Let’s wind the clock back to see some thoughts on the SC from our recent history.
The RAC in 2008 said the car was “too soft for Europe” in both style and set up. Honest John (no date specified) thought red best to show off the shapely curves, whereas What Car? opined that non-metallic colours were less desirable, avoid red like the plague and choose black. Ok…
Parker’s have their Pro’s and Con’s section right at the top. Clear and concise, splendid. Pro’s: “Superbly built and reliable, excellent refinement and smooth V8“. Con”s: “Ugly (don’t beat about the bush, mate) poor economy, lifeless steering, dull to drive and impractical. The road tax will be expensive and insurance costs high, being group 47“.
Autocar in March 2018 looked back too with views far from loving. “Ugly, like being strangled at birth, the roof takes twenty five agonising seconds to move and a definitive Marmite car.” That’s two uglies so far and you can guess with the Marmite connection which way their allegiance fell.
The AA in December 2006 thought this of the SC; “its not a first drivers car, a bit bloated, puts comfort above styling and there’s little boot room”. Sounds rather like me. And I don’t mind one jot.
In the boxing ring of the car world, heavyweights are everything. Lightweights are not to be considered and crushed. Period. The SC suffered many blows, the knockout punch in tenth round (2009) which few remember, less care. From research, I’ve yet to find anyone saying “This car may cause offence, sleepiness. Do not operate.” They might as well have, though.
But this is Driven to Write where the underdog is a valued customer. I for one champion the SC. When new, Lexus wanted to show the comparisons with their competitors (this link takes you to the launch pack comparison table) and whilst on paper, the figures do indeed seem favourable. The cold light of day however, along with the pejorative bias of the press almost managed to stifle the child before it could develop properly. But not quite.
I’m looking at this car like a love affair that was mistimed. A bit like Romeo and Juliet, needs time to mature, reflect and blossom.
We are thankful therefore that at least 2,803 individuals (129 in the final two years on sale) chose not bow to the pressure of the Clarkson or those who champion the products from Stuttgart and found driveways and garages to house an SC across this sceptred isle. And whilst Lexus naturally believed their car to be best and sell well, it was never going to for all the reasons above and probably more.
Having said that, today, a well manicured SC can be enjoyed, appreciated and arguably would fit better into today’s world than when it was launched. With 2019 road conditions full of speed cameras, pot holes and the growth of the SUV, a two seater sports coupé, in any colour, would be a most welcome surprise, a resolutely polite middle finger to the largesse of late.
With that comparatively lazy power delivery from the 32 valve engine along with the easy going five speed auto (a six speed ‘box was part of a mild 2006 facelift), just waft it along; you can still boot it should the need arise. We all consider ourselves blessed with the skills of a racing driver but us mere mortals in advancing years need to pootle more and enjoy the rarefied air of not following the crowd.
Yes, it’s starting to pour down with rain on a typically British summers day and the roof takes twenty five seconds to shelter you; does it really matter? You know it’ll work. And those looks really are more Mr Blobby than a chisel-chinned Bond from West Bromwich but I ask you once more, do you care? Beauty is in the eye of those not looking to conform.
To some I fully expect to be flogging a dead horse but when you can acquire a decent example from five to ten grand, get it serviced at a main dealer for £200 and smile whilst the sun shines and the wind not at all altering your scalp, what really is the problem?
The youngest child of Nakagawa is borderline ten, the eldest almost twenty. Should the opportunity arrive to aim for that dream of open top, V8 motoring, I know where I’m headed. Setting off in 10, 8, 6…