01 Ethan 1996 Toyota Mark II JZX100 Mark Maker PASMAG

There was a moment in 2010 that brought the Toyota JZX100 way up in coolness factor, and it was during the fifth round of D1GP at Ebisu. Coming in extra-spicy, Daigo Saito initiates his drift right at the apex of the turn, catching air mid-initiation, and landing his red Toyota Mark II in a full-on drift at full lock. If you’ve never seen this jump drift, here’s your homework: watch the 35-second clip of the jump on YouTube, and then immediately watch it seven more times because it’s so rad.

For some, this would make the Toyota Mark II or JZX100 platform in general more awesome, but also expose Daigo Saito and his D1 shenanigans to an international audience. For others, like Ethan, this stunt was something that Daigo and his drift-mates on the WELD team were known for. Sliding sedans with crazy graphics, big power, big body kits, big wings, and big wheels that could leave the track and probably place at a car show are what WELD is all about, and that’s what Ethan fell in love with.

02 Ethan 1996 Toyota Mark II JZX100 Mark Maker PASMAG

“I’ve wanted [a JZX] since I was 17,” explains Ethan. “Daigo Saito and the WELD cars were some major reasons why I got into them. Most other cars around then were S-Chassis or Corollas, so seeing something so excessive was super, super cool. Once I got more into JDM stuff, I learned of WELD and their fleet of incredible cars.”

11 Ethan 1996 Toyota Mark II JZX100 Mark Maker PASMAG

While S-Chassis were really common in the mid-to-late ‘00s in Japanese drifting, they were also a big part of Ethan’s life. After getting his modifying start in Hondas and VWs, Ethan went on to own a few of Nissan’s most popular sport compact – seven in fact. Some highlights include an S13 with a 1JZ swap, SR20-powered hatch and convertible versions, and an S14 with some rare parts and the reliable power of an S15 SR20. The thing is, Ethan’s car has to do dual duty by being up for drifting at the track, and then be good to drive home or do the occasional road trip, and by looking at those requirements, a Japanese sedan with rear-wheel-drive and a dependable 1JZ-GTE engine seems to fit the bill perfectly.

15 Ethan 1996 Toyota Mark II JZX100 Mark Maker PASMAG

When he eventually did come across the perfect Mark II, Ethan made sure that the 1JZ would be up to task, no matter the circumstances. The JZX100 was handed over to Leask Spec, headed by a buddy of Ethan’s, to get a refreshed turbo 1J in the engine bay. The stock turbo has been upgraded to a 5858 Precision charger, and paired up with a large front-mount R33 Skyline GT-R intercooler, Greddy Type-R blow-off valve, and a dump-tubed Tial 44-mm wastegate, which makes for some insane noise at boost. Ethan also procured a “slug” manifold that needed some working to fit everything around it. For example: the SARD fuel rail didn’t line up at first, so it was fixtured and threaded with locator tabs, and then the AC compressor, power steering, pump, and oil dipstick didn’t fit, so those were all reworked to fill their roles again. A coolant bleeder tank, complete with swirl pot for air separation were fabricated and matched up with a modified Koyorad radiator to complete the cooling system once the charge pipes were done.

12 Ethan 1996 Toyota Mark II JZX100 Mark Maker PASMAG

With an Apexi PowerFC standalone ECU tuned by RS Enthalpy, plus HKS boost control and a Bee*R rev limiter for insurance, this daily driver is capable of 576 reliable rear-wheel-horsepower at about 29 psi, which, when put down through a twin-plate OS Giken clutch and two-way Cusco LSD, is more than enough for getting the wheels loose at the track or passing on the highway.

09 Ethan 1996 Toyota Mark II JZX100 Mark Maker PASMAG

Another thing that Ethan wanted to protect were his aesthetics. Being friends with the floor is cool and all, but being so low that you damage your kit everytime you leave a parking lot isn’t. Vertex kits don’t come cheap, you know? To preserve his investments, the Mark II is sitting at just the right height on some Swift-spring-equipped custom-valved Stance XR1 coilovers. His Advan TCIII wheels are tastefully stretched on some Kenda Kaiser KR20 tires and hide some serious six-piston GREX calipers behind the front set. Serialnine front upper and rear lower control arms, toe arms, traction arms, as well as some one-off front lower control arms and tension rods from Walker Pro Motorsports (another friend of Ethan’s, who also made his turbo piping), tailor in the tasteful stance of the Toyota, while a set of C’s Garage steering knuckles and Odyssey Fab subframe reinforcement help the sedan’s sliding capabilities.

“Though it doesn’t look like a WELD car, they’ve definitely shaped my view of what a drift car can be,” Ethan gushes. “Their competition car was damn-near a show car, and I try to keep this car as clean as possible, while using it as much as I can.”

10 Ethan 1996 Toyota Mark II JZX100 Mark Maker PASMAG

While it doesn’t have then wild outward appearance of a WELD car, the Mark II definitely exudes JDM stylistic vibes. Vertex aero, Ganador mirrors, and Origin trunk lip and roof spoiler outside, plus the Bride Zeta II seat, Nardi Deep Corn wheel, and straight-out-of-Japan Carrozzeria head unit inside, this JZX is an exercise in how to build a clean and timeless car. And that’s not to say that WELD’s spirit doesn’t exist here – the coil pack cover on the engine, shifter bushing, braided brake lines, and, most recently, the differential bushings have all travelled overseas from the team’s shop to take up residence on Ethan’s car.

What Ethan has built, with some help from some friends, is a well-rounded JDM car that serves as a bit of culture shock to the streets of Texas that it cruises down. It’s not specifically a drift car, and it’s not specifically a highway racer – it’s daily driver in every sense, especially when part of your seat time includes getting sideways. This is a Mark II that makes its mark, everywhere it goes.

07 Ethan 1996 Toyota Mark II JZX100 Mark Maker PASMAG

Vehicle: 1996 Toyota Mark II
Owner: Ethan
Location: TX
Engine: Toyota 1JZ-GTE 2.5L I-6
Horsepower: 576 RWHP @ 2 bar

14 Ethan 1996 Toyota Mark II JZX100 Mark Maker PASMAG

Precision Turbo 5858 turbocharger
Nissan R33 Skyline GT-R front-mount intercooler
Greddy Type-R blow-off valve
Tial 44-mm wastegate
Leask Spec custom (power steering reservoir, catch can, charge pipes, coolant swirl pot, coolant bleeder tank, modified intake manifold)
Billet throttle body
K&N air filter
Custom intake tube
Koyorad (modified radiator, oil cooler)
KTS modified upper radiator pipe
Samco lower radiator hose
Oil filter relocation
WELD coil pack cover
SARD fuel rail
Aeromotive fuel pressure regulator
Walbro 485-lph fuel pump
Injector Dynamics ID1000 fuel injectors
NGK BKR8E copper spark plugs
Apexi PowerFC standalone ECU
HKS EVC-S boost controller
Bee*R rev limiter
RS Enthalpy custom tune

08 Ethan 1996 Toyota Mark II JZX100 Mark Maker PASMAG

TRUST 3.25-inch titanium exhaust system
Walker Pro Motorsports custom (turbo manifold, down-pipe, wastegate dump tube)

OS Giken (twin-plate clutch, flywheel)
Cusco 2-way LSD
WELD shifter bushing

06 Ethan 1996 Toyota Mark II JZX100 Mark Maker PASMAG

Advan TCIII wheels – 18x9 +25 (f), 18x10 +35 (r)
Kenda Kaiser KR20 tires – 235/40 R18 (f), 265/35 R18 (r)
GREX (6-piston front brake calipers, 2-piece slotted rotors)
Project-Mu emergency brake pads
WELD braided brake lines

05 Ethan 1996 Toyota Mark II JZX100 Mark Maker PASMAG

Stance XR1 custom-valved coilovers
Swift springs – 24k (f), 18k (r)
C’s Garage steering knuckles
Toyota JZX110 tie rods
TRD (engine mounts, transmission mounts)
WELD differential bushings
Serialnine (front upper control arms, rear lower control arms, toe arms, traction arms, subframe bushings)
Walker Pro Motorsports custom (front lower control arms, tension rods)
Odyssey Fab rear weld-in subframe reinforcement kit

10 Ethan 1996 Toyota Mark II JZX100 Mark Maker PASMAG

Vertex (front lip, side skirts, rear valence)
Ganador side mirrors
Origin (trunk lip, roof spoiler)
Clear side markers
Custom orange LED (side markers, turn signals)

13 Ethan 1996 Toyota Mark II JZX100 Mark Maker PASMAG

Bride (Zeta III bucket seat, head pad, seat back protector)
Nagisa seat rail
Nardi Deep Corn 360-mm steering wheel
HKB steering wheel hub
Custom delrin shift knob
DEFI gauges (60-mm boost, 52-mm oil pressure, 52-mm oil temperature, 52-mm water temperature)
AEM AFR gauge

Carrozzeria head unit
JL 12-inch subwoofer
Alpine subwoofer amplifier
Optima Red Top battery

04 Ethan 1996 Toyota Mark II JZX100 Mark Maker PASMAG

Full feature of Ethan's 1996 Toyota Mark II can be seen in PASMAG Tuning Essentials: Style Book Vol 5. Click here to order.

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