Blast from the Past
Updated: Mar 11, 2020
Hello everyone this is a copy of a blog post written by Ben Hsu in Dec of 2015. The original can be found here https://www.ebay.com/motors/blog/vancouver-parts-company-celebrates-toyota-vip-sedans-with-california-road-trip/ "One of our favorite events from 2015 was in October when a trio of imported Toyota sedans took a 3,000-mile road trip from Canada to Southern California. Modified in a wild VIP style—in which Japanese luxury sedans are modified with extreme lowering and wheel fitment—they served as a rolling billboard for Serial Nine, a Vancouver-based aftermarket parts company.
“We wanted to show the cars in person,” said Serial Nine’s founder Gerard De Peralta. “The Internet’s one thing and you can see photos all day long, but you don’t get to see how crazy the cars are.” Dropped to mere millimeters above the ground, cars usually considered restrained luxury cruisers were transformed into eye-catching Japanese lowriders.
De Peralta fell in love with Toyota sedans in the late 1990s, after seeing one perform tremendous acts of drifting in a Japanese video. He bought a Cressida, but no one on this side of the Pacific was making the suspension parts it needed to go sideways. He began making what he needed. That caught the eye of other Cressida enthusiasts.
De Peralta expanded to making parts for other Toyota and Lexus sedans, with the specific goal of bringing drift and VIP culture to North America. Despite having no engineering background, he learned everything about design, manufacturing, and how to run a small business.Eric Webber, the owner of a 1999 Toyota Crown Athlete V, went along for the ride from Canada. He has been a Toyota enthusiast for about a decade. It started when he crashed his RX-7. Instead of replacing it with another, he acquired a Toyota Cressida. “Once I got into Toyota sedans, I was hooked and I haven’t gone back. They have power, rear-wheel-drive, luxury, and style.”
“We built this car in three weeks and drove it 1,500 miles,” De Peralta said, pointing to his right-hand-drive 2000 Toyota Aristo (aka Lexus GS in the US). It was a way to prove that you could have an awesome-looking car that can take a long-distance drive with Serial Nine parts.
Webber’s Crown, a Japan-market model, is still forbidden in the US due to a federal restriction on importing cars less than 25 years old. In Canada, however, that rule applies only to cars made in the last 15 years. So when the Crown became legal, Webber jumped at the chance. “It has the luxury aspect of a big Lexus, but the sporty aspect of Cressida,” he said. The rear-wheel-drive Crown shares its suspension with IS 300 and comes with a 1JZ turbo, a perfect combination of comfort and handling.
The third car in the trio was a right-hand-drive Toyota Celsior, known stateside as a Lexus LS. Throughout the trip, people gave a lot of love for the extreme stances and sinister looks of Serial Nine’s big sedans. Even a police officer showed the trio some attention in North Hollywood. When the cop stopped the drivers—such extreme stances are technically illegal in California—he didn’t give them a ticket. Instead, he flashed them a huge smile, gave a thumbs up, and sent them on their way."
Thank you to Ben for the kind words.