch/flywheel; custom reinforced driveshaft

Suspension Tein Flex coilovers, EDFC; TRD stabilizer bars, bushings; Cusco Type OS rear brace, trunk floor bar; Tom's chassis bars; Do-Luck floor bars

Braking Endless brake calipers; Brembo slotted brake disks

Wheels/Tires Work VS-KF wheels, 19x8 front, 19x9 rear; Falken 452, 225/35-19 front, 225/30-19 rear

Exterior Graphite gray pearl paint; Chargespeeed aero kit, D1 fenders; Ganador mirrors

Interior Bride seats, upholstery; Takata harnesses; custom gauge pod; Defi gauges, control unit; Nardi Challenge steering wheel; HKS limited shift knob; Cusco roll bar

By Rodrez
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