Outside of Japan Toyota Aristo’s are quite the rarity, so when Paddy Finnegan came across an even rarer 2JZ-GTE Vertex Edition already imported into Ireland he had to have it.
While the 3 litre twin turbo 2JZ-GTE is usually found in it’s tyre shredding cousin, the Supra, the Aristo is the gentleman’s hoon wagon of choice. More usually seen in Lexus GS300 spec, the JZS161 Aristo was never that popular in Europe as it’s automatic gearbox was too sensible for RWD fans but the twin turbo power too much for a normal family saloon. However these specs made it the perfect base car for one sub-section of the modified car scene – VIP.
Originally inspired by a friends JZS147 10 years prior, Paddy went to view the JZS161 and immediately fell in love with it – his love was so clear that the previous owner agreed to keep it for 2 months before he bought it. Even to this day when you speak to Paddy about the car his face is just one massive smile.
So with his dream car finally home it was time for Paddy to make it his own. The previous owner had already started the process with a Kazama Auto Luxor bodykit and a Tom’s cat back exhaust system which were very much to Paddy’s tastes.
To achieve the VIP look Paddy decided that it needed a clean up and so it was treated to a full respray then a phonecall to a certain Mr Peden was made and the car was booked in for a date with the floor. Known mostly for his hydraulics work, John is also a dab hand at fitting air suspension.
Given that Paddy still wanted to be able to give the car a thrashing and use all the torque a four way air ride setup was chosen, running Airlift V2 digital management and twin Viair compressors. The front and rear arches where then pulled and shaped to give the girthy 19×9.5 ET-3 and 19×10 ET-22 Weds Racing Kranze LXZ wheels space under the arches – just look at that dish!
Being the Vertex Edition the car comes well specced with a 3 piece spoiler, window spoiler, factory xenons and full electric black leather. A splash of gangster was then added with tinted windows, smoked led tail lights and carbon window pillars giving the Aristo a mean presence on the road.
Inside is where the VIP theme really comes to life with a range of Garson D.A.D. additions. Front and rear neck pillows, curtains, front VIP tables, a rear centre divide, fusa knot and of course a Pioneer sound system with a double din TV all add to the luxury experience.
Finally Paddy added a Greddy front mount intercooler and a hard pipe kit to help the 3 litre twin turbo lump breathe and stopping power is provided by uprated Brembo brakes with drilled and grooved discs and EBC green stuff pads.
It’s here where we really need to give a shout out to Jonathan Corbally of JC Autocare. It seems as if VIP has went to Paddy’s head and he wouldn’t be seen dead cleaning his own car so Jonathan is entrusted in keeping the deep black paint glossy.
Living that VIP lifestyle indeed!