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February Car of the Month

Updated: Jun 16, 2021

Phillip's 1992 Toyota Cressida

Can you tell me a little about your car?

It’s a 1992 Toyota Cressida powered by a 1JZ VVT-i from a JZS171. It’s a fully stock engine simply refreshed with basic items like oil pump, water pump, gaskets etc. Koyo radiator and oil cooler are there to keep the respective temperatures under control. Stack oil and water temperature gauges keep me informed during hot lap sessions. The only addition to the engine has been a Future Fab downpipe, and a full 3 inch exhaust built by Cliffs Automotive Performance down in Yuma, Arizona. The transmission is a W58, since I’m at stock power levels it hasn’t seemed necessary to upgrade to an R154. Currently running Fortune Auto 500 series coilovers, and an FD rx7 rear sway bar. I just added new extended front lower control arms to help with any issues of hitting the inner wheel tub at full lock. Exterior wise the car has a full X81 Hippo Sleek Stylish Aero kit, a X81 Chaser front bumper, Uras S13 Silvia drag wing, and a full set of Advan Model 5’s in bronze. A Chrome pair of Work XT7’s are the current spares. The car was built with the intention of daily status so full interior is still retained. With a simple stereo system currently, nothing to wild. A Corbeau Forza XL keeps me in the driver seat, while a 350mm Momo Cavallino allows me to steer the rocket ship in the proper direction.

What made you want a 1JZ over any other swap you could have done?

Reliability was the basis for every move on this car. A stock 1JZ VVT-i seemed like the best option motor wise due to it being single turbo from factory. As for any other swap, probably not. I enjoy the higher tone of the 1JZ over a 2JZ, and nothing is going to be this easy to swap in and as reliable as the Toyota power plant.

I know last summer you drove your car from Arizona to Wisconsin for some of the ClubFR drift days, what is it like driving a drift car across the country and back?

The wildest most fun thing ever. Most the time you are frightened hoping the car isn’t going to fall apart, but after constantly reminding yourself that you have driven the car 10,000 + daily driver miles and a couple drift events...It’s solid; it hasn’t left you stranded. You start to relax and realize that it’s going to make it just fine. Not that it’s not keeping you on edge at every bump or new noise you hear from the road. The fact I went solo at times left me scared, but with the great internet, I was able to still connect with many new people I didn’t know before the trip. It made for a lifetime of memories! I only regret I didn’t take more pictures and videos, but at the same time I enjoy being in the moment. And the video and photos that anyone has captured, I cherish them just that bit more. Overall, I think everyone should build a easy reliable car you can jump in and go visit friends a thousand miles away. Then drift it while you're there with them and have a blast! There is nothing like road tripping in a comfy street car!

Would you do it again?

Yeah yup! Plans are already in effect for something this year but still up in the air at this time. Trying to bring more then just myself this time around so we shall see what Arizona friends I can wrangle in.

Who has a cooler drift scene the Midwest or the Southwest?

I think it more comes down to what is your flavor of pie. I feel the Midwest has a very good history of having a very Japan inspired style. For me personally that’s something I will always gravitate towards; I like keeping cars simple but styled well.

What inspired you to get into drifting?

I was 11 or 12 when a friend took me for a spin in his Eagle Talon, the early 90’s version. We went “drifting” in some dirt lot and he told me 'this is drifting'. Getting sideways and powering out and what not. Well, fast-forward a week or two later and the Discovery Channel had a documentary on drifting and I recall seeing the Apexi FD RX7 driven by Ryuji Miki brought state side for the D1GP. That’s all it took for me to search everything I could on drifting. Then it led to playing countless hours of Forza trying to drift in that with an AE86. Which led to Xbox live and Forza 2, and meeting a plethora of people that I still talk to today from it. Nearly 15 years now, and we have all had a collective interest that brought us back together in person. That meme of never seeing a person log back into Xbox live is the truest thing ever - I’m that guy.

Photo from

Do you have any plans for the car?

Just a bit of tidying up really. I want to get AC back fully, once that’s back in the car, it will be a complete street car. From there simple things like re-spraying the bay and exterior. I have a complete X81 Cresta front end ready to be sculpted on. As well as, a new front bumper floating around at a friends house stuck in Vancouver, Canada.

If you where to rebuild your car would you do anything differently?

Maybe do a body kit right off the bat but other then that no. I’ve enjoyed the progression of the car, it’s been a refinement the last year or so. But I set out to build a car that I could get in and drive anywhere in the country and well, I did that. So now it’s just keeping the gem polished and looking good!

Any Shout outs?

Big thanks to the following for helping before after or during my trip, in no particular order. @zack_exw for all the pics! @dom_rps13 for all the wrenching on the car before and after the trip. @2jzcoupe for pushing me to build a cool x83 that can drive anywhere. @teckno for the couch and garage storage. Plus having a cool jzx90 for me to tandem with. @1point3 for being a cool ass homie and taking some of the best videos around. @ sam butler for helping with my driving on the track. Gave me the confidence to keep going harder each lap! @jpotta thanks for the pics love the poster in my garage and the one in the car I carry. @team wash y’all goons but I love y’all. @everyone that followed on my IG and kept along during the trip. It got hectic at the end there! Follow Phillip's Instagram for updates on his build, and more at

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