My name is Megan and I drive a 1998 Toyota Soarer, also known as the S.S Land Yacht. You can call me CrewChief!
Growing up I was always infatuated with cars and the community behind it all. I have fond memories of classic car shows and long drives with the top down. When it came down to me picking my first car, I only had the information I’ve gathered from others around the time and those who I put trust into. I ended up going down a long rabbit hole of unreliability, sketchy shops, debt, and being taken advantage of. Which is definitely something I wouldn’t wish on any fellow enthusiast.
Now you all know the saying, “you are what you surround yourself with”, or “you only know what you’ve experienced”. These are 2 very important statements to take into consideration when getting into the car scene yourself. The most important thing is to find someone, or a good group of people who are like-minded, push you to do better, and gain more experience.
After meeting the Streetlight Productions team, that’s where my real journey began.
When it came down to picking a car for myself, I had to keep a few things in mind. One being that 2-door coupes are superior, two being the fact that automatic transmissions are my safe place, three being that it had to be reliable, and four being that it had to be right-hand drive.
Along came a bone stock black on black 1998 Z31 Toyota Soarer with the 2JZ-GE VVT-I engine. I had to have it.
This car was the perfect platform for me to start fresh, modify it the way I truly wanted, and fall in love with cars again. I very soon took my car on the autocross pad and began learning how it drives, handles, and where I can improve things! I truly believe this is how the process of modifications should happen. It’s important to understand why you are changing or upgrading parts, how suspension components work and what set up is best for your platform, etc etc.
That brings us to the good part and how my beauty sits today.
The Soarers are very heavy and long cars so it’s crucial to find a good set of springs or coilovers that will handle that, not be too stiff, or too sloppy so it feels stock. I went from Tokico struts and springs to a full set of Tein Superstreet coilovers. This enabled me to lower the car further and have better control when driving -it can be difficult to maneuver a boat through tight corners.
Next up, a complete bushing upgrade!
I’ve kept the engine completely stock for now. It’s been the most reliable car for the 3, almost 4 years I’ve owned it so maintenance has been key, and a learning experience. Thank you to the amazing friends I have now, we were able to completely tear down the front end and replace all of the timing components, water pump, tensioner, pulleys, front main seals, those pesky cam seals, the valve cover gasket, and upgrade the cracking plastic radiator to an aluminum Mishimoto one.
The hardware in the engine bay has been swapped to true-burned titanium pieces by Dress Up Bolts. They sure add a nice pop of colour under the hood! I’ve also swapped out the plastic undertray to a lightweight aluminum version made by Z30 Concepts to protect the goods against the pavement.
Interior wise, I’ve kept it almost completely stock besides the steering wheel setup and a double-din stereo.
Now onto the fun stuff – the exterior!
Thanks to Ish at R/T Tires & Wheels, I was able to find my dream wheels. The Soarer is now sitting on 18″ x 8.5″ 3-piece Enkei Ribeas in the front and Belzanos in the rear, wrapped in sticky Zestino Gredge 07R rubber.
The exhaust managed to gain a nice little rumble with a simple resonator delete and addition of 2 neochrome muffled tips that angle nicely out of the rear bumper!
After unfortunately being hit in a parking lot a few months back, the car had to be taken in to get it’s front bumper replaced, but this ended up being a small blessing in disguise!
I took this time to re-evaluate where I want this car to be and how I want it to look as it was a completely blank slate. Since the bumper had to be taken off anyways I figured it was time to put a nice Ikon front lip on there, side skirts that I acquired from a parts Soarer I had were paint-matched and put on, and then came the spoiler. The crème-de-la-crème of 90’s JDM body kit parts – the AbFlug V1 rear wing. A huge thank you to Jeff Shantz at Kirmac Collision Walnut Grove for taking such good care of my baby and making her look absolutely stunning!
I’m absolutely humbled to have gone through this journey and have met the people I have today. The team at Streetlight Productions has become my family and I encourage each and every one of you to find people that push you to do better.
As a gearhead, you know this can’t be it, there is always more to do. Are you ready for another drastic change?