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On 10 years of my.IS: 10 Most Significant Articles

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23641Of all the On 10 years of my.IS lists, this was probably the trickiest and hardest to put together, not to mention narrowing it down to just 10 entries or themes. How, exactly, do you measure significance? Merely by number of views or <A HREF="">LinkBacks</A> each article generates? By the quality or caliber of those LinkBacks? (i.e.: a Linkback to a major print car magazine or car website like Autoblog is more important than a link to an obscure minor website). Or should significance be measured by how much of the article is a "scoop", or information we at my.IS found before anyone else, and was exclusive to our site for some time?

After grappling with those questions, our 10 Most Significant Articles list (culled down from 17 finalists) was more heavily weighted towards the latter two questions, and these internal deliberations led to my decision to post a separate, upcoming 10 Most Popular Articles listing that is an objective, by-the-numbers ranking. Conversely, the 10 Most Significant Articles compilation is, perhaps, the most subjective of all, and, as I stated in <A HREF="">our 10 Favorite Articles write-up</A>, feel free to juggle the order around in your head, or mentally add a favorite article you feel I unfairly left off the list. And, as with that article, this Top Ten will appear in countdown fashion, from #10 up to #1, my favorite of all. By clicking on the bold-faced article title, you can link to the original, full article. And, again, each entry will contain background commentary. So, sit back and read (or reread, if you're so inclined) my.IS's 10 Most Significant Articles:

2337510. <A HREF="">What might the future bring for the Lexus F Sport line?</A>
In the old print media-dominant days, a furtively-captured spy photo or a whispered insider hint that later appeared as a rumor were the primary ways of guessing what carmakers had in store. In the current wide-open, information-overload era of the Internet, however, other means of culling the car companies' future plans have emerged. Nosing around the European Union's patent office has produced a number of advance scoops, such as <A HREF="">an upcoming stretch Pullman version of the latest Mercedes-Benz E-Class</A> and <A HREF="">Suzuki's largest-ever car, the Kizashi</A> as well as the <A HREF="">Nissan 370Z Roadster</A>, the <A HREF="">latest Mazda3</A> and <A HREF="">2009 MX-5 facelift</A>. And perusing trademark and copyright applications and registrations filed by carmakers can also provide vital clues to their possible future plans.

Here at my.IS we are very fortunate and blessed to have not one but two moderators whose real-life, full-time jobs are in trademark and copyright registrations-related occupations, thus giving us an edge in obtaining these sorts of scoops: NattySlide and k3vo. It was the latter who provided the tips that led to the two Most Significant Articles that bookend this listing. This particular one lists all the items for which Lexus either has already applied or is considering applying the F-Sport badge, and at least one (the floor mats) has a strong chance of transitioning from mere possibility to actual available item.

233739. <A HREF="">Fox Marketing's unique take on the Lexus IS 350C</A>
Proving that Lexus' concerns for recycling go far beyond its green, hybrid-friendly side, the IS F pre-production prototypes that journalists sampled on both my <A HREF="">first</A> and <A HREF="">second</A> trips to Laguna Seca (ranked 7th and 3rd, respectively, on my <A HREF="">On 10 years of my.IS: 10 Favorite Articles compilation</A>) were later offered to four noted tuners to perform their magic and personalize them for the 2008 SEMA show, as noted in <A HREF="">an article from the my.IS archives</A>. Of the four, arguably, the most talked about was the Artisan/Fox twin turbo IS F and, pleased with its success, Brian Fox of his namesake marketing firm and Kenny Strickler of Artisan Performance/ once again teamed up for a sequel. Word of their plans first appeared on the website, with the story later picked up by The Lexus Enthusiast blog. Still, those articles contained but the barest wisps of information and, beguiled by that rendering and wanting to know more, what else is a curious journalist to do but pick up the phone and call Brian Fox, whom I had met and interviewed at the aforementioned 2008 SEMA show. Thankfully, Brian was forthcoming with plenty of info, and, in doing so, gave my.IS an advance scoop.

38668. The Lexus IS and SAE J1349 horsepower standards: <A HREF="">Does the IS250 really have 11 less horsepower than the IS300?</A> and <A HREF="">Car & Driver April '06, Lexus IS250, car-to-car production variations</A>
On August 2004, the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) revised the J1349 standards and procedures for determining and measuring "net" horsepower that were first established in 1971 to close a series of loopholes that generated horsepower ratings that only could be achieved under the rarefied conditions of an ideal testing environment - but were unlikely to be replicated in the real world. This revision, while providing more realistic horsepower figures (which is well explained in <A HREF="">an article by engineer Richard Shelquist</A>) would turn into a source of grief and confusion as the Lexus IS transitioned from the 1st-generation IS 300 to the 2nd-generation IS 250. Those of us who bemoaned the apparent loss of performance of the IS 250 versus the IS 300 focused on three numbers: the 180 lb heavier curb weight of the IS 250; its roughly 1 second slower 0-60 mph and ¼-mile times; and the loss of 11 horsepower. The weight increase is clear-cut and undeniable, the other numbers, not so much, as these two articles and the post-article comments grappled with and attempted to clarify this issue.

101727. <A HREF="">The Lexus IS-F: A 200 mph top speed? Less than 1000 annually for the U.S.? </A>
For several years, I was fortunate to be able to score free subscriptions to AutoWeek simply by attending carmakers' driving events that the then-weekly, now twice-a-month magazine sponsored. As I read the January 22, 2007 issue's brief write-up on the Lexus IS-F from their 2007 Detroit Auto Show coverage, I was stunned to see that they claimed that "The car has a top speed of 200 mph...Toyota will build less than 1000 for the United States." It immediately became clear to me that, through sloppy editing, they'd ascribed these Lexus LF-A figures to the IS F. Thinking of the mass confusion (and unrealistic high hopes) those numbers would raise, I quickly wrote this article of clarification for the Front Page.

I never did find out whether or not AutoWeek published a retraction or correction note in a subsequent issue, but someone certainly noticed my article calling them out on it, and it appears as Reference #17 in <A HREF="">Wikipedia's article on the Lexus IS F</A>, along with a sentence that reads "The editor and representatives of a major Lexus IS enthusiast website with Lexus press access further suggested that AutoWeek's report may be referring to the LF-A supercar, which Lexus did indicate could reach 200 mph (320 km/h)." As a huge Wikipedia fan that's carried out a minor edit here and there, it was definitely a thrill to discover that my.IS and I were cited as a reputable and credible source.

19666. <A HREF="">Are these pictures of the new IS from England's CAR Magazine the real deal?</A>
Back in February 2005, anticipation for the 2nd-generation Lexus IS was building to a crescendo, and, on the 17th of that month, then site co-owner Steve Klein (jedi) posted <A HREF="">a Front Page story</A> on a not-particularly-remarkable rendering of what the next IS could look like, along with <A HREF="">a General Discussion forum thread</A> on the subject. Former Moderator Marc (tsopranoMB) spoke for a number of us when he said "Another 'rendering'? C'mon Steve, what's the point of this? Just wait another couple of weeks 'till the OFFICIAL word on Tuesday March 1st..."

At that point in time, it was rare for me to log on to IS300.NET on a Saturday or Sunday, but, for some odd reason, I did on Saturday 26 February and checked out that thread. There, on <A HREF="">Page 5</A>, was a post from aido, of the United Kingdom. In typically understated British fashion, he posted "OK guys, these pics are from a magazine called Car in the UK which has occasionally had pics of other cars before launch which were genuine....", followed by three scanned spreads from the magazine. My jaw dropped, and I knew that, by scanning his subscriber copy of Car magazine that he'd received earlier than the embargo date of Tuesday, March 1st, he and his friend AMH/Andy had handed us what was, for three days, a huge scoop.

The cat-and-mouse games didn't end as I hustled to write the brief Front Page article, for aido and Andy had, in a twinge of fear or remorse, taken down the pictures before I had a chance to download them, thus killing the whole purpose of that article. Fortunately, moderators Chris (ckolsen) and Josh (jiggafett), who had saved the pictures before they were taken down, came to the rescue and allowed us to feature this scoop after all.

184085. <A HREF="">The changes to the 2009 Lexus IS: What we know so far</A>
The typical summer doldrums of August leading up to the September/October launch of the bulk of the next model year's cars were particularly bad in 2008 as we awaited word on what, precisely, would be the changes to the 2nd-generation Lexus IS for its 2009 model year mid-term facelift. Slowly, information started trickling in, from Lexus magazine, then from scanned PDFs by a Canadian Club Lexus member and from an article on Kevin RE Watts' The Lexus Enthusiast blog. The tipping point, however, came from our own site, when a new member by the name of nyjinwoo, in his very first post, showed us a couple of very credible-looking (and, ultimately, very accurate) renderings of the facelift from a scanned brochure that appeared on a Korean website.

Throwing all this information together on a Front Page article that appeared on 13 August 2008 gave my.IS readers a strong indication of what was to come for the Lexus IS's facelift over a month ahead of Lexus' official announcement.

187364. <A HREF="">First photos of the 2009 Lexus IS facelift </A>
Sixteen days after our previous entry on our countdown came a very fitting sequel: another new my.IS member (kage), again linking to the same Korean website ( brought us exclusive pictures of the 2009 Lexus IS facelift ahead of its official release. Senior Moderator Al Geraci (Squareback) was mildly suspicious of the coincidental circumstances, commenting in jest, "Maybe they are not newbs after all. They are Moles infiltrating the boards doing alternative marketing strategies for Lexus. They are hired guns! WE ARE ON TO YOU!" Very well could be, but I still call it a win-win. My.IS gets to break the story before anyone else. I'm not complaining...

84163. <A HREF="">U.S. Lexus IS vs BMW 3-Series sales. How do they stand?</A>
Back around 2003 or so, many an Automotive News article referred to the fact that, in the United States, the BMW 3-Series outsold the Lexus IS by a 7-to-1 margin. By the time the 1st-generation Lexus IS 300 entered its final 2005 model year, this ratio had become 10-to-1 in favor of the BMW. In fact, 2005 Lexus IS 300s are so scarce in the U.S. that Consumer Reports has never been able to compile reliability data for its vaunted charts because there aren't enough of them around.

Coincidentally (or not?), the E90 BMW 3-Series and the 2nd-generation Lexus IS were launched together, at the 2005 Geneva Auto Show, and went on sale in the U.S. later that year, within a couple of months of each other. Soon, reports started to emerge of humongous, nearly 1000% increases in 2nd-generation U.S. Lexus IS sales. For months, I was intrigued to find out what the new BMW 3-Series-to-Lexus IS sales ratio was, but lazy procrastination led me to constantly put off this story. Then, one day around late July/early August 2006, former moderator EricK posted the January-June 2006 BMW 3-Series sales figures in a thread in The Garage. Pleasantly surprised by this coincidence, I sprang into action, visited the Lexus USA Pressroom site and got the corresponding January-June 2006 Lexus IS sales figures. Bottom line: a 929.7% increase in Lexus IS sales versus a 23.3% increase in BMW 3-Series sales meant that the 10-to-1 BMW sales lead has been whittled down dramatically, to a little over 2-to-1 (or 9-to-4, if you want to be more precise).

This story was, I believe, the first of my Front Page stories to catch AutoSpies' attention, and, since then, they have done writeups based on several of our stories. And how do BMW 3-Series-to-Lexus IS U.S. sales stand now, 3 years later? The 2008 calendar year ended with 112,464 BMW 3-Series sales versus 49,432 Lexus IS sales, again a bit over a 2-to-1 ratio in favor of the BMW. As for the first five months (January-May) of 2009, 34,525 BMW 3-Series sales versus 12,216 Lexus IS sales saw that ratio slip perilously close to 3-to-1 in favor of the BMW. More aggressive leasing and finance deals from BMW versus Lexus are believed to be a key factor in this. We must also remember that the plethora of BMW 3-Series variants compared to the Lexus IS gives the Bavarian carmaker an inherent advantage. The pendulum may swing back in Lexus' favor for the rest of 2009, however, with the thus far successful launch of the Lexus IS C retractable-hardtop convertible.

179852. <A HREF="">Yes, it's for real! The Lexus IS F goes racing!</A>
Just over a year ago, race car driver Robb Holland (my.IS member WC IS350 GT), whom I'd spoken to once or twice in the past, contacted me to send information on his latest endeavor: driving for the Speed World Challenge GT class DRC Team in one of two "Lexus IS GT F" racers. My friend and colleague Flipside909 dutifully copied-and-pasted Holland's original Press Release for <A HREF="">Club Lexus' Front Page story</A> that same day. To me, though, that Press Release begged for more background information and, after poking around some, came up with my own Front Page story a couple of days later (and, coincidentally, exactly a year ago to the day as I'm writing this). Sensing that this was a VERY significant story, I then proceeded to send a tip to Autoblog, a site that I've become a huge fan of.

As they, sure enough, picked up on the story, all hell broke loose on the local my.IS front. In my haste to get this story up without undue further delay, I totally missed the obvious (to a good number of people both here and on Autoblog) similarities of the "Lexus IS GT F" to the stillborn Team Lexus American Le Mans Series GT2S Lexus IS 350 racers that Chuck Goldsborough was once slated to race, as both the always well-informed lexusecutive and Leroy Alfred Taylor III (Apex84), Team Lexus' former Public Relations & Marketing Manager called Robb Holland out on his insistence at calling it an IS GT F when there really wasn't any F to it. And even their lively public exchange paled when compared to the barrage of Private Messages that I was fielding from all of them.

To his credit, Robb Holland was eventually more forthcoming with information in both <A HREF="">a thread on our Race Related forum</A> and in <A HREF="">my article on the DRC Motorsports Lexus IS's second and third race appearances</A>. Sadly, though, the DRC Motorsports Lexus IS racers, like the <A HREF="">Southard Motorsports</A> Lexus-powered Grand-Am Rolex Series Daytona Prototype team, did not compete in 2009, victims of the current harsh economic climate.

236421. <A HREF="">ISxx0C: The upcoming 2-door Lexus IS gets a name</A>
Like the 10th story in this countdown, this one came as a tip from Canadian moderator k3vo. Many pundits (myself included) believed that the first-ever 2-door Lexus IS variant would wear an IC prefix, but, as we learned in April 2008, the carmaker instead decided on a C suffix following the ISXX0 model name from its sedan counterpart. And, like our previous story, this one was picked up by Autoblog, and then spread like wildfire, even appearing on <A HREF="">Motor Trend magazine's Wide Open Throttle blog</A>, with my.IS, of course, credited as its source. Needless to say, it was a huge honor for us to be cited in one of the traditional "Big 4" U.S. general interest car magazines' websites.


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