Manual Swap: 2005 Lexus IS300 SportCross

This next car comes from tipper John who writes: Just stumbled across this, which seems spot on for DT. Maybe these manual swaps are common, but I haven’t seen one before even though everyone says they wish Lexus had put a manual in the Sportcross. Find this 2005 Lexus IS300 SportCross offered for $10500 in Brea, CA via craigslist.

From the seller:

2005 Lexus IS300 Sportcross 

condition: excellent 

cylinders: 6 cylinders 

drive: rwd 

fuel: gas 

odometer: 166000 

paint color: silver 

size: compact 

title status: clean 

transmission: manual 

type: wagon 

2005 Sportcross with 166k miles

Five-speed manual transmission swap with stock LSD

Second owner since 2014

Southern California car since new

Clean title

Millennium silver metallic exterior

Stock staggered wheels powder coated metallic grey

Calipers powder coated black

Tinted windows

Black leather interior

Heated front seats

JDM leather shift knob

Stock six-disc CD changer (fully functioning!) 

Stock GPS navigation system

Eibach Pro-Kit springs with Bilstein shocks

Yakima roof rack

Covercraft fitted car cover

Great daily driver, very reliable and fun to drive

Very clean inside and out, minor scratches and dings here and there, clear coat chipping from rear hatch, rear spoiler, rear bumper and side mirrors, but great shape overall for a 14-year-old car.

The car has been very well maintained and I have a folder full of service records available, along with the original owner’s manual and two sets of keys. I previously owned a manual IS300 sedan for seven years and 100k miles and loved the car so much, I bought another one. But this time around, it had to be a wagon and it needed a proper manual transmission like the sedan (the Sportcross was never offered with a manual transmission in the US). My wife and I performed the transmission swap shortly after buying the Sportcross in 2014 when the car had 114k miles. Everything works and no check engine light. The car runs great, A/C is cold and it recently completed a road trip up to Yosemite with zero issues. Overall, the car is very solid and dependable and has never left me stranded. 

During the swap, a used W55 transmission with about 105k miles from a friend’s IS300 sedan was installed, along with a brand new NA Supra clutch and flywheel. Much of the hardware associated with the swap was purchased new from a Toyota dealer and other parts, such as the pedal assemblies, clutch hydraulic lines and driveshafts were salvaged from a wrecked IS300 sedan from a local junkyard. 

The car is quite rare and has been the perfect daily driver for me the last five years – wagon, RWD, manual transmission. That combination is very tough to come by, which is why I chose to perform the swap in the first place. I hate to let it go because it’s been such a great car. The only reason I’m selling it is because I just bought another car and I can’t keep them both. Please email me if you’re interested. Serious inquiries only. No low-ballers and no trades. 

See a better way to drive a manual wagon?