Thu. Jul 18th, 2024

Lexus debuted the second-generation SC at the 1999 Tokyo Motor Show. It looked good, and a sports coupe-convertible sounded like an excellent idea, given Lexus’ history of knocking it out of the park. The recipe for a traditional sporty drop-top is also straightforward, as proven by the Mazda Miata, Honda S2000, Nissan 350Z, and the BMW Z4. You put an engine in the front, the seating and gearbox in the middle, and drive at the rear wheels.

The SC 430’s biggest problem was that it didn’t know what it wanted to be, so Lexus made a complete mess of the suspension. It managed to be wallowy and unpredictable while still crashing over the tiniest imperfections.

The 4.3-liter V8 only produced 288 horsepower and 317 lb-ft of torque, and the six-speed automatic was dimwitted. The car weighed nearly 4,000 lbs, and the brakes couldn’t even handle minor abuse. For some reason, Lexus also built a tape deck into the center console, which made no sense. By then, CDs had already taken over as the primary music source.

As if that’s not bad enough, Lexus charged $68,000 for the displeasure of owning one. That’s $95k today, to put it in context. During its final year on sale (2010), you could buy a Corvette Convertible or top-spec BMW Z4 for $10,000 less. If you absolutely had to have a Japanese car, the 2009 Honda S2000 retailed for half the price of the SC.

It’s no wonder Lexus ditched the SC name entirely and went with LC instead.

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