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26133Fresh off having his Lexus IS 300 being awarded the First Place 1st-gen Lexus IS trophy at <A HREF="http://my.is/forums/f109/fl2k10-florida-lexus-supra-winter-mega-meet-jan-31st-2010-a-402264/">FL2k10, the Florida Lexus/Supra Winter Mega Meet on Sunday 31 January 2010</A> (full disclosure: this author was one of the three judges that reached that decision), Ray Ramírez (better known to our community by his baadhabit screen name) saw yet another much-deserved reward to all the passion, hard work and love that he has thrown into his Crystal White ride: a feature story in the April 2010 issue of Import Tuner magazine. We, of course, would've awarded him the cover, but Ray himself informs us that tuner magazines tend to shy away from featuring white or black cars on their covers.

In the Vanguard, the well-written and informative story by RC Faderoga with photography by Henry Z. DeKuyper, informs us that Ray's passion developed gradually, with influences as disparate as his high school friends' Toyota Corollas and Datsun 510s, PlayStation's Gran Turismo game and the first Fast and the Furious movie. With his older brother modifying his Toyota Supra, Ray soon realized that one-upping him with a Mitsubishi Galant was an exercise in futility, so he saw the light and purchased a Lexus IS300, which, of course, is powered by a variant of the Supra's 2JZGTE engine.

26134Ray started his road down moddom by reshaping the body with a grabbag of his favorite components from different manufacturers, namely a Vertex front bumper, Wald side skirts, an L-Tuned rear skirt and a Rod Millen wing. Disparate as all this sounds, Ray made it all work seamlessly. The interior includes near-obligatory Bride seats, additional instrument gauges from Defi and Auto Meter gauges, plus carbon fiber galore. He wasn't about to one-up his brother's Supra by leaving the engine stock, though, so he installed a Garrett T67 turbocharger with a Tial 50mm blow-off valve and custom mandrel-bent intercooler pipes, with a Blitz SBCi-D for boost control and beefed-up internals to better cope with the estimated 454 hp at the rear wheels. With projects like this, chassis modifications follow as naturally as night follows day, so this IS 300 received a set of Tein Flex coilovers with an Electronic Damping Force Controller (EDFC), TRD sway bars, suspension braces and Work Meister S1 three-piece wheels (18x8.5 front, 18x9.5 rear) on Yokohama AVS ES100 tires.

26135Beyond the typical satisfaction of seeing the fruits of your creativity and imagination come to life, Ray received another even more fulfilling reward. As he puts it, working on the IS 300 "was also a way for me to spend some bonding time with my oldest son, who helped with the project." Indeed, the roughly 200 miles of Florida Turnpike between the Miami area (where this author lives) and Orlando (where Ray resides) is often abuzz with Lexuses making the trek north or south for meets, and, arguably, none of the Orlando crew is as diligent about traveling south as Ray. And, far more often than not, Ray is accompanied by son Ricky, who has evolved from adolescence into the verge of young adulthood. Don't be surprised if the tables are turned, and it's Ray helping Ricky on his own project car...

To read more, the Import Tuner article is featured <A HREF="http://www.importtuner.com/features/impp_1004_2002_lexus_is300/index.html">on their website</A>, and Ray..er...baadhabit himself informed us of this in a my.IS 1st-Gen IS300 Inside & Out Forum thread that he modestly titled <A HREF="http://my.is/forums/f90/my-15-minutes-fame-import-tuner-feature-4-2010-a-406693/">My 15 Minutes of Fame</A>. Believe me, Ray, you deserve and will be getting more than that...
 

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Congrats Ray and, yes, you do trek South to Miami many times to represent for the Orlando area along with John. I need to see your car in person since I haven't seen it for a long time.
 
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