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|>Manufacturer||Toyota Motor Company|
|Body style(s)||4-door sedan|
|Engine(s)||3T, 18R, 1G-EU, 1G-GE, 1G-GTE, 1JZ-GTE, 1JZ-GE, 2JZ-GE|
|Transmission(s)||R154 man, A341 auto|
|Related||Toyota Mark II
The Toyota Chaser is a mid-size 4 door sedan produced by the Toyota Motor Company, Japan. It’s a derivative of Toyota Mark II, and only officially sold in Japan. The Toyota Chaser has been known as one of the ‘triplets’ or ‘quartets’ of Toyota, because it shares the same chassis with the Toyota Cressida, Mark II, and Cresta. Most of the models use double wishbone coil springs, especially beginning with the X81 series. The Chaser is considered a rung below the Toyota Crown, but offers more sporty character due to its slightly lower body and powerful engine (in fact, most of the 2.5L Toyotas are powered by the 1JZ engine).
In September 1996, the X100 Chaser replaced the X90 Chaser. By this time, the Chaser had become a more sporty sedan; for many, it was the definitive Chaser and the best-looking model. The product lineup consisted mostly of Avantes and Tourers, with the Avante as the luxury model (with more interior accessories) and the Tourer as the sporty model (with large 16-inch wheels). Toyota’s VVTi, the company’s version of variable-valve timing, was added to the 1JZ engines; they were also upgraded to give out more torque, since they had already reached the legal limit set by Japanese authorities regarding horsepower. The 1JZ-GTE was powered by a single turbo configuration instead of the twin turbo of its predecessors. New to the lineup was the Avante Four and the Avante Four G Package (basically the Avante 2.5L with a full-time 4WD system). These cars were only available in 4-speed electronic control type (ECT) automatic transmission. The Tourer V and automatic-only Avante G 3.0L models had the option of electronic control flex lockup attaching 4 speed automatic (intelligent) (ECT-iE) transmission, besides the ECT-E automatic in the lower-end models.
In 1997 the lineup remained largely unchanged, although a basic Tourer 2.0L model was added. The Tourer was powered by a 1G-FE engine, capable of 140 PS (138 hp/103 kW) at 5600 rpm. It was sold with only the 4-speed electronic control type (ECT) automatic transmission.
In 1998, the basic Tourer received the optional manual gearbox and a 4WD option for basic Avante models; the Avante Four S Package received a higher special-edition interior. Additionally, the Chaser received a facelift. The most significant change was to the rear lights, making it even more sporty than before. Other changes included new fog lights with a slightly redesigned front bar to accommodate them, different interior fabric, a 3-spoke steering wheel instead of 4 spokes, orange gauge lighting instead of white and a grille with 2 horizontal bars instead of 3.
Toyota ceased producing the Chaser in late 2000. It was replaced with a new model called the “Verossa,” which shares the same model code. The Cresta suffered the same fate, but the Mark II continued for another generation (X110) before it was also discontinued. In 2004, the all-new X120 Mark X was introduced in Japan, incorporating many characteristics of earlier-model Chasers (and also the models similar to the Chaser like the Mark II and the Cresta). In fact, the aim of the Mark X is to combine the characteristics of the 3 models into one single model.
Although X100 Chasers took part in the Japanese Touring Car Championship in the 1990s, the Chaser truly shone in the form of motorsport known as drifting, due to its traditional front-engine, rear-wheel drive layout. Numerous Toyota Chasers, especially the later X90s and X100s, have been modified for use in drifting. Versions of the Chaser have also been highly modified to take part in the “super battle” time trial series in Japan.
The Hollywood movie The Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift featured a Yellow 1998 model Chaser Tourer V which was little changed from stock except for the C-West rear wing attached to its trunk lid, the paint, and the Volk Racing GT-V wheels, 18-by-8 inches up front and 18-by-9 inches in back, inside Toyo Proxes 225/40R18 front and 245/40R18 rear tires. The lead test/stunt driver from the movie said “Some other drift cars from The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift movie might have been faster, but no other one did so many things as well as this almost stock Toyota Chaser.”
Despite not having widespread popularity outside Japan (the Chasers in other countries are mainly purchased through grey imports), the Chaser was one of the most popular cars for modification purposes in Japan, with examples modified by drifters and VIP tuners. In 2000, Toyota tuning specialists Tom’s created a 320 bhp (239 kW) version of the 1996-97 Chaser, called the X540. Most of the modifications seemed to revolve around the 1JZ-GTE engine, although there have been several Chasers (and similar Mark IIs and Crestas) modified to run on the Supra’s 2JZ-GTE engine, usually for drag racing. Although 2JZ-GTE conversions are very popular for JZX90/JZX100, 1.5JZ(1JZ engine head with 2JZ block) is easier to carry out. Some conversions with other engines can also be found tuners in Japan, such as NISSAN SR20DET engine in JZX100 (Real Dream Super Chaser), RB26DETT in JZX81 Mark II (D West Sports). JZX90 and JZX100 share many suspension parts. And some other parts are interchangeable from other 1JZ/2JZ powered vehicles (Soarer JZZ30, Supra JZA70, JZA80, etc).