We don't only feature fully modified vehicles in NZ Performance Car magazine — the mildly modified get a look in too! It doesn't matter what it is, if you're passionate about it, modify it, and drive it to work every day, we'll showcase it. 

Owner: Alex Brown  
Location: Auckland
Occupation: Owner of Moonlight Racing
Make/model: 1999 Lexus GS300
Engine: Factory 2JZ-GE, Aimgain rear mufflers
Drivetrain: Factory
Interior: LED interior lighting, leather and woodgrain trim
Exterior: Moonlight front lip, Moonlight side skirts, Aimgain rear bumper, boot lip, roof wing, wide-vented front fenders, wide custom-metal rear fenders, tinted windows, satin pearl-white wrap, LED tail lights
Suspension: Yellow Speed Racing Dynamic Pro Sport coilovers, Megan Racing rear lower-control arms
Wheels/tyres: (F) 19x10-inch (+34) Weds Kranze Bazreia, (R) 19x10-inch (-1) Weds Kranze Bazreia

NZ Performance Car: Hey Alex, we don’t see too many vehicles modified in the VIP scene in New Zealand. What made you go down this path?

Alex Brown: Hey team, thanks for the opportunity. In the industry I’m involved in I get to see a huge variety of builds, and I’ve noticed the VIP luxury side was seriously lacking. There are a few builds here and there, but not really enough to be on the radar in general. So I thought, why not? It may have been a recent trip to Japan that cemented it for me though, as their VIP builds are next level. 

Out of all of the options for a VIP build, you chose a Lexus GS300, why was that?

I heard a saying ‘GS300s are the Honda Civic of the VIP world’. I think this is quite true, as they’re relatively cheap to purchase, parts are plentiful, and there is a huge support in Japan and America for these cars. They’re often where people start off in the VIP world — as I have. 

Tell us more about the suspension set-up in the Lexus, how did you get it so low? 

The suspension is Yellow Speed Racing, and even at this height it rides like a dream. In the rear, I have used Megan Racing lower-control arms to assist with the alignment as well. I do have a few more modifications planned in the front end to help with handling, but otherwise there’s nothing much to it. 

What was the reason for not going airbagged, and will you in future?

Primarily the cost. I would love to go with air, but it’s quite an investment. If I were to do it again from scratch I’d probably go with air right away, or find a car with factory air and modify that. For this car though, I don’t think I’ll ever go air. 

It looks as though the body has been modified a fair bit, what exactly has been done to it? 

The rear fenders have been custom flared by a friend of mine, and the front fenders were the same until someone crashed into the GS300. After that happened, I purchased the vented FRP fenders you see on the car today. Aside from that, it’s simple bolt-on parts. It’s very easy to find aero for these cars, which is good, because the front lip regularly gets ‘modified’ by the ground. 

Thanks for your time Alex, we look forward to seeing what you come up with next!

Not a problem, I appreciate it. I would like to thank everyone who has assisted along the way: Damo for the fender work, Big Brown for the satin pearl-white wrap, and the entire Moonlight crew for the help and motivation.

René Vermeer

Dutch, French, or just a Kiwi, René isn’t quite sure, but he does know he has a passion for Japanese vehicles like no other. A well-seasoned Gran Turismo player dating back to his single-digit days, René has a comprehensive knowledge of a wide range of performance vehicles and has owned more than 30 performance cars here in New Zealand, ranging from Nissans to Hondas. A lover of photography, you’ll find him either peeping under someone’s bonnet to snap a detailed shot, or on the side of the racetrack, perfecting his panning.