We’ve Named Our Lexus IS200 Drift Car: “Project Uwabaki”
Written by Alex Harrington

Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift had some of the most memorable lines of the franchise like, “life’s simple: You make choices and you don’t look back,” and, “I have money, it’s trust and character I need around me.”

Those lines were the wise words of Sung Kang’s character Han. But Sean had a hilarious conversation with a teacher earlier in the film when he went to the school for the first time. There, he was told he had to wear “uwabaki”, which are slippers that Japanese students wear when they’re in school.

When we asked you what we should name our Lexus IS200 project drift car, it was between Giselle and Uwabaki. We thought the latter would be perfect. So Uwabaki is its name, and over the weekend we started her up for the first time in over 18 months. Check out the video below of it purring like a kitten:

She turned over straight away, despite being kept on an angled driveway and not being touched for so long. It’s a testament to the incredible Japanese engineering behind Toyota an Lexus, and it fills me with lots of hope for the future of this machine.

So what’s next?

I had a quick look over the car while the engine was running and there are a few issues we’ll have to address first. To begin with, it needs a full service, not only because it’s sat for so long, but because the auxiliary belts are squeaking and it’s due a timing belt and water pump change. Secondly, we’ll have to address the rust that’s creeping up on the car.

IS200s are known for their rusty arches and sills, and it’s certainly showing signs of oxidation underneath the paint a well as underneath the car. Likewise, its calipers are known to seize for the same reason, so they’ll be swapped out for brand new examples along with rotors and pads. Bigger brakes will come eventually, but they’re not needed right now.

Thankfully, I’m getting help from our friends over at Mini Tech Motorsport who I’m trusting to pick up the car from my driveway and take to their garage down in Essex in a couple of weeks (while abiding by current Covid guidelines). There, they’ll be looking over the car, carrying out the service, and making sure it’s road-ready and MOT’d so I can drive it during lockdown so the car isn’t just sat waiting.

lexus is200 arches rust

Coming Later

It will be a shame that I won’t be able to follow Uwabaki down and help because of Covid regulations, but we’ll be doing much more with Mini Tech Motorsport in the future so there will be plenty of opportunities to get my hands dirty.

Mini Tech will be taking plenty of photos so we can update you all on the work, so make sure you follow us and them on social media and this site to get the latest.

The next job will be ripping out its interior and swapping the glass for polycarbonate to really get some weight saving going on. After that I’ll be swapping out the current open differential for a limited slip variant, and taking a grinder to its belly to rid itself of rust.

Wish me luck.


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