Now for anyone knows me I’m pretty much a self-confessed drift geek and proud of it too. I love the history of drifting, the people who defined what it is today, and the cars that made it so cool to watch in the first place. There’s something about the style and driving of those early years when drifting was taking off in Japan that, in my eyes, just isn’t around anymore.
On the Outsiders tour I was fortunate enough to get up and close with some of my favourite cars in drifting; one of those is Tsuyoshi Tezuka’s Kids Heart Toyota JZX81 Mark II.
For fans of drifting in the early 2000s and massive Toyotas, this car is an icon. With it’s big power, big looks, and Tezuka’s driving style, it defintely left it’s mark on drifting. The car ran in D1GP from 2001 until Tezuka got on board with Bee☆R and started driving the also iconic Bee☆R R324 Skyline in 2005.
I’ve loved this car ever since I got interested in drifting and the chance to finally see it in person was a dorky dream come true. The car has been sat with a dead engine for god knows how long and it’s starting to look a little sorry for itself. Despite that it’s still a rediculously cool car and I couldn’t help but take a few photographs.
I always forget how big cars in the JZX family are, and the Kids Heart JZX81 is even more chunky thanks to it’s Dart Izumi Destructive King front bumper, Hipposleek sideskirts, and rear bumper. Destructive King is also quite possibly the best name I’ve ever heard for a front bumper.
Unless things have changed in the past few years, under the faded carbon hood sits a 2JZ-GTE with a Trust T78 turbo that produces a whopping 530HP; Tezuka likes big displacement and big power!
The car sits nicely on a set of rare Kei Office TD6 wheels thanks to a set of even rarer Kei Office coilovers.
Classic D1 style liveries never get old.
Speaking of liveries, while I was looking around the back I noticed there was a little signature underneath the right rear light. The car was painted by a bodyshop called White River which is located pretty much at the other end of Japan in Kumamoto City. White River have a history of building some seriously cool JZX81s as well.
Getting to see Tezuka’s JZX81 in person was easily one big tick off my “drift related things to do before I die” list. I can only dream about doing a full photoshoot, but clambering around the front of Kids Heart squeezing between other cars trying to get pictures was good enough for me. I really hope one day the engine is replaced and Tezuka get’s this amazing car back out on the circuit.
– Daniel Bridle