SP Rides: Grip and Rip


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By Michael Kitchens

Owner: Skip Shibata
Age: 29
Occupation: Elevator mechanic
Hobbies: Working out, hanging out with friends
Year/Make/Model: 2008 Lexus ISF
Color: Sapphire Pearl White
Engine: K&N intake, PPE engineering headers, RMI intake scoops, Joe Z exhaust
Exterior: Seibon cf hood, Seibon cf fenders, Cf rear roof spoiler, Cf front grill, Cf b pillars, shaved emblems, shaved toe hooks on rear bumper, HID fog lights, Eurotech rear diffuser, cf trunk spoiler, rolled and pulled fenders
Suspension: Kw v3 coilovers, Stop tech brake pads, Stop tech steel braided brake lines, Dot 4 stop tech brake fluid, Raybestoes rotors, Toms front lower brace, Toms mid lower brace, Toms rear lower braces, Front upper tower bar, F sport rear sway bar, Figs Rear lower control arms
Interior: Jp silver fussa, blue interior lights
Wheels: Weds sa55m rims, G Sport 245/35/19 front 255/35/19 rear

Most people consider Lexus to be an all-out luxury brand with a bit of sport thrown in for good measure. The Lexus IS F stands out from the pack, designed by a special team led by the creator of the legendary Toyota Supra, Yukihiko Yaguchi. Built for speed, performance and handling, the car features a V8 with 416HP straight from the factory.

So when I first saw Skip Shibata step out of his ride, the V8 part immediately clicked with me. Skip is an elevator mechanic who has followed his family’s trade after a short stint as an engine mechanic in Arizona. Originally, he was into bumping sounds mainly in high school, but his daily-driven 1991 Honda hatchback that ran 10s on the quarter-mile cemented his love for performance.

After returning home at the age of 24, his friend (and also a salesman for Lexus) gave him a call to inform him about the recent release of the Lexus IS F.

“I guess he just wanted me to get it, so he was dropping hints,” Skip recalls. “And then one day I sent him a picture of it. I told him I was going to buy it, so I bought it.”

He just so happened to be working out when he received a text about the car’s release, so he went straight to the dealership and purchased the automobile. The dealership had to give Skip a double-take look, though, because he was still in his sweaty workout gear. Talk about a spur-of-the-moment purchase.

Skip had been planning to modify the car, but because of its relative newness, it took the parts companies a few years to catch-up. Skip did due diligence and began researching and purchasing the parts for the car. His first engine modification was a K&N short ram intake with PPE Engineering Headers and RMI intake scoops. He credits Revision Audio for parts with Tech 1 providing the bodywork on the mods that followed.

Skip picked up his next mod by default, after a slight altercation with a van. He decided to pick up the Seibon carbon fiber fenders. The carbon fiber hood came soon after. He then secured the gorgeous set of Weds sa55m rims with blue insets featuring G Sport 245/35/19s front and 255/35/19s in the rear.  They look absolutely wicked and are dropped on adjustable KW V3 coilovers.

In fact, the car’s performance is centered primarily in the handling department. With an already impressive engine sitting in the bay, the ride features Toms front, mid and rear lower braces, a front upper tower bar, F sport rear sway bar and Figs rear lower control arms. The car’s entire braking system has been given a total overhaul featuring Stoptech brake pads, steel braided brake lines and Raybestos rotors.

In addition to the above modifications, Skip has an entire list of parts already installed, but he intends to continue the build. Some of them include installing his carbon fiber trunk, Figs rear upper control and toe arms, a Walls front lip and Toms map sensor.

“I want the best of both worlds. I want to be able to grip that road and rip those turns,” he says. “It’s all about power-to-weight.”