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23287A good number of the my.IS community is blessed (or, perhaps, spoiled) by living in temperate-climate locales such as Florida, Georgia, Texas and California where we can enjoy our Lexus ISs all year. Many others, though, have to endure icy, snowy, freezing winters where our rear-wheel-drive sports sedans need to, figuratively, go into hibernation. Such is the tale of my.IS member Darren Braml, better known by his dmb359 screen name, whose beautiful and tasteful Graphite Gray Pearl 2004 Lexus IS 300 is the subject of an article in the July 2009 issued of Modified magazine, appropriately titled Waking From Hibernation and written by Andy Hope with photos by Adam Cha.

As Andy Hope so eloquently reminds us, "Minneapolis claims the coldest annual mean temperature of any major metropolitan area in the lower 48 states, with the record low an engine block-breaking 41 degrees below zero Fahrenheit. Yet, each year, when the ground thaws, life changes. The local black bears wake from hibernation, the Twins head off to batting practice and Darren gets to drive his immaculate Lexus IS 300." As Darren tells Adam, "There's a core group of 10 to 15 of us who get together regularly, which is good because we push each other and share ideas. And when I'm not meeting with friends, I pasas the time on a number of Lexus-specific web communities". Surely, my.IS is one of those, as we rated a mention among Darren's thank-yous in the article.

Among the first features of Darren's car that draws your eye are the rare Manaray Sport Vertec VR5 wheels, followed by the way the carbon-fiber hood and mirror caps and the TRD grille blend in with the GGP paint. Further improving the car's looks and stance are a TRD front lip, RMM side skirts and a Carson Tuned rear lip, plus Tein Flex coilovers for the suspension. Custom lighting touches are evident both front (custom angel eyes from Justin Hartenstein's Advanced Automotive Concepts) and rear (MM Sport LED taillights). Inside are Sparco seats, harnesses and harness bars.

The most important modification for us lead-footed gearheads, however, is the Precision SC61 turbocharger with an AEM engine management system sourced through Swift Racing Technologies of Maryland. Its 392 wheel horsepower and 380 lb/ft of torque rating is just about as much as the standard factory W55 5-speed manual transmission can handle.

Congratulations, Darren, on the recognition for a sweet ride, and, for more discussion, check out <A HREF="">the General Discussion forum thread he started.</A>


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