During the glory years of Toyota’s 4 door sedans, the Mark II, Cresta and Chaser were known as the, “3 Brothers”. Although they shared the same platform and many parts, the X100 Chaser, released last, enjoyed popularity beyond that of his brothers. Released over 20 years ago, what factors made the X100 Chaser so popular?
The 1990’s saw the rise in popularity of first the Minivan and then the SUV and a corresponding drop in popularity of 4 door sedans. In order to increase the appeal of its sedans, Toyota embarked on a mission to give the 3 brothers more individuality. The decision was made to move the 6th generation Chaser towards the sporty side, and in 1996, Toyota introduced the X100 Chaser.
In previous generations, the Chaser was almost identical to its brothers, however the X100 Chaser was made shorter by decreasing overhang in the front and rear by a total of 45mm. The decrease in overhang improved handling by reducing the weight of vehicle furthest from the center of gravity. This change went far in sending the message that the Chaser was the sportiest out of the brothers. At the same time the headlight unit was changed to a skinnier wider unit with 4 large round lights. TRD also released a “TRD Sports” package that further improved the sporty look of the vehicle. Three main grades of the X100 Chaser were released: the sporty “Tourer”, luxurious “Avante”, and the lower price “XL”.
Under the hood, the X100 Chaser was almost identical to its brothers with the top of the line “Tourer V” carrying the turbo 2.5 liter straight six 1JZ-GTE engine, and the “Avante G” was equipped with the 3 liter straight six 2JZ-GE engine. However, the “XL” was the only model to carry the 1.8 liter 4 cylinder 4S-FE engine. Manual transmissions were available on the “Tourer” and “Avante” models which along with the final Skyline and Laurel models, made the X100 Chaser a popular option among large bodies FR drifters.
Toyota increased the X100 Chaser’s popularity by strengthening the body and increasing horsepower of the 2JZ engine and combining it with a 5 speed transmission to take the top spots at the D1 Grand Prix with a X100 Mark II and X100 Chaser. However, Toyota’s entry of the X100 Chaser in the 1997 and 1998 JTCC (Japan Touring Car Championship), and the no-holds-barred driving style taken by its drivers, cemented the image of the car as a fighter.
This X100 Chaser Tourer was sourced at a Japanese Used Car Auction by Japan Car Direct for a client in the UK. It comes equipped with the turbo 2.5 liter 1JZ-GTE engine with VVT-I with a claimed output of 280ps/6,200rpm. It also sports a 5 speed manual transmission, 18” alloy wheels, aftermarket air filter, steering wheel and intercooler. For our clients in the US, the 5th gen X90 Chasers are available daily at auction and used car dealers across Japan. Please contact Japan Car Direct if you are looking for your very own Chaser!
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