Introduction to the Toyota Chaser JZX100The Toyota Chaser Tourer V is a manual transmission, rear wheel drive saloon (sedan) with a turbo. You could consider it as a saloon version of the Toyota Supra. The Chaser featured in the Japanese Touring Car Championship and for some reason a lot of them have ended up as drift cars!
Introduced in 1977 and retired in 2001, even the youngest Chaser may be too old to warrant serious consideration by today’s Japanese import car buyer. I’ve decided to include the Chaser because I think they look great and they have the ever appealing combination of front engine, rear wheel drive, manual transmission and a turbo. That’s quite a few boxes ticked already for many people!
The JZX100 was the last version of the Chaser and was produced between 1996 and 2001.
Engine & transmission
The engine we’re interested in here is Toyota’s 1JZ-GTE: a 2.5 litre, straight six, 24 valve VVTi beauty with a CT15B turbocharger. It produces 280 horsepower and 280 lb.ft torque. The older version of this engine came with twin turbos, but the single turbo version is the better choice – increased fuel efficiency without a reduction in power.
The car weighs just under 1500 kg, giving a power to weight figure of 189 hp/tonne – not too shabby even by today’s standards.
This engine is available in rear wheel drive only (other engines are available with 4WD) linked to a 5 speed manual or 4 speed automatic transmission.
There are 3 other lower powered petrol engine options and even a diesel option.
The car has double wishbone independent suspension all round with anti roll/sway bars.
Toyota Chaser trim levels
I’m just going to focus on the trim options available with the 1JZ-GTE engine – this is the one (almost) everyone wants!
My choice would be the TRD sports edition, with factory TRD (Toyota Racing Development) body kit. This version may come with numerous other TRD options but these didn’t come as a package and could be specified individually by the original purchaser.
Continuing to other trim levels, honourable mentions based on their names alone, go to the Tourer V Grand Package and Tourer V Exciting Package.
What do you get with these levels? With a name like ‘Exciting Package’ does it matter? OK.
- Power steering.
- Leather steering wheel.
- Height and reach adjustable steering column.
- Full seat belts for all 3 rear seat passengers.
- Driver, passenger & side airbags.
- Traction control (probably a good idea if you’re not ready for a drift battle, although easily switched off if you are).
- Automatic air conditioning.
- Electric windows.
- Rear privacy glass.
- 16 inch alloys.
- Wood trim (optional).
- Swinging front air vent flaps (optional). Like on air conditioning units in buildings.
- Sunroof (optional).
- Toyota’s finest blue diagonal striped velour cloth seats. If you’ve owned an imported Toyota from the 90s before you’ll know what I mean.
Reasons to buy
- Classic purposeful Japanese saloon car styling.
- Decent performance and reliability, rear wheel drive and manual transmission. I can’t comment on how they drive as I don’t have personal experience of this, but everything I read and see is complimentary.
- You want to go drifting.
Reasons not to buy
- You’ll struggle to find one that hasn’t been modified (this might also be a reason to buy, depending on your perspective and the skill of the person who did the modifying).
- They are getting expensive, especially the manual transmission cars. You’d have to be really keen to have one of these at the prices they are selling for now.