1997 Toyota Aristo V300
In the realm of touring sedans, few are as recognizable, capable, and feature-heavy as Toyota's beloved second-generation Aristo. Marketed in the US as the Lexus GS, Japanese Aristos received a healthy helping of factory features, and the same fire-breathing twin turbo powerplant as the Mk4 Supra. Here at the dealership, we're big fans of examples like this 1997 V300, and with only 82k verified and documented miles, it's barely broken in. Not only is it a great daily driver, but the looks are also just about as good as you can get without going overboard. Originally finished in Atlantis Blue Mica, The exterior was color swapped in Japan to a more luxurious one-off Pearl White. The finish shows relatively well save for some expected dents, chips, and paint fade from day-to-day use in Japan, and is accented by aftermarket chrome trim and LED tail lights as well. Still, for a 25-year-old vehicle, the finish isn't too worse for the wear and an Autocouture front bumper, Aimgain grille, side skirts, and rear bumper certainly spruce up the exterior a bit. Set off by a set of 19" Weds Kranze Bazreia wheels and aftermarket coilovers, it's easy to see why this is such a popular canvas for modification. Comfortable, capable, and blisteringly quick, this Aristo is nothing short of a true Japanese Classic.
The doors open and close with a resounding thud, granting access to one of the most premium Japanese cabins you could get off the showroom floor in 1997. Accented by custom black leather seat covers, the materials show well in this Vertex edition and were clearly cared for in a prior life. While we did want to note some typical age-related cracking on the driver's seat, the rest of the materials aren't too worse for the wear. The dash is trimmed in a complementary textured black vinyl and has fortunately resisted any serious use and abuse over the years. For the safety conscious, dual front and side SRS airbags are at the ready, and the driver benefits from a power tilt and telescoping steering column as well as some additional power seat adjustment to further dial in the ideal driving position. The lower dash trim is finished in a sought after black walnut finish and houses dual zone automatic climate control with cold A/C and hot heat on tap. Also accessible is factory touchscreen audio which functions seamlessly should you want a soundtrack as you drive. For drivers prioritizing performance, a Blitz boost gauge has been mounted in lieu of one of the air vents and displays boost pressure accurately. As expected from a loaded sedan, a full suite of power amenities is functional to make daily driving a bit easier. Power windows, locks, and power-folding mirrors work as expected, and a power moonroof rapidly retracts at the flip of a switch in case you prefer a more open-air driving experience. Privacy tint keeps any wandering eyes from spying on your belongings, and we've even retained the factory-carpeted floor mats, owner's manual, and maintenance booklet to add to this sedan's storied history. For such an impressive cabin, we did want to disclose that the ABS, VSC, and traction control lights are illuminated, although they do not seem to effect the driving experience.
Beneath the hood lies Toyota's 2JZ-GTE. With VVT-i on board and two rapidly spooling turbochargers, this is a tried and true modification-friendly platform, with a plethora of parts available stateside. This one cranks over with haste care of a new 12v battery and settles into a smooth, vibration-free idle thanks to new spark plugs across the board. A fresh oil and filter service was performed first thing, but we didn't stop there. Under hard acceleration, the Aristo is a missile, rocketing to highway speeds as soon as you put your foot to the floor. The factory automatic transmission does a swell job at putting power down to the rear wheels, and a selectable manual mode is at the ready should the next owner want to command their own gear shifts. As with most Aristos of this vintage, a replacement of the rear steering arms was in order, and she drives and tracks right as rain. The aftermarket suspension stiffens the ride a bit but is still plenty comfortable for daily driving, and the power steering is easy to maneuver in and out of tight city streets. The upgraded TRD front brakes bite hard and fresh rubber was installed to aid grip and reduce road noise in this beautiful barge.
*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.