Most of the classified ads offering Lexus SCs tout the model’s Supra heritage since those are so hot right now. The ad for today’s Nice Price or No Dice SC400 is a notable exception to that practice. Let’s see if the price is equally notable.
I think it’s pretty safe to say that the 1982 Maserati Quattroporte we looked at on Friday was a car that made an impression. It was big in both size and presence and wore a coat of luscious brown paint and featured a cabin filled with lovely-looking leather. Unfortunately, age had taken its toll on both of those larger-than-life aspects, leaving the car with a failing clear coat marring the outside, and some of that leather interior looking as though it might have been better left on the cow. All that added up to a low-for-a-Maserati $5,200 asking, and that was good enough to take home a 54 percent Nice Price win
Friday’s Maserati was an example of old-school luxury. The Quattroporte of today may run a little bit bigger, but it is also is appreciably sportier, featuring sport buckets and a big center screen in place of over-padded seats and briarwood trim.
Today’s market for luxury cars hasn’t changed much in the past two decades, but the luxuries and accouterments that luxury cars offer certainly have. When it was new, this 1993 Lexus SC400 was given just about every bell and whistle that Toyota could throw at it. It was, after all, the halo coupe of the company’s Lexus luxury brand. Compared to the current LC, however, it’s a stripper. In many ways, though, that might just be a good thing.
First and foremost, this old-school SC is a lot simpler than any modern car. That being said, driving it likely won’t feel akin to rolling around with Fred and Barney in the Flintmobile. This elegant coupe does offer power everything, automatic climate control, cruise, and an automatic transmission. It’s also fitted with leather on the seats and each of the tactile surfaces and has some nice wood inside in the event you ever need to start a fire.
Speaking of fire, there’s plenty of that under the hood. Befitting the numerical portion of its name, the car comes with a 4.0 liter V8. That’s good for a no-fuss 250 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque. The four-speed auto makes quick work of dispensing that to the back wheels and has a button for locking out overdrive if you’re the type who can’t leave well enough alone. Yes, this model does share its underpants with the contemporary Supra, but the cars are lightyears apart when it comes to suspension tuning and overall feel.
This being a coupe, the doors are particularly long to allow access to the buckets in the back. Those doors don’t take an inordinate amount of space to open, though. That’s because of the clever articulating hinges Lexus gave the car. These allow the door to swing forward slightly when opening, lessening the arc and the space they take up. I don’t think Lexus gives its current coupes anything like that.
Overall, this 149,000 mile SC400 looks to be in terrific shape. The seller classifies it as being in “Excellent condition,” and claims it has lived a life spent indoors when not in use. There is a small but noticeable ding above the driver’s door handle, but the car otherwise looks straight. One issue that plagues the SC is yellowing headlamp lenses, but on this car, they look clear and clean. So too do the wheels which show no curb rash or significant wear to the plastic center caps.
Inside, the story is much the same, with leather that seems to have held up well, and floor mats that are free of heel wear. The styling of the interior has aged very well too, even if it’s a bit more upscale Camry than Mercedes in execution.
The under-hood shots show an engine with no obvious signs of monkey business but also no sign of a sticker indicating a timing belt service. Usually, mechanics will put a little sticker on the inner fender or radiator support noting the date and mileage for this important service. That’s not to say that’s a universal practice (which it should be) and it’s unlikely to have been documented in such fashion if the service had been carried out at a Lexus dealer. Needless to say, that history should be brought up by any prospective buyer prior to purchase.
One final area where this old SC’s simplicity benefits over a modern Lexus is in price. The current top-of-the-line coupe — the LC — starts just shy of one hundred grand. That’s a lot of dough for even a very nice car. At $7,800, this clear-title coupe is less than a tenth of the new car’s price even with the possible addition of a timing belt service. The question for you all is whether that makes it a good deal.
What do you say, is this classic Lexus coupe worth that $7,800 asking as it’s presented in the ad? Or, does that price make this SC400 not too cool for old school?
H/T to Dan Marion for the hookup!
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