10/28/2011—Next week, the automotive industry will converge on Las Vegas for the four-day SEMA auto show, and Lexus, as always, will be representing in full force. Among this year’s Lexus project cars is Five Axis’s modifications to the new 2013 GS F SPORT. (Lexus will also showcase the new production-model GS F SPORT at the show.)
Naturally, we wanted Lexus fans to meet the man behind the project car modifications, so guest blogger Kevin Watts from The Lexus Enthusiast weblog sat down with Five Axis president Troy Sumitomo to learn more about the changes.
Kevin Watts: So what was it like working with the new 2013 GS?
Sumitomo: The only early exposure I had to the car was really the LF-Gh concept that was unveiled in New York last spring. I didn’t see the production model until we actually got it to work on. It was interesting to see the transition from the concept to the production.
Five Axis has done a series of different Lexus project cars—did you try to bring anything over from previous project cars, specifically your previous Project GS?
We always start by looking at what the base vehicle is all about, what the overall look is, what the market is—every car is unique in its own way. We choose our modifications accordingly.
The new GS is definitely not like the old GS—it’s a completely different vehicle—but we took a similar approach to the previous Project GS in the sense that we didn’t go super-aggressive like with the IS F a couple years back. The IS F was completely about performance, where as the GS is more of a touring luxury sedan.
I noticed that the front bumper is blacked out. Was that a nod to the LF-Gh concept?
The new Lexus styling language is all about the front end. People call it a spindle design, where it’s pinched in the middle. That’s really the graphic statement—it’s definitely the most noticeable in the new GS, but even looking at the CT, you have that styling language. We wanted to keep that accentuation, and the best way to give the impression of that graphic shape is to black the bumper out.
Looks great—I love the look. Tell us about the StopTech Big Brake Kit you installed?
We’re using the larger IS F StopTech brakes; they’re cross-drilled with the front using six pistons and the back using four pistons. Visually they are very aggressive.
What can you tell me about the FIVE:AD S5:F alloy wheels?
The S5:F has become our iconic wheel—it’s classy yet sporty with its aggressive dished face. We feel it was a perfect complement to the design lines of the new GS.
So for the exterior color, you went with “Glacier White”...
Yes, unlike the matte paint on some of our other cars, like the Project IS F and previous Project GS, we wanted to make a real pure statement with this car—the cold white is extremely clean, and with the dark graphics, it gives a very Lexus look to the vehicle.
Having been to some of the European auto shows, I find that it’s always nice when you see nothing but white cars—you’re not really depending so much on the color to tell the story, but instead rely on the pure shape, the design lines of the vehicle.
Did you do anything to customize the interior?
Yes, we added a textural element that has a nice technical yet fashion-forward look—it’s kind of checkered with very small squares—and we used it on the seat inserts and the doors. It gives the interior a little more of that sport flare, without being over-the-top crazy.
The GS already has a rich interior, with that wide display up in the front and strong horizontal lines. We didn’t want to change much but rather complement the already strong design.
What were you inspired by when you were creating the Project GS?
We concentrated on subtle enhancements—a more aggressive look, like a high-performance European sedan—but the main focus on the new GS is the driver’s experience, so we wanted to appeal to that. We wanted people to see it and think, “I want to drive that car!”
—KEVIN WATTS, THE LEXUS ENTHUSIAST
 Vehicle(s) shown may feature optional equipment.
 Vehicle shown is a special project car, modified with non-Genuine Lexus parts and accessories. Modification with these non-Genuine Lexus parts or accessories will void the Lexus warranty, may negatively impact vehicle performance and safety, and may not be street legal.