1997 Toyota Aristo 5 M/T
Toyota's second generation Aristo is a transporter that seemingly has it all. A raucous twin turbo powerplant, comfortable interior trimmed in premium materials, and stout Toyota build quality are just a few of the plusses that make these a true bargain in both the performance and luxury car segments. Perhaps the Aristo's achilles heel has always been its lack of a factory equipped manual transmission. This example solves that issue with a slick shifting 5-speed R154 transmission mated to the 2JZ, and this 1997 is well equipped and ready for a fruitful life stateside. Finished in a one off Venetian Violet (LZ3W), the exterior, while not the original color, shows nicely and is offset by some choice OEM+ and aftermarket upgrades. A Tom's front bumper with matching fog lights and a TRD grille define the slick front fascia, and an optional OEM rear bumper lip along LED tail lights polish things off nicely in the rear. With a set of Tanabe coilovers closing the gap between the fenders and the 18" Volk SF Challenge alloys, this one shows extremely well with only 78k miles on the clock, save for some expected light rock chips, dings, and orange peel throughout. If you're looking to standout amongst stateside GS300's and other curmudgeonly commuters, this Aristo is the Japanese Classic for the job.
The interior is comfortable, spacious, and packed to the brim with amenities sure to make the daily driving experience a bit more enjoyable for all pilots and passengers. The two-tone sport cloth upholstery shows well, with no rips, tears, and no major bolster wear to note. Both driver and passenger benefit from 8-way and 4-way power adjustable seating respectively. Adding to the laundry list of interior equipment are some much needed safety options, including both front and side dual SRS airbags. The driver has plenty of adjustability to tailor the cabin to their needs. The steering column offers electric tilt and telescoping functionality if you desire a more bespoke driving experience as well. Positioned in the center stack is a fully functional digital automatic climate control unit. The HVAC has both hot heat and ice cold A/C on hand for when the climate permits, and the dual zone feature allows the passenger to adjust the cabin to their own tastes. A US Spec headunit has been mounted below, primed and ready to play your favorite tunes from day one! The speakers could benefit from a replacement, as the rear ones definitely have lost some oomph over the years. All four windows are automatic, and the power mirrors work too. Add in power locks and you'll certainly feel comfortable in this well-appointed interior. The rear bench serves up plenty of additional space for three extra passengers, and the trunk is decently sized for any additional storage space. Overall, there's not much to gripe about with this interior condition. Particular drivers may need to see past some wear from the shift bezel conversion, and some light defects on the door cards, but otherwise, this is a nicely apportioned cabin and a comfortable place to be for all.
Complying with the Aristo's reputation as a true four door Supra, the 2JZ-GTE under the bonnet is a fine pairing for this chassis. In refreshed VVT-i form, they're quite a bit more exhilarating to drive as well! Our trained technicians have looked this one over from head to toe, performing some key maintenance to give her the green light for the road ahead. A new 12v battery was installed to properly test the alternator, and she fires up and settles into a buttery smooth idle thanks to new spark plugs across the board. To increase the auditory response, an HKS intake, Greddy front mount intercooler, and Tom's exhaust work in tandem. The R154 5 speed box is as good of a mate as any for the 2JZ, and the shifts are smooth, direct, and leave little to be desired, as an upgraded Exedy clutch sends the torque rearward without hesitation. Tanabe coilovers deliver a stiffer but more predictable ride, and we've replaced both inner and outer rear steering arms, front caster arm bushings, and a left inner and outer tie rod to get the drivetrain in compliance. The ABS brakes bite hard and the power steering is easy to articulate through even the most demanding back road twists and turns. Common with most Aristos of this generation, the brake accumulator makes a bit of intermittent noise although this by no means negatively affects the driving experience. The Volk wheels are wrapped in good summer tires, and we've even performed a fresh alignment to keep this one gripping and tracking well for the road ahead!
*California Residents: In order to register a Grey Market vehicle in the state of California then it will have to be made CARB compliant first. CARB certifications will have to be performed within the state. Depending on the vehicle and any existing modifications will affect the pricing. Typically CARB compliance will range between 5-10K. Additional information can be found on the California Air Resources Board website.