The Altezza is a well known name in the tuner scene of Bangladesh and also worldwide. Being a Japanese luxury sport sedan, the Altezza was built to compete with European cars such as the BMW 3 series and the Mercedes C class. However, this Altezza is a bit more special when compared to the other JDM cars we have featured in the past. This is not only because it was also sold as the first generation Lexus IS, but because the particular car we’re featuring today was once owned by a very special person- legendary Bangladeshi singer, composer, songwriter and guitarist, late Ayub Bachchu!
Initially purchasing the car back in 2015 from the legend Ayub Bacchu himself, Mr. SK Abu Asad told Team Turbine while recalling the day he purchased the car, “Ayub dada was rather hesitant to sell the car to me at first. This was a very special car for him!”
With a 2.0 liter non turbo 1G-FE engine and a 4 speed automatic transmission setup from the factory, this Altezza was relatively less powered compared to the other Altezzas of the country. However, it is still one of the faster four door cars one can buy even today.
“I made a promise to Ayub Dada to drive responsibly when I purchased the car from him.” said Asad, “‘Never Speed’- these were the exact words he told me when handing me the keys of the car.”
Perhaps, keeping the legend’s words in mind, Asad hasn’t done much power upgrades to the car till date. Rather, he focused more on handling and improving the overall aesthetics of the car which was already no less than a ‘beauty’ as it was.
The car was repainted to a shade of midnight purple after the addition of aftermarket wide fenders. The headlights were replaced with a set of custom built 1 of 1 headlights with round DRLs, which were inspired from Formula 1 cars. Even the stock alloys were replaced with a rather eye pleasing set of 17inch staggered wheels donated from a reconditioned MarkII.
For the interior makeover, Asad transplanted the front bucket seats from a Civic Type R while replacing the stock Altezza seats. The steering wheel is an aftermarket upgrade as well. The gauge cluster was also inherited from its Lexus IS200 sibling and it looks absolutely stunning!
Aside from the visual upgrades, Asad also did some performance modifications to this car. Such as, replacing the lowering springs which came with the car with a Tien coilover setup for all four wheels. He also installed Ultra Racing strut bars both in the front and the rear along with Ultra Racing sway bars to improve the overall handling performance and the stability of the car.
Being a non-turbo two litre Altezza with the engine mostly untouched, it was just the perfect car, reliability wise, for the traveller inside Asad who dreamt of driving his own car to all 64 districts of the nation.
From Ayub Bacchu’s garage to Cox’s Bazar, Sylhet, Rajshahi, Rangpur, Chittagong, this Altezza has seen a lot throughout its lifetime. As easy as it may sound, things weren’t always going as planned for Asad during road trips all the time.
There were the memorable moments such as Asad’s spirited drive from Dhaka to Cox’s Bazar which only took a little more than seven hours. “I still remember the car parked in front of Hotel Sayeman as we were having our breakfast after a long night drive.”- Asad recalled.
However, at the same time, there were several difficulties faced by him as well. Such as the time when one of the rear tyres of the Altezza got badly punctured at 1:30am midnight near Pabna. It was so bad in fact, that Asad had to manage a brand new tyre and the only way to do that was to take a bus all the way to Dhaka!
Despite a few hiccups, the Altezza performed brilliantly according to Asad. One complaint he had was with the ride comfort throughout the trip. “The highways of Bangladesh are still not constructed well enough for cars with coil overs to run smoothly.” Asad confirmed, “Although the car handled wonderfully around the corners and during overtakes, the rides were quite bumpy due to the thousands of potholes the car had to go over throughout the trips!”