Trick of the Trade: Mariano Bucaoto’s 2001 Lexus IS300

Trick of the Trade: Mariano Bucaoto’s 2001 Lexus IS300

Photography by Martin Kruk (@framelous)


Since he was a little kid Mariano Bucaoto has been a fan of nice cars, more specifically he was a huge fan of the Toyota Altezza.  After seeing pictures of the HKS Track Attack Toyota Altezza in car magazines, Bucaoto fell in love and knew that one day he wanted to own and build one.

Fast forward to 2008 when Bucaoto returned from a deployment to Iraq, he purchased the US version of the Altezza, a 2001 Lexus IS300, in San Diego, CA. As faith would have it he wouldn’t get to start modifying the car for another two years as he was heading out to anther deployment, this time to Afghanistan.

02 Mariano Bucaoto 2001 Lexus IS300 PASMAG TBGLIVE

Upon his return, Bucaoto set up to modify his car and wanted to do most of the work himself. For example, instead of paying for a wrap, he decided to attend a class at Wrapix Academy in Burbank, CA so that he could learn the basics and do the wrap himself. Since he is an Aircraft Structural Mechanic in the Marine Corps, Mariano was able to utilize his skillset to create the custom carbon fiber pillars, engine covers and mirrors himself as well.

When most people see this car they assume that it is a garage queen. Don’t be fooled, after deciding to part ways with his Tacoma and GSX R, Bucaoto assigned daily driver duties to his IS300. The car currently pulls a 80-mile round trip commute all while looking good. This is a big feat as this car is now relatively old, meaning that parts are harder to get, especially since the car had a short run (only from ’01-’05), so the majority of the parts have to be imported from Japan or custom-fabricated.

14 Mariano Bucaoto 2001 Lexus IS300 PASMAG TBGLIVE

Bucaoto is still as much in love with the body lines of the IS300 today as he was the first time he saw it, and plans to enjoy it for many more years to come. The car could be getting a transplant in the near future with potentially a 1JZ or 2JZ motor going in.

18 Mariano Bucaoto 2001 Lexus IS300 PASMAG TBGLIVE

In the meantime, Bucaoto plans to continue to enjoy the car and to continue to be motivated and inspired by his team members from Team NvUS and other car enthusiasts.

Keep an eye out for this build, some bight things could come up in the (near) future.

19 Mariano Bucaoto 2001 Lexus IS300 PASMAG TBGLIVE

With 51% of the Popular Vote, the winner of the PASMAG Tuner Battlegrounds #TBGLIVE award category competition at Hot Import Nights: Los Angeles was Mariano Bucaoto!

Mariano Bucaoto's 2001 Lexus IS300 is featured in PASMAG #155 + Style Book #6. Click HERE to order.


ESSENTIALS

Owner: Mariano Bucaoto
Location: Menifee CA
Vehicle: 2001 Lexus IS300
Engine: 2JZ-GE 3.0L
Horsepower: 215 whp

ENGINE

  • 2JZ-GE 3.0L
  • Swift Racing Technology intake
  • Swift Racing Technology air filter
  • Custom honeycomb carbon fiber-wrapped air intake inlet duct 
  • Custom honeycomb carbon fiber-wrapped timing cover
  • Custom painted engine cover
  • Custom honeycomb carbon fiber-wrapped ECU cover
  • Custom honeycomb carbon fiber radiator cooling plate

EXHAUST

  • HKS HiPower exhaust
  • OBX Y-pipe

PERFORMANCE ELECTRONICS

  • Swift Racing Technology ECU

WHEELS & TIRES

  • Work VSKF wheels - 18x10.5
  • 5-inch triple chrome outer barrels 
  • 5.5-inch inner barrel powder-coated gloss black 
  • Custom candy red faces
  • Threepiece.us red/gold Work VS center caps
  • Polished hardware 
  • VMS Racing black lug nuts 
  • VMS Racing red true truck spikes
  • Federal 595 tires - 225/35/18

BRAKES

  • R1 Concepts cross-drilled & slotted rotors (f/r)
  • R1 Concepts brake pads
  • Custom red painted calipers (f/r)

CHASSIS & SUSPENSION

  • Air Lift Performance air struts (f/r)
  • Air Lift Performance 3P management 
  • Air Lift Performance 5-gallon aluminium tank
  • ViAir 444c compressors (2)
  • FIGS Engineering caster arm polyurethane bushings 
  • FIGS Engineering front lower arm polyurethane bushings

EXTERIOR

  • BN Sports front bumper
  • BN Sports side skirts
  • JDM Toyota Altezza rear bumper
  • JDM Toyota Altezza TRD rear lip
  • JDM Toyota Altezza fenders
  • JDM Toyota Altezza front fender side markers
  • JDM Toyota Altezza power folding mirrors
  • Honeycomb carbon fiber mirror covers
  • JDM Toyota Altezza dark chrome 3 bar grill
  • JDM Toyota Altezza black housing headlights
  • JDM Toyota Altezza yellow fog lights
  • JDM Toyota Altezza window visors
  • JDM TRD carbon fiber license plate garnish
  • Vertical doors
  • HIC rear window visor
  • MMSports black housing taillights
  • Clear inner trunk taillights 
  • F1 Style third brake light
  • NRG 69-inch carbon fiber wing
  • Aerowolf red wing endates
  • Aerowolf red double fin side skirt canards
  • Aerowolf red single fin front bumper canards 
  • Custom pearl white wrap
  • Custom license plate "U J3LLY"

LIGHTING

  • 55w 8k HID
  • LED lights
  • LED strobe inner trunk taillights 
  • Custom galaxy roof liner with 450 fiber optics 
  • OPT7 LED Interior Lights
  • OPT7 LED Underglow

INTERIOR

  • Cusco 6 point roll cage
  • Cusco harness bar
  • Bride Gias LowMax with kevlar back driver red seat
  • Bride Gias LowMax with kevlar back passenger red seat
  • Takata Drift 2 black racing harnesses
  • Bride red shift boot
  • Bride red arm rest
  • Bride red door panels upholstery 
  • Bride reupholstered red rear seat with custom-notched to fit roll cage
  • Bride custom red front floor mats
  • Bride custom red rear floor mats
  • Bride custom red front seat neck pillows
  • Carbon fiber-wrapped door switches
  • Custom OPT7 LED interior lights
  • Custom galaxy headliner with fiber optics 
  • Clear lens LED courtesy door lights
  • Custom honeycomb carbon fiber A-, B-, C-pillar
  • TRD carbon fiber gauge cluster wrap
  • Custom White dash LED
  • Custom painted blue gauge needles
  • OPT7 LEDs floor lights
  • NRG short hub
  • NRG 4.0 Gen red quick disconnect
  • Grip Royal 330mm SI Red steering wheel
  • We Are Likewise Death Grip shift knob

AUDIO & MULTIMEDIA

  • 7-inch Pioneer double din head-unit
  • 7-inch OEM navigation retrofitted GPS screen
  • Alpine 6.5-inch front speakers
  • Alpine 6x9 rear speakers
  • JL Audio W3 10-inch subwoofers (2) 
  • Power Acoustik 1600w amplifier
  • MTX Thunder 850w amplifier

FAVORITE MODIFICATION

  • Air Suspension

FUTURE MODIFICATIONS

  • 1JZ or 2JZ-GTE engine swap

SPONSORS

  • Air Lift Performance
  • Voodoo
  • Mishimoto
  • AP Upholstery 
  • Grip Royal
  • Bumpboxx.SoCal

SHOPS/MECHANICS

  • Team NvUs - Jimmy, President
  • AP Upholstery - Albert
  • Kenji Garage - Tim
  • BBC86 - Lee
  • Grip Royal - Scott
  • Voodoo Ride - Hai
  • bumpboxx.socal - Les De Los Santos

SPECIAL THANKS

"Everyone from Team NvUs, my Instagram followers and last but not least, my wife Ali and daughter Aria for putting up with my passion. Thank you"

16 Mariano Bucaoto 2001 Lexus IS300 PASMAG TBGLIVE

01 Mariano Bucaoto 2001 Lexus IS300 PASMAG TBGLIVE

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04 Mariano Bucaoto 2001 Lexus IS300 PASMAG TBGLIVE

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07 Mariano Bucaoto 2001 Lexus IS300 PASMAG TBGLIVE

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09 Mariano Bucaoto 2001 Lexus IS300 PASMAG TBGLIVE

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