Few other cars exude the kind of girly noises you wouldn’t expect from a 24-year-old quite like anything JDM does. Bonus points if the car is something unusual like a Suzuki Mighty Boy or something that just recently passed the rightfully-hated 25-year import law. While I have yet to see a Mighty Boy (if someone knows of one please let me know!), I saw something special this past week that fits into the latter category. What might otherwise be seen as a run-of-the-mill Toyota taxi in countries that got these beauties domestically, this 1996 Toyota Mark II JZX100 made me yelp with excitement.
Colt was kind enough to bless our eyes at last week’s Yacht Club 916 show with this JZX100 that until two years ago we would only see on Noriyaro’s YouTube channel.
“I’ve always been attracted to big Japanese cars; Nissan Cimas, Laurels, Toyota JZX100s & Crowns were all on my list.”
When a close friend who imports cars told him he had a 1996 JZX100 Mark II in the states that was ready to go, he had to check it out. It was love at first drive and it soon joined his 2016 Ford Fiesta ST in the garage. As far as we can ascertain, the car came from Kyushu because of the Kyushu Toyota stamp under the hood. Colt is likely the third owner but other details are currently unknown.
Parts are the next roadblock that comes with owning an imported car. As one might expect, they come straight from Japan but luckily Colt knows a guy. You kind of have to if you’re going down the rabbit hole of imports. Just wait until he finds a parts car to store in the backyard.
Now while the Mark II is, by definition, a mid-size compact sedan, it does not skimp on the comfort, especially in the Grande trim level. Being a late 90s Japanese car, it is packed with all the snazzy, balls-to-the-wall technology you wouldn’t find in a Buick of the same vintage.
“It’s like driving a couch, but a really tight couch. As big as the car is, it’s very responsive. It’s also pretty cool how much technology is in this late 90s car: complete digital dash, swing A/C vents, and even power folding mirrors. I think my favorite thing about the car though are the little parking lights on the end of the fenders.”
The crowd’s reactions to the Mark II also match its unusual status. Those who don’t know what it is are either puzzled or curious, especially about the “wrong” position of the driver’s seat. Some apparently also liken it to a Buick which, depending on your stance on Buicks, could be either an insult or a compliment.
Then there are those, like yours truly, who own the Initial D box sets, regularly shop at Daiso, and use slap stickers more than band-aids.
“They’ll ask how I got it or take pictures and videos. It’s really funny when I go to shows and the first thing people say is, “Oh it’s RHD?!” But I love talking about the car with people. I let this young kid sit in the car the other day because he said it was his dream car. I saw myself in him when I was little. It was such a cool experience.”
Likely in an attempt to break as little as possible, Colt plans to keep mods a little on the simpler side with wheels, coilovers, and an upgraded stereo system. Call in OEM+, if you will. Much like death and taxes, it’s a certainty that this JZX100 will continue being driven under his ownership and that’s something we can all be thankful for.
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