10/31/2013—Last summer, as you may recall, Lexus announced it would do something a little different for this year’s SEMA auto show.
We’re just a few days away from the SEMA contest car reveal—the final, life-size manifestation of Lexus fan Rob Evan’s winning Lexus IS design. As you can see from the video, building the actual car has been quite the journey (not to mention fun: who thought of the idea to raise and lower the car with an iPhone?)
It’s important to remember where this all started, though—a Lexus fan’s vision, posted to an online contest. Here, Evans, a self-described “creative catch-all,” explains his thinking behind the winning design:
“I essentially wanted do something aggressive, and throughout the process, I considered some of the fantasy concepts I’ve seen at SEMA. I also personally love the Japanese VIP car scene, which calls for big wheels, wide bodies, and exaggerated aero features—I definitely wanted to play off of that.
So right away, stance was huge. I wanted to get the wheels as far out on the body as possible, and as big and close to the fenders as possible. Think flat and ridiculously low.
The wheels are my design—they’re somewhat inspired by a popular brand of aftermarket wheel called Volk, which comes from Japan. They’re a super-deep-dish wide wheel, so huge there’s almost no tire there. I went with bronze to achieve a nice contrast to the car’s body color, which is somewhere between silver and white.
For styling, I knew I wanted to keep the Lexus design language, but exaggerate it to an extreme level. My starting point was the spindle grille. It’s such a dramatic design element—a giant mouth. So I decided to give the car some muscle to back that up.
If I had to pick my favorite single element, I’d say the wide-body front fender. I’m really happy with how it came out. The front bumper is what I expected would be the most daunting element for Clark Ishihara, the builder, with the way that it retains those stock elements, but with the exaggerated side intakes. But he pulled it off beautifully.”
Look for the vehicle’s full reveal at the 2013 SEMA auto show on November 5.
—BRIAN GILL AND CLARK HEIDEGER
 Show vehicle. Not street legal. Modifications made by a third party with non-genuine Lexus parts that void the warranty and may impact performance and safety.