Aoshima 1/24 Toyota JZS 147 Aristo (Lexus GS 300)

KIT #: 030288
PRICE: $18.45 on sale at GreatModels ($36.95 SRP)
DECALS: One option
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES:

Curbside

HISTORY

Styled by the famous Italdesign Giugiaro firm, and equipped with an independent, double-wishbone suspension setup, the Toyota Aristo was launched in October 1991, offering two inline-6 powered versions for the Japanese market: the 3.0Q and 3.0V. The Aristo 3.0Q (codename JZS147) featured a 2JZ-GE engine which produced 226 hp (169 kW), while the Aristo 3.0V (JZS147) was equipped with a 24-valve twin-turbo 2JZ-GTE engine which produced 276 hp (205 kW). This twin-turbo engine was the same as could be found in the Toyota Supra RZ (JZA80). In 1992, a third model, the V8-powered 4.0Zi-Four (codename UZS143), joined the Aristo lineup. This model came with standard four-wheel drive and a 250 hp (186 kW) 1UZ-FE engine. This V8 had also been used in the first generation Lexus LS and the Toyota Crown Majesta. However, the only engine available for export markets was the 2JZ-GE inline-6.

Production of the Lexus GS 300 (JZS147) began on February 22, 1993 at the Tahara, Japan assembly plant. At the time, the GS represented the latest advancement of Tahara production technology, with only eight spot welds performed by hand. The rest, some 4,200 welds, were performed by robots. Italdesign Giugiaro's exterior styling blended elements of the original LS flagship and SC performance coupe in a rounded, aerodynamic shape, complementing the rest of the Lexus lineup. The vehicle adopted a wedge-like shape with high rear decklid, and longer and wider proportions than competing vehicles. The exterior shape of the original GS produced a drag coefficient of 0.31 Cd. Offered color schemes included single-tone bumper and body finishes, along with dual-tone schemes.

As Lexus' first rear-wheel drive sports sedan, the GS was placed above the front-wheel drive ES luxury sedan with its superior drivetrain setup, power and available amenities. The 3.0-liter 2JZ-GE inline-6 producing up to 226 hp (169 kW) and 210 lbft (285 Nm) of torque served as the powerplant. According to reviewer testing, 060 acceleration times for the GS 300 were clocked at slightly over nine seconds.

For the interior, the GS 300 featured walnut wood trim on the center console, leather seating, an automatic tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, and the option of a Nakamichi premium stereo system. Driver and front passenger airbags were standard. A moonroof, remote 12-CD auto changer, and traction control (TRAC - left hand drive vehicles only) were options.

The GS was intended to take the price position of the original LS 400 flagship, which had moved upmarket since its 1989 launch. By the time of the GS 300's debut, the $35,000 initial base price of the LS had climbed to $47,000. The GS 300 carried an initial manufacturer's suggested U.S. base price of $37,930 at its debut. However, sales of the GS 300 were modest, with 1993 seeing the greatest sales at 19,164 sold that year. Sales dropped in later years as the Japanese yen rose in value against the dollar and made the vehicle more expensive than its rivals. Additionally, more powerful V8 sport sedans provided stiff competition. By 1997, the price of the GS 300 had risen to $46,195. Production of the first generation GS sedan ended in 1996.

THE KIT

 As you can guess from the history section, this is the Japanese first generation car. Interestingly, this kit is part of a series of what I guess one would call low riders as the kit comes with bling wheels and the ability to have the chassis pretty much on the ground, or darn close to it.

Aoshima has had excellent detail and molding on its more recent kits (this is a 2002 mold). It is a curbside and comes with a one piece body that does not provide the option to have the hood open as there is nothing to be seen. A single piece interior tub is also provided with separate front seats and inside door panels. There is also a separate instrument panel, steering column and wheel to be installed. Instruments are provided as decals.

The chassis has most of the engine detail molded in place. The dual exhaust with mufflers are a separate piece. There are separate front and rear suspension pieces that are quite sturdy. This is because both front and rear wheel assemblies can be adjusted for height or toe-out. There are no stock tires and wheels so you will have to use the ones shown on the box art.

Interestingly, there are two clear sprues. One is the standard sprue with a single piece windscreen/windows and separate headlight covers and a tail light piece among the major bits. The other is a clear green, though only the window piece is supposed to be used.

Instructions are well drawn with Gunze paint references. It is all in Japanese so you will have to rely on the diagrams when it comes to building the kit. This should prove to be no problem for most builders, especially as this one is a particularly basic kit. About the only issues will be deciphering what the various paint colors are, but there are charts on the web that will help with this.  

CONCLUSIONS

An interesting model of a four door luxury sedan that, while perhaps not to everyone's taste, will make into a striking model depending on how it is painted.  

REFERENCES

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toyota_Aristo

March 2012

I got this one on sale at GreatModels where there are great sales every week.

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