The Mark IV Toyota Supra Turbo and its 2JZ NO SHIT motor is very well known around these parts. But back in (overnight parts from) Japan, the 2JZ-GTE and its “276 hp” 2.5 liter twin turbo I6 1JZ-GTE little brother came in an array of cars. The’re about to hit 25 years old, which means we can import them soon!
If you want a 2JZ-GTE sedan, you’re in luck, because the Toyota Aristo, a.k.a. Lexus GS, was sold with one. The Aristo 3.0V had a 2JZ-GTE and a 4-speed automatic transmission. It came out for the 1992 model year, so it’s already eligible for sale in the US. Japanese Classics is selling one right now.
The Aristo 3.0V is cool, because it’s a twin turbo RHD version of a first-gen Lexus GS that can be had with cloth seats. But if you want a manual transmission, well, let’s go on a little tangent about why there are so many slightly-different JDM cars within the same brand.
In Japan, the car companies break their lineups into not-quite sub brands. They’re more like different dealership chains where certain models are only available at those chains. Some cars are unique to certain chains, other times there are a few identical but subtly-different-styled versions at the different chains.
In the early 90s, the Aristo was the top luxury sedan available at Toyota Vista Store dealerships. Directly below the Aristo were the Chaser and Cresta. For 1993, the new JZX90 Chaser & Cresta introduced a Tourer V trim that came with a 1JZ-GTE, stiffened body structure & suspension, and available manual transmissions and limited slip differentials.
The Mark II is another car that shared the JZX90 platform and came in Tourer V trim. But the Mark II was sold at Toyopet Store dealerships. Like the Chaser and Cresta, the Mark II was the second-from-the-top luxury sedan available in Toyopet Stores, with the top level sedan there being the Celsior, a.k.a. Lexus LS.
The Chaser, Cresta and Mark II Tourer V are all basically the same car with different styling.
Chaser Tourer V
Cresta Tourer V
Mark II Tourer V
The Chaser and Mark II have frameless windows, the Chaser being more rounded and the Mark II a little more angular. The Cresta has window frames and reminds me of a mix of XV30 Camry and original Lexus LS.
I like these cars a lot. They have twin turbo inline 6 motors with plenty of tuning potential (although not quite the astronomical numbers of the 2JZ-GTE), they’re relatively lightweight at about 3200 lbs, they’re rwd with manual transmissions and LSDs, and they’re totally boring looking to the point that nobody would really notice them in the US even though they were never sold here. The only giveaway is the driver being on the wrong side of the car. Otherwise they could just as easily be confused for a mid-90s Camry or Lexus.
If you absolutely must have some manual transmission rwd 1JZ-GTE boring looking Toyota sedan goodness right now, or you prefer your 1JZ-GTE with boxy 80s styling, the 1JZ-GTE motor was actually introduced in 1990, mid-way through the previous JZX81 generation of the Chaser, Cresta and Mark II, on the 2.5GT Twin Turbo trim. They didn’t have the chassis enhancements of the later Tourer V models, but they do have the 1JZ-GTE and available manual transmission.
Chaser 2.5GT Twin Turbo
Cresta 2.5GT Twin Turbo
Mark II 2.5GT Twin Turbo
(The 1JZ-GTE also came in the MkIII Supra and various Soarer models, but we’re talking sedans here.)
All these cars, while never sold in the US, were and are very popular with tuners in Japan and other places like Australia and New Zealand. In theory it shouldn’t be too hard to find parts for them. The JZX81 platform was sold here in the US as the Cressida, so maybe that would help parts availability here, but who knows?
The 1JZ-GTE is probably the best available motor in any importable JDM, rwd, manual transmission boring sedan. The R33 Skyline GTS-25t comes close, but its RB25DET is a single turbo, and I think it’s kinda weird looking, unlike the boringly handsome Toyotas.
The facelifted version is a little more something, but it’s still a few years away since it came out in 1996.
Anyway, screw these Skylines! Give me some 1JZ Toyotas!
Personally, my favorite JZX90 is the Mark II, and JZX81 is the Chaser. But I mean, each generation, all 3 models only differ in styling.
While I like the boxy 80s styling of the JZX81, I definitely prefer the more modern JZX90 platform, especially since the Tourer V has extra goodies. AND THEY ALL HAVE REAR WIPERS. If you want cup holders along with your 1JZ, well, then you have to wait until the JZX100 models hit 25 years. Unless you live in Canada, then you’re in luck!
Time to start firing up the JDMImportulator...