Driver Spotlight: Coy Pendleton

In a sea of S-chassis, 350Zs and BMWs, it can be tricky for a car to really stand out at drift events. You can stand out with your driving, or by whipping a less-common chassis, or by styling said chassis really damn well. Some folks manage to do all three, including 2023’s Drift Indy Most Stylish award winner Coy Pendleton and his Toyota Cressida MX83.

Anyone that’s been around for a few seasons knows that he knows how to make a car look good. Coy started drifting over a decade ago in a 240 before moving on to an IS300 that he slid for four or five years. In 2019, he was on the lookout for a Cressida and found one up in Michigan. Fast forward five years and a few iterations and you get to its current form.

This season, Coy and his Auto Shop Defeat teammates are rocking this rad white, blue and chrome livery.

I got to sit down with Coy at DISL Round 1 this year to learn more about his style inspirations and how drifting fits into his life:

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So, what made you go with a Cressida?

I made a post looking for a Cressida because when I first got into drifting, I had seen like an RC body of a JZX81 and I, like, instantly fell in love with it. I really didn't have any idea that we had them in the States because the front ends are all different between them. There's the Mk. 2 Chaser, Cresta over in Japan and we only got the Cressida for four years and it's just one front end on our cars. It's the taxi version of the Japanese cars. So it's a USDM MX83.

Toyota Cressida MX83 at night 

What did it mean to you to win most stylish last season? Where do you draw inspiration from for your builds?

So when I started drifting, it was the D1GP, street legal stuff over in Japan in the early 2000s that really got me hooked. So that was always my goal and my goal still is to hold onto that the ideal of drifting that I have, which is the low car, stylish, eye-catching machine on track.

I attended Final Bout two as a spectator and that immediately made me want to do that specifically. Good-looking cars with a team just putting on a show and having a good time with your buddies.

Driving-wise, what kind of style do you go for? What’re you thinking about during a lap?

Noriyaro was on, I think it was the Goodest Cast [podcast], he was doing an interview where he explained that his driving was kind of on the safer side and to be more consistent because he couldn't afford to rebuild the car. He was, you know, on a budget. And then he kind of realized that it was boring to watch. I think I've taken that same path.

I'm really consistent, and I’ve just been trying to keep the car in one piece, but the last few years I have started to become more aggressive and chase closer. And, you know, as I'm more mature and making more money, I'm able to do that because I can afford the consequences of my actions.

Toyota Cressida MX83 drifting

Coy made it through prelims at DISL Round 1 this season, but was knocked out in the round of 32 by Cody Edmiston.

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Coy drove 7 out of 10 of the initial run of DISL volumes, finding his way to the podium at both Volume 5 and 7, and ended up at seventh in the overall rankings. Thinking back to his performances, it’s pretty clear how much consistency has figured into his driving. I’m sure it happens, but I’m struggling to remember many spins from him. 

Toyota Cressida leading 240sx

Here's a throwback to 2022 and DISL Volume 7. Coy got the silver and Josh Estey, who we see here on Coy's door, got the gold.

He did have a rough crash down in Corbin that banged up the front of his car pretty bad, but he came back in 2024 with the car nicely refreshed and put back together like it never happened. He even pointed to Volume 10 and the cruise-in to downtown Corbin as his favorite Drift Indy memory, despite the unfortunate collision.

Toyota Cressida MX83

The DISL Cruise-in to downtown Corbin last season was a ton of fun. It's always so cool to see folks that are unfamiliar with drifting take a closer look at the cars.

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What has your DISL Experience been like?

It's been great. It was nice being the top 16 for the last few rounds. I didn't have to worry about prelims.

This is actually my first prelim. I'm going to have to qualify this year around by 2024. So we'll see if I make it in. There's a lot of good drivers, so if I don't, I wouldn't be upset, but I'm going to at least look good doing it.

How does drifting fit into your life?

So me and my wife, Miranda Davis, both drift, so it's like half of our life.

We have our five year old daughter. We both work 40 or 50 hours a week with work, and most of the time our downtime is working on cars, making them look good, and then just spending time with family. So drifting is a lot of our lives. It means a lot to us. I mean, we get to enjoy each other's company, have fun doing stylish cars and just kind of give the younger guys something to aspire to be.

And I feel it's bringing a lot of women into the sport as well. We've got two or three other drifting couples here at DISL this weekend, and there's more girl-only events popping up, so I feel like we are part of promoting that and it's definitely an honor. 

Toyota Cressida MX83 chasing 240SX

It's been so awesome to see so many couples hitting the track together this season. Here we see Miranda leading Coy at this year's DISL Showoff.

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Finally, a walkthrough of Coy’s whip:

His 1992 Cressida MX83 is powered by a 1JZGTE out of a JZX100, with the boost turned up a little to around 18 psi with an Apexi AFC Neo. 

Suspension-wise, he’s on custom-spec Fortune Auto coilovers, cut knuckles and extended lower control arms, along with Subaru Impreza tie rods for their fit. Power’s sent to the rear via a W58 transmission, one-piece driveshaft and the stock diff. Xcessive Mfg. bushings and KFD adjustable arms in the rear round it out.

For wheels, he’s on Weds Kranz Rapiers with SSR Viena Kreis for spares. Those are nicely framed by a BN Sports bodykit that’s accentuated with a Uras drag wing from an S13 coupe.

Toyota Cressida MX83 stance drift