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      10-14-2021, 09:48 AM   #1
JDMSteven
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Talking My 2004 Lexus IS 300 Sport Design 5MT

Grew up a JDM kid (hence my username) and this was one of my dream cars. Finally found one for sale earlier this year that seemed too good to be true, but it was exactly as advertised and I jumped on it! 1 of about 1,500 manual 2004 models, and has the much rarer Sport Design package, which gives you titanium housing headlights & tail lights, black pearl badging & grille, unique wheels, and a full double-stitched leather interior. It's also finished in a Sport Design exclusive color called Thunder Cloud Metallic. My particular car has a few more options, like the Torsen Limited Slip Differential (YAY!)

Came across the ad on Craigslist while at work one day. Set the location to Tampa Bay (about an hour from me) and typed in Lexus, and it was the first thing that popped up. Spoke with the owner and I went down that night and bought it.

He was the original owner, and was a former dealer technician turned service manager, Florida since new. It was his pride and joy, he had the window sticker, the brochure, all the books, 3 keys, and a clean Carfax with about 20 pages of service history. The only modification is a period correct HKS Super Drager axle-back exhaust, which is very quiet and refined. It has 242k miles on it and runs like the day it rolled off the showroom floor; the 2JZ is such a stout engine with routine maintenance!

My plans are to bring everything up to OEM specs, replace the motor with a lower mileage model, boost it, and swap the weak OEM transmission for something a little more robust; with the goal being maybe 400ish hp. It will stay almost completely stock appearance wise, except for coilovers for a mild drop and better handling & a TRD front bumper or a lip, along with IS250/350 F-Sport 18" wheels. For now, it alternates between a few of my cars as daily driver and I enjoy rowing thru the gears, revving out that N/A Inline 6 and cruising.
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      10-14-2021, 10:05 AM   #2
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That's a beauty. Excited to see the results
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      10-14-2021, 10:10 AM   #3
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Nice pickup, always liked those back in college, great color too.
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      10-14-2021, 10:11 AM   #4
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what a great find! Whenever I see a car like that on the road (rare), I always do a double take. Such an amazing, timeless design.
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      10-14-2021, 10:13 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Foggins View Post
what a great find! Whenever I see a car like that on the road (rare), I always do a double take. Such an amazing, timeless design.
It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside, I drive it WAY more than my M6 even lol
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      10-14-2021, 10:13 AM   #6
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great find!
I really liked these cars as well and would have bought one back in the day, except the cabin was too small for me.
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      10-14-2021, 10:19 AM   #7
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great find!
I really liked these cars as well and would have bought one back in the day, except the cabin was too small for me.
They're very tiny! I'm 5' 3" maybe 130lbs and it feels tailored to me, although I have a buddy that's probably 6' bigger guy and he daily drives an identical car to mine in Alabaster White
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      10-14-2021, 10:32 AM   #8
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Congrats.

I too had one of those....in Midnight Club 3.
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      10-14-2021, 10:33 AM   #9
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Congrats.

I too had one of those....in Midnight Club 3.
I've spent A LOT of hours on that game as a kid ; it certainly fueled my addiction to this car and cars in general.
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      10-14-2021, 10:47 AM   #10
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Badass.

Now start overnighting parts from Japan!
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      10-14-2021, 02:18 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JDMSteven View Post
They're very tiny! I'm 5' 3" maybe 130lbs and it feels tailored to me, although I have a buddy that's probably 6' bigger guy and he daily drives an identical car to mine in Alabaster White
Yeah, I wanted that car sooo bad but just couldn't see it working long term.
I settled for a G35
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      10-14-2021, 02:26 PM   #12
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Make sure you remove the CDV.
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      10-14-2021, 03:57 PM   #13
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Awesome, always loved the original IS, and the prices on these now are just insane. I especially loved the chronograph watch inspired gauge cluster.

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      10-14-2021, 03:58 PM   #14
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Awesome, always loved the original IS, and the prices on these now are just insane. I especially loved the chronograph watch inspired gauge cluster.

I'd love to get my hands on one of those watches
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      10-14-2021, 07:09 PM   #15
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LOVED those! My wife can tell you being at the Lexus dealer the summer of 2004 with me trying to get the rear facing baby seat to fit (our first born was on her way) and the salesman suggesting I try an ES (yuck!) instead.

I even remember that color.
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      10-14-2021, 07:26 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by keg97 View Post
LOVED those! My wife can tell you being at the Lexus dealer the summer of 2004 with me trying to get the rear facing baby seat to fit (our first born was on her way) and the salesman suggesting I try an ES (yuck!) instead.

I even remember that color.
I've had a couple of those 97-01 ES's too... I was born in 98 so I loved that era of Japanese cars
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      10-15-2021, 07:17 AM   #17
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Yours sure looks familiar...

I miss this thing. Near little car.
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      10-15-2021, 08:00 AM   #18
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Yours sure looks familiar...

I miss this thing. Near little car.
Yours a 5 speed too? Wow! Love the way it sits, do you rmr what your suspension setup was?
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      10-15-2021, 08:18 AM   #19
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Yours a 5 speed too? Wow! Love the way it sits, do you rmr what your suspension setup was?
Five speed! ...auto

I had to dig for the pictures - those are probably from 10+ years ago. I want to say they were Tein lowering springs?

When I lowered it I put spacers on the original Sport Design wheels and it looked great, but the tech unfortunately hit a curb or something and bent one of the wheels. We couldn't find OEM replacements, so there you see the wheels on it.
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      10-15-2021, 08:20 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spazzyfry123 View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by JDMSteven View Post
Yours a 5 speed too? Wow! Love the way it sits, do you rmr what your suspension setup was?
Five speed! ...auto

I had to dig for the pictures - those are probably from 10+ years ago. I want to say they were Tein lowering springs?

When I lowered it I put spacers on the original Sport Design wheels and it looked great, but the tech unfortunately hit a curb or something and bent one of the wheels. We couldn't find OEM replacements, so there you see the wheels on it.
Not doing lowering springs on mine with 242k mi now, the front suspension was rebuilt a little while ago hit a fresh set of coilovers would be nice
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      10-15-2021, 12:12 PM   #21
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Great find. Have had a couple of buddies with Boosted IS's over the years. Very underrated cars (and only one was a manual).

My buddy down here in Fort Lauderdale had a red 5spd about 6 months back, that a guy traded him for an E46 330i + cash. I think it only had 140k on the clock. My friend sold it not long after, but said it was fun to drive.
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      10-15-2021, 12:42 PM   #22
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This car to me is in the same wheelhouse as E46 ZHP, I've always wanted to own both with a manual transmission. Simple vehicles with great driving characteristics.
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