Straight six power. An optional manual transmission. Rear-wheel drive and peerless build quality. These are all qualities I completely ignored for years, while I dismissed the original Lexus SC300.
To me, the SC300 was always too big, too heavy, too blobby to ever be a car I really liked. The original styling was meant to be as smooth as possible, and is maybe the most ‘90s looking car for the decade, short of maybe the Suzuki X-90. The thing is, I grew up in the ‘90s. I didn’t like ‘90s when I was growing up. I longed for sharper lines and smaller cars. Alfa Romeos. That kind of thing.
In the years in between, I have realized one thing: I was (and usually remain to be) a complete idiot.
The turning point was really a different Lexus, the ES300 that I briefly owned and swiftly killed. It was a six-cylinder manual of the same era, only with a weaker V6 and front-wheel drive.
Still, it was a gem of a car, overpowered and invisible. Imagining it, but with an even sturdier engine and its power sent into the burnout zone, was tantalizing.
I had a line on one, remembering when I heard that Tony Angelo was selling his SC300 missile car, but that thing got sold to someone else before I made any bad financial decisions.
I’ve always wondered what if.
My hope is that one of you out there did own a Lexus SC300 and you can tell me how much you hated it, how heavy it was, how poorly it drove, and how lucky I was to have dodged a bullet. Hopefully it wasn’t actually reliable, and your naturally-aspirated 2JZ blew up a hundred times, and your R154 transmission was hugely expensive to replace. Hopefully. Then I won’t feel so bad.
So if you’ve owned one let us know how it was! Write your experience in the comments below, and be sure to include a picture of the car if you’ve got it. Hell, if you had an SC400 with the legendary 1UZ quad-cam V8, or maybe even a much-maligned SC430, I want to hear about it. Maybe then I’ll stop staring at for-sale listings in my idle hours.