Toyota went a little crazy with its sports cars in the 1990s. They had the Supra MK4, Celica, Mark II, MR2, Soarer, and several more models with sports trims. In fact, even the JZX lineup featured the Chaser, Cresta, Mark II, and later the Verossa. With so many sports cars, a few certainly slipped between the cracks, especially since import restrictions make owning some models impossible.
One such model, the JZX100 Chaser, just became available for import in September 2021. That import date covers the 1996 models, which finally turned 25 and cleared restrictions. Finally, the Chaser JZX100 can make it stateside, but with the popularity of rare JDM imports, expect prices to rise quickly. At present, a Chaser JZX100 will run between $10,000 and $15,000.
Toyota ultimately produced the Chaser in various trim options, but by the JZX100 model, the primary focus was on the sporty Tourer and the luxurious Avante trims. Some trim options even featured AWD in place of the standard RWD setup familiar to Chaser owners.
Like the Skyline GT-R, Supra Turbo, Lancer Evo, and WRX STI, the Chaser JZX100 fell under the Gentleman's Agreement. This agreement saw restrictions to the maximum horsepower, limiting output to only 276 ponies and an electronically controlled top speed of 155 MPH. And just like the competition, the Chaser JZX100 could outperform the specs on paper.
Joining classic '90s JDM styling, these are the best features of the Chaser JZX100, making it a stand-out option for import!
The Toyota Chaser JZX100 Shares An Engine With The Supra
The Supra is well known for its beautiful 2.5L inline-six with twin-turbos, capable of an estimated 300 horsepower. What's not so well-known is that the same 1JZ-GTE engine that powers the Supra to greatness also powers the JZX100 Chaser, but for much less. In fact, the Chaser and Supra share a couple of engines, most notably the 1JZ-GTE and the 2JZ-GT engines.
The 1JZ-GTE powered Toyotas for three generations, with the last generation ditching the twin-turbo design for a single turbo unit. This improvement was possible because of the inclusion of multi-point direct injection with 24 valves per cylinder. Further enhancements came within the powerband, which delivered torque at a lower RPM than previous generation 1JZ engines.
As with most JDM cars, the JZX100 Chaser is a front-engine vehicle. This RWD drift machine came in either a four-speed auto or a five-speed manual. On paper, the JZX100 produces 276 horsepower at 6,200 RPMs. Further, torque was improved to 275 lb-ft at a lower 1,400 RPMs compared to the previous X90 Chaser.
Though these bad boys have an auto option, many have swapped transmissions for the manual to increase control. Regardless, the several engine options, including a diesel variant, mean plenty of opportunities for modifications. For purists, though, the connection to the Supra is priceless.
The Toyota Chaser JZX100: Bolt-On Modifications Are Easy, Making The Chaser A Drift Machine
Crafting the perfect drift machine is a matter of personal preference. Some love the styling of Nissan's Z lineup. Others prefer the elegance of the MX-5 Miata roadster vibe. Whatever the feeling, the Chaser JZX100 is like many JDM counterparts in that it has plenty of aftermarket part selection.
Various bolt-on parts such as oil coolers, larger radiators, intercoolers, and turbos are easy to install. These parts also add significant power upgrades, with examples pushing upwards of 500 horsepower. Additionally, ECU tuners bring everything together in a convenient package, proving Toyota intentionally created the JZX100 to be modified.
The Chaser JZX100 doesn't just compete with JDM cars, and the aggressive stance shows similarities in handling with its European counterparts, such as the BMW E46. Each has a short wheelbase of 107-inches, only the Chaser is a tenth of an inch longer than the BMW E46. Many consider this aggressive styling to be aesthetically pleasing, with some even taking the stance wider through body kits.
In addition to the ease of modifying the JZX100, the Chaser has bulletproof reliability. It also has a notably more robust gearbox when compared to Nissan's sports cars. Plus, the significant torque and RWD configuration give the Chaser JZX100 its best feature - easy and often drifting.
The Toyota Chaser JZX100: Luxury Options Make An Old Car Feel New
JDM sports cars, like sports cars from Europe or the U.S., are cramped. Toyota's MR2, Celica, and Supra are famous for tight passenger quarters, lack of back seats, and skimpy cargo areas. The Chaser JZX100 is a compelling exception to this rule. It seats five, and the larger body styling makes for a somewhat roomy ride.
To create an even more enjoyable ride, the Chaser JZX100 comes with several standard luxury features. For the 90s, air conditioning, power windows, and keyless entry commanded top dollar. Additionally, the button-controlled traction control and ABS allow greater control during hardcore drifting sessions, yet mainly were unheard of for the time.
Toyota focused on the Touring and Avante trims; however, other fantastic trim options offered even more luxury for the day. For example, the TRD variant sported premium TRD badging, seats, and racing tuned suspension. It included a rear wing to complete the styling that could go toe-to-toe with any JDM rival.
Further, the Chaser JZX100 featured leather-wrapped steering wheels, power steering, and fine velour cloth seats for a touch of retro 90s flair. There is little doubt that the Chaser JZX100 drips with features, and even the best parts are really come together well. Despite some minor issues, the Chaser continues a solid trend of JDM sports cars, and we're excited this baby is finally ready for import!