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Jan 5, 2013

Photography By: Sean Bradford

Words By: Jess Kang

Dressed in Blue: Jan Martin Villano’s Prestigious 2001 Lexus GS430

VIP Lexus GS

“I have always envisioned my car to be the best I can get it to.” Jan Martin Villanos, known simply as “Martin”, described what he has always conceived of his first vehicle that will carry the signature VIP features. Making the best of something is what Martin can implement on himself. As a corpsman in the U.S. Navy, Martin’s career is one not easily feasible by just anyone. In charge of mobilizing reservists and sending them overseas for their mission, Martin’s work involves making sure whoever is putting their lives on the line for the country are both mentally and physically qualified for the job. In 2006, Martin was based in Atlanta, Georgia and despite his love for his Toyota AE86, he knew he needed a reliable, daily-driven vehicle that would take him wherever the Navy would and combined with his earnest automotive hobby, it resulted in this alluring Lexus GS430.

VIP Lexus GS (1)

VIP Lexus GS (2)

In search of the perfect platform to start on his VIP build, Martin’s requirements were simple: black cherry pearl exterior, black interior, and a V8. Shortly after researching and spotting out ads, a 2001 Lexus GS430 which had already been slightly modified was shipped to Martin all the way from Texas. Because of his unpredictable travels, functionality was his first priority so Martin kept the car as manageable as he could with a few minor accessories added on. It wasn’t until 2010 that Martin initiated his own personal touches to the car and began mentally testing out what his GS was capable of. When the funds became available, so was its potential.

VIP Lexus GS (3)

VIP Lexus GS (4)

VIP Lexus GS (5)

Prior to Martin’s latest wheel setup, the GS430 sat beautifully on the discontinued Junction Produce Scaras. The diamond cut face and polished lip finish gleamed along the solid, dark complexion of the car and we don’t blame him for keeping them on for almost three years. But because of the mildly aggressive offset, Martin had them shipped out to California to be rebuilt and refinished to a high polish. Keeping this timeless set aside, Martin hopes to use them once again some day… or place them among his home decor.

VIP Lexus GS (6)

VIP Lexus GS (7)

After consecutive years of displaying the same set up on his car, Martin knew it was time for a change. Chasing after the idea of settling the body lower but with considerably more aggressive fitment, Martin decisively parted the GS430 and the Scaras and opted for the illimitable Work Ryver Touring wheels. The measurements are situated at 18×9.5 +8 with a 4″ lip in the front, 18×10.5 -4 with a 5″ lip in the rear, and -6 degrees of camber all around. As flawless as these numbers sounds, Martin is already punching figures and planning on a wider set up, adding an inch or two on each lip.

VIP Lexus GS (8)

VIP Lexus GS (9)

VIP Lexus GS (10)

When asked about his suspension, there was an elephant lingering around in the room. VIP builds usually involve air suspension, something Martin’s GS430 opted against. Instead of judging this as a flaw, however, Martin reflects on his personal satisfaction of driving the car at the same height as it is parked, something many of us in the community can respect. Martin is currently running on BC Racing Extreme Drop coilovers with 20k in the front and 18k in the rear, helping his ride stay as smooth and bearable as it can possibly be. When asked if he would ever consider having an air suspension, he smirked and replied, “Maybe?”

VIP Lexus GS (11)

Sporting backyard, self-pulled fenders to fit the super wide Works, and a TTE lip that has survived various encounters with animals as well as unfortunate roads across the US, the body of the car was not in excellent shape. It wasn’t until Martin had a fender bender (or as he would humorously pronounce it “fendor bendor” in his Filipino accent) that he took the opportunity to spend some time and money into subtle but noticeable exterior modifications. He called Dreamakers Kustoms in New York and went to work right away. Other than fixing the damage, which was surprisingly extensive for such a small bump, both front and rear fenders were smoothed out and pulled professionally to accommodate the upcoming 1″ lip increase with his new Work wheels.

VIP Lexus GS (12)

VIP Lexus GS (13)

Some other delicate modifications included a 2007-2009 Mercedes Benz E350 Sport front bumper. Different but illusive to the eye, this was the perfect fit for both Martin and his GS. The top half of the GS bumper was molded to the bottom half of the E-class bumper and fit so the bottom corner aligned nicely with the OEM GS skirts. The chrome trim around the front bumper has been replaced by the dual chrome bumper protectors on the Benz. Corner lights have been shaved off and filled and the GS was re-sprayed the rich and glossy Black Cherry Pearl. When it came to his exterior, Martin emphasized small details, the kind that give it an more unique and appealing aesthetic touch.

VIP Lexus GS (14)

VIP Lexus GS (15)

“I got what I wanted: a V8, so I didn’t feel the need to play around too much under the hood. It already drives beautifully.” As mentioned before, Martin with his Navy career and his devotion to cars, resulted in something that will be cherished for a lifetime. When you look under his hood, it’s not a crazy tuck or intake that takes your breath away. Martin’s engine cover is signed from all of his friends from Atlanta where he was based with autographs, little messages, and even drawings. Now that he is back with his family on the East coast, his friends from home have done the same. What may seem like child’s play is undeniably heart-warming and sentimental, as Martin is always traveling and leaving friends and family for long periods of time. With his GS430 taking him wherever duty calls, he can take a little piece of everyone he loves with him on the road.

VIP Lexus GS (16)

VIP Lexus GS (17)

It is obvious how the title “Dressed in Blue” applies to Martin and his courageous career, but many of you may be wondering how the title applies to Martin’s car. When researching the definition of blue, it symbolizes depth, stability, masculinity and power: all factors that doubtlessly bestows his GS430. When a driver as loyal and bold opens his door and posters himself behind the steering wheel, it is certain that his car maintain his characteristics and devoted qualities. The team here at Canibeat would like to reach out a hand and thank Jan Martin Villanos for what he does for the safety of our country. And you, sir, have an awesome ride.

VIP Lexus GS (18)

VIP Lexus GS (19)

Editor: cristian loza