The saying goes, “Aging is inevitable, growing up is optional.” That saying couldn’t be more accurate when it comes to describing car enthusiasts. It all starts with that one trip to the store when you’re a toddler, and pick out your first Hot-Wheels or Matchbox car for 97-cents. Or maybe you watched your Dad wrench on his car when you were a kid. Regardless, as we get older, our toys change from Hot-Wheels to the real deal, and sometimes in the same quantity too. We never really grow out of playing with our cars despite taking on all of those grown-up responsibilities. It keeps us young at heart, and brings out the kid in us anytime we go to a show or event.
There’s another saying though, “With age comes wisdom,” aka learning from experience. A lot of us probably do some pretty dumb things with our cars. It’s almost like growing up, you do a lot of dumb shit when you’re young, and you learn from that as you get older. At one point in our journey as a car enthusiast, we all thought street-racing, and going fast was the coolest thing ever. Some of you are still stuck, and will be perpetually stuck at this point in your journey. Some will get sick of the tickets, citations, court appearances, jail-time (*cough-cough* me *cough-cough*) and fines associated with the aforementioned. We grow up, or grow out, of that part of cars, and move onto something else that we can do with our cars, but doesn’t get us in nearly as much trouble.
That’s where Chris, and his wife Janna, found themselves a few years ago. After living life in the fast-lane, it was time to put the brakes on street racing, and move onto something a bit more grown-up, while still being able to enjoy their car hobby. The couple had always liked the VIP car scene in Japan, and wanted something luxurious and comfortable to cruise the streets of Hawaii in, so it was a no-brainer for them to go after a Lexus. After going back and forth between the LS460 and LS430, Chris & Janna found the perfect candidate, a 2004 LS430 UL in white with just over 20k miles. Chris explains, “Although I love the LS460 chassis, I felt it was too sporty for the look I was going for and decided to go with the LS430. I felt it was the perfect Big Body VIP car platform comparable to the Crown Majesta which unfortunately is only available in Japan.”
With their new toy in their possession, it was time to start making it their own. Like most VIP cars, we start outside and work our way in because it’s all about that initial impression, and nailing that low and wide look. In the looks department, Chris & Janna went with an Aimgain JUN full body-kit which includes the front bumper, side-skirts, rear bumper and trunk spoiler. The front bumper was modified to fit LS600 fog lights, a gentle nod to the couple’s runner-up choice in car. Then, the body modifications continued. Again, paying homage to the LS600 chassis, a new body-line was added to the hood to mimic the newer LSs, a very subtle modification that goes over-looked. Then, the fenders and quarter panels were widened and radiused accordingly to house those Work Durandal wheels. The gold door decals are actually painted on, and the roof even got a gold flake treatment after the car was given a few, fresh coats of the factory Lexus pearl white. Rounding out the exterior mods are a matching set of custom headlights and tail lights with chasing LEDs for a cool light show.
The Work Durandal DD5.2s sit perfectly under the widened arches of this LS430, and Chris said that this one of the hardest parts of the build. Achieving that millimeter perfect stance and fitment is no easy task, and Chris explains that there were many late nights of cutting, welding, and grinding to get the wheels to sit where he wanted. The wheels measure up at 20×10.5 -17 up front and 20×11.5 -30 in the rear. Big wheels demand big brakes, and despite the beefy brakes that are stock on LS430s, Chris & Janna felt they just didn’t fill up the wheel enough. Enter Futura Design and their Super Series BBK. With 8-pot calipers in front and 6-pot calipers in the rear, and matching 380mm/365mm discs, the detailed brakes do a wonderful job being filling in behind the Work wheels.
Getting the car on the ground is a full Airrunner suspension system and Accuair E-level management system with their i-level interface for the iPhone so it can be controlled remotely. To achieve the necessary camber to tuck those wheels, T-Demand front upper and rear upper control arms were used, along with Megan Racing rear lower control arms, toe-rods, and traction rods, and Nagisa auto RCAs up front.
Inside the VPR LS430, you’ll find plenty of wood, real wood in fact, which is an interesting touch. Matching trunk and floor mats have been made from real maple hardwood, and have been stained to match the OEM wood-grain from Lexus. Matching the hardwood touches is a VIP’d Out redwood burl VIP table, while a host of Junction Produce accessories complete the rest of the plush and luxurious interior.
Under the hood you’ll find plenty more details, with the wood-grain theme continuing. However, this is of the hydro-dipped variety which is a cool way to image patterns on various surfaces. The engine cover received a few coats of the OE Lexus pearl white as well as a few other bits in the engine bay. The engine itself remains stock, but Chris tells us that there are plans for a supercharger or custom turbo-kit to bring the engine up to par with the rest of the car.
In just three years, Chris & Janna have turned this LS430 from showroom stock to a master-class in US-VIP style. Once again, another quality, VIP build to fly the flag for the US, and another stunner from the Hawaiian islands. The guys & gals out there really know how to turn out a quality car, and they don’t disappoint when it comes to VIP either.
Going from die-hard street racers to VIP connoisseurs is quite the change, but it’s a good change for Chris & Janna. Everyone has to do a little growing up in life, but the couple still is able to enjoy their passion for cars and hanging out with their friends. Chris explains, “my favorite thing about the car is that it has introduced me to a lot of new people and created new friends. It also helped bring my crew (VPR Hawaii) to get to another phase other than just racing and help us all mature as a team.”
We all get older, there’s nothing you can do to stop that. Whether or not we grow up, well that’s on us individually. When you think about it, even with cars we do a bit of growing up, going through phases if you will. Some people just get stuck in one phase, and stay there, while others like myself, or Chris & Janna here, grow up or grow out of a phase. It doesn’t mean we like cars any less. It’s a passion that we’ll never let go of. We grow up ourselves, and our tastes and interests in cars follows suit. Either way, having this LS in your garage would be pretty dang cool no matter how you slice it. Sometimes it’s nice to step out of the race car and into something big and comfy to cruise around, and look like a boss while doing it. No matter what you’re doing with cars, we’re all enthusiasts about them. We’re just bigger kids playing with bigger versions of Hot-Wheels and Matchbox toys.
Chris & Janna would like to give a big shout-out and thanks to all their friends and family, and of course a big thanks to their VPR Hawaii crew for always being there and helping out with the build along the way.
– Full re spray of OEM Lexus pearl white
– Aimgain JUN VIP front/rear bumpers, sideskirts, and trunk spoiler
– Custom painted gold door decals, gold flaked out roof, custom hood bodyline, radius and pulled fenders, by Vision Autobody & Paint
– Shaved emblems and moldings by W&S Autobody
– OEM Lexus LS600 hybris fogs w/ 8k HID conversion
– JDM Toyota Celsior headlights w/ 8k HID conversion and chasing/dancing LED signals
– JDM Toyota Celsior Tail lights w/ 2000+ chasing/dancing LED’s
– JDM Toyota Celsior window visors
– JDM side mirrors w/turn signals
– Custom quad chrome exhaust tips by Flowpros
– VIP puddle lights
– JDM Toyota Celsior door sills
– Custom real maple hardwood floor mats and trunk flooring stained and color matched to oem interior wood panels
– Custom diamond stitched dash cover
– Pistol grip Steering wheel
– JP Kintsuna
– JP Fusa
– JP Headrests
– JP Pillow
– JP Sunshade
– Dakota digital air pressure gauge
– Vipdout redwood burl VIP table
– Sylvania LED lighting throughout
– Airrunner suspension
– Airrunner 5 gal. polished tank
– Dual Viair polished compressors
– Accuair E-Level air management system
– Accuair I-Level iphone interface
– T Demand front UCA
– T Demand rear UCA
– Megan Racing rear toe, lower arms, and traction rods
– Nagisa Auto RCA
Work Durandals DD5.2
20 x 10.5 -17 (F)
20 x 11.5 -30 (R)
– Futura Design “Super Series” edition BBK
– 8 pot 380 mm (F)
– 6 pot 356 mm (R)
– White Powder coated calipers
– Anodized gold rotor hats
– Cross drilled rotors
– Steel braided brake lines
– Custom hydrodipped engine covers in light burl wood
– Shaved and color matched valve cover and radiator support in oem white pearl