What is a game changer? Webster’s Dictionary defines the term as a person who is a visionary, a person who is poised to change the entire scope of their field with their actions. A lot of people have claimed that their builds are going to change the game… Hell, people have been screaming it since the game started. However, I feel Matt Tom’s Lexus could very well be the game changer everyone has been waiting for so long. That fresh new taste everyone has been yearning. A new breed of VIP is coming with Matt at the helm.
Take your typical idea of VIP and multiply it by fifty. Matt has taken his time to go over the top with every inch of this build. Though on paper, it sounds like a heinous idea, in person, this car exudes a glittering ray of originality and crystal covered class that in my eyes is, to date at least, unmatched by any car in our vast and ever expanding sub culture, but we’ll let Matt take it from here.
Matt : My name’s Matt, and this is my 2011 Lexus CT 200h. Grew up tinkering with cars, but more on the general maintenance side; changing oil, brakes, etc, and just some good old fashioned wrenchin’ with my dad. This is actually the first vehicle that I’ve modified, ever.
I got started in the stance scene around August of 2011, after meeting various people involved in the scene and attending all sorts of meets and shows. I had no idea you could modify a vehicle in so many different ways. What caught my eye the most was VIP styling. All of the luxurious touches and attention to detail was what got my creative juices flowing and I immediately wanted to do my car in the same way, hence, a VIP-inspired build was born.
I spent the next three months getting the car ready for its debut at ToyotaFest 2012. This was also the time when I started Swarovski Crystal-lizing the exterior, wheels, and interior surfaces, ultimately finishing with roughly 30,000-32,000 Swarovski Crystals total today, each laid-out one-by-one by me.
The CT 200h hit a lot of “first” milestones, only because the car was so new to the market and a lot of people just weren’t that interested in modifying it. It’s the first to have the full Aimgain body kit from Japan. First to have Air Runner’s air suspension with Accuair E-Level air management system. And the first CT to have SSR Professor MS3 wheels. It wasn’t easy, and I had to really plan out everything and do my research because there just weren’t that many aftermarket parts for this vehicle. The 5×100 bolt pattern on the wheels just added to the headache and frustration. But in the end, I can honestly say that I built this car with my own two hands, which has got to be the most awesome feeling ever. Oh, and this is also my daily driver too AND it still gets 38 MPG with all the modifications.
Matt : Two words: Swarovski Crystals. Now, before you walk away, hear me out. People either really hate it or really love it, but one thing that I CAN say about my vehicle is that it’s unique and different from many others in the car scene. The reason why I went with Swarovski Crystal is because they are the de facto brand when it comes to fine-cut crystal. They use 32% lead oxide and cut 15 facets in each crystal to give it the most brilliant shine above all other crystals in this world. So what does this translate to in real life? It means my vehicle sparkles like diamonds in almost any setting, such as when I’m daily driving it on the 405 FWY in beautiful, sunny Southern California, sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic, or cruising down the PCH at night with the light from the moon reflecting off all 32,000 crystals. Regardless of whether you like it or not, it’s definitely eye-catching and…. Different.
Stance Stories : Tell us how you obtained your car and why you chose it above all your other options?
Matt : I got the Lexus CT 200h when it first came out in March 2011, about a week after the earthquakes and tsunamis hit Japan. By then, my vehicle was already on a ship headed towards the US, so it made it safely. Because of the tsunami, supply of the CT 200h dropped drastically, so it was hard to find right when it was first released.
I wanted the CT 200h because it was a completely brand-new platform from Lexus. It was the start of a new direction Lexus was taking to try to remove the image of “this is the car your grandparents drive” and market the brand towards a younger crowd. It also came in a hatchback, which appealed to me. I just like hatchbacks. I think they look pretty cool. It’s not a form factor you see very often on the roads of California today.
Matt : There are so many people that have been instrumental in getting this build to where it is today. I would love to thank all of the people who took a chance on my build and me and believed in me when others thought it was silly or ridiculous. There are too many people to thank, but I’d like to specifically thank Danh and the team at Tanabe/SSR, Paul at Injen, also Air Runner, Wak Shop, TNAutoInspired, GearHeadZ, iJDMtoy, the team at BeatSonic, Supreme Society, and R-Rydes! Thank you so much! This has been an incredible journey.
- SSR Professor MS3 3-Piece Wheels (19″ x 9″ +37 Front)
- SSR Professor MS3 3-Piece Wheels (19″ x 9.5″ +30 Rear)
- Toyo Proxes 4 Tires (225/35Z/R19 Front)
- Toyo Proxes 4 Tires (235/35Z/R19 Front)
- Garson D.A.D Valve Stem Covers
- AirRunner Fully Integrated Air Suspension
- AccuAir E-Level Air Height Management System
- Swarovski Crystallized Elements (32,000 crystals in total!)
- iJDMtoy LED Reverse & License Plates Lights
- BeatSonic Sharkfin Antenna
- Lexus F-Sport Upper Grille
- Lexus OEM Window Visors
- Garson D.A.D License Plate Bolts
- Aimgain Full Body Kit
- Lexus IS-F Quad Exahust Tips
- Lexus Stainless Steel Bumper Guard
- Swarovski Crystallized Elements (32,000 crystals in total!)
- Swarovski Crystal Strass Chandelier
- VIP’dOut Front Passenger Table
- Garson D.A.D Luxury A/C Louver Rhinestones
- Garson D.A.D Monogram Curtains
- Garson D.A.D Square Cushions
- Garson D.A.D Luxury Neck Pads
- Garson D.A.D Luxury Mirror
- Garson D.A.D Steering Wheel Cover
- Garson D.A.D Luxury Push Starter Brooch
- Garson D.A.D Jewel Wheel Fragrance
- Garson D.A.D Leather Smart Key Cover
- iJDMtoy Interior Overhead LED Lighting
- iJDMtoy LED Strips Inside Doors/Wells
- White Faux Fox Fur Seat Covers
- Toyota Hybrid 2ZR-FXE (1.8 L/1798 cc)
- Injen MR Short Ram-Air Intake
- Painted Engine Covers w/ Diamond Dust
Ever since I first spotted Matt’s car at WekFest this year I knew it was going to be something different. From the moment I spotted it the mechanic in my head crapped his pants and the Jew in me saw stars in his eyes. The factory body lines of the CT200h are gorgeous, and it’s nice to see that Matt only added to the beautiful flow of the car. He says he hopes to complete the build before SEMA this year, and we see him taking home a trophy at the event, as well as many events to come. This powerhouse is only getting started so hop on the bandwagon while theres seats, we’ll see you on the ride!
- Story by Alex Royt
- Photos by Alex Royt
- Edited by Alex Royt