Tokyo Drift Test: Toyota Chaser
Drifting in luxury
Back in the 1990s, the Chaser was Toyota's clearest attempt to build a sedan just as quick as it was comfortable; sort of like a Japanese-market BMW M5. To boil it down, the Toyota Chaser is basically a four-door sedan version of the Supra Turbo and includes in its substance a similar all-independently suspended, unibody chassis and the same 280-horsepower, 2.5-liter single-turbocharged DOHC 24-valve straight-six installed in the Japanese-market-version of the Lexus SC 300 coupe. It's a car America would have loved if Toyota had sent it here.
The Toyota Chaser used in The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift is a 1998 model that's 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. There's a five-speed manual transmission aboard and the interior is filled with familiar '90s-era Toyota switches and controls.
With so little changed from stock, that this big sedan remained comfortable and accommodating is no surprise. There may have been some deterioration in ride quality with the fitment of the big wheels and tires, but since the Chaser was never sold in the U.S., we don't have a baseline against which to compare it. It's enough to say that this drift car felt ready to drive cross-country with five aboard.
Not surprisingly, it was easygoing in its performance as well. Using no exotic launch technique or even thinking much, the Tokyo Drift Chaser galloped to 60 mph in 6.1 seconds and ran through the quarter-mile traps in 14.3 seconds at 100.9 mph. Besides that, the engine behaved perfectly, and there's a seamless stream of torque from just off idle all the way to the redline.
Despite its lack of a hard edge, the Toyota Chaser is a spectacular drifting machine. Using its generous torque production to good advantage, Rhys Millen made dozens of perfect arcs around a cluster of cars we had gathered to photographic effect. Despite the Chaser's thick mass, it would hang its tail out with grace and use its generous steering angle to heighten the drama. No wonder the Chaser is so popular in Japanese drifting competitions.
Other drift cars from The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift were faster, but no other one did so many things as well as this almost stock Toyota Chaser.