Ever since I visited the 1JZ Drift Meeting at Fuji Speedway in 2016, I've developed a bit of a crush on Toyota's RWD line-up of cars. I love that these vehicles existed throughout the nineties (and many to the current day), as the majority of import brands moved their models to FWD platforms. The Toyota Crown sits near the top of their domestic line-up, and is probably best understood as the JDM equivalent to our Crown Victoria. Variants of the car are used in livery duty as taxis and police cars, while better appointed models are a conservative luxury option.
This Royal Saloon model, imported by Atlanta importer ATL JDM, would have sat at the top of the Crown pyramid. While the Crown was never imported to America, this model would have been closest to our Lexus GS300. It has a 1JZ 2.5L straight-six engine, which was shared by many of the RWD Toyotas of that era.
I know this isn't for everybody, but I have to nerd out every now and again. Enjoy.
Admittedly, it's been a long time since I've done a shoot for myself. I'm usually trying to cater my content for publication, and not that it compromises my work, but it feels good to just hang out and not have to worry about a spec sheet. My friend Dax recently purchased this imported JDM 180SX from a dealer in Orlando and hit me up about some pictures, knowing that it was right up my alley. It's over the top '90s Japanese drift style. From the mild wheel wheel fitment, to the over-the-top aero, to a dozen other touches, this thing is a time capsule for those in the know.
When Dax picked the car up, the seller told him that the wheels were likely unbranded replicas and that he'd do better to just toss them. When he got the car home and in the air, a little internet sleuthing revealed that they were in fact a set of three-piece Speed Star Dupond wheels (now SSR). He took them apart, polished the lips, and had the centers powdercoated white. I think the results speak for themselves.
The aero around the 180SX is a combination of classic JDM drift brands, including Bomex, one of the biggest names in the 1990s and early 2000s body kit fad.
One of the coolest parts of the car was the installation of a loudspeaker system, visible through the air inlet in the bumper. Wild details like this are what JDM imports are all about.
The interior of the car was standard drift-spec fare with a single Recaro, Personal steering wheel, and gauges to monitor various performance stats. There was also a period-correct mini-Disc player, with a single Japanese album filled with what could be the worst music I've ever heard.
This Nissan is powered by the venerable SR20DET, putting down a little over 200hp to the wheels. I got a quick ride and can assure everyone that it pulls plenty hard.
Dax has a few plans in store for the 180, so I'm sure I'll be revisiting in the future. Even left alone though, this car is perfect how it sits, as a survivor from a time that has come and gone. Details galore, without being in your face. Different without distraction.
I first met Scott a couple years ago after I spotted his car parked at Huntington Beach. Cory and I photographed it the next day, but he insisted that he still had plans for it and that we'd have to do it again when we came back. Fast forward to 2017, and Cory and I, as well as my friends Lee and Kirt, were visiting again. I shot Scott a message to see if he'd like to hang out for the day and he met us over in Long Beach after the Japanese Classic Car Show. Kirt, Cory, and I all ended up photographing his car on the Long Beach shore at sunset, and man, what a memory. I'm not sure if there's a more appropriate setting for this car. If you are a photographer, finding that perfect match for subject and location is rare, but incredibly rewarding.