Photos by J.C. from the Cohort.
I’ve witnessed few things in life like the rise of Lexus as a luxury brand. The whole matter went from much skepticism; “I’m just not sure about the Japanese building a real luxury car,” to many of those doubters falling head over heels for Lexus’ products. In a matter of weeks. And to be in California during those events allowed me to see it happening in fast-forward motion.
Looking at it from a distance, Toyota had quite the recipe for success at the time. It shows what a committed group of people can achieve when gathering the right data and putting forth the right product. Merkur, Eagle, and Sterling were many of the mid-80s launches that went from “What’s that?” to remaining just that. Meanwhile, Lexus went from “What’s that” to just about every one of my classmates wishing one. It was a topic floating in the air at the time, and there was no way to escape it.
In the case of Lexus’ SC series coupe, buff publications raved about it, while among my acquaintances, those lucky enough to ride in one just gushed praise. “Such a well laid out interior, it’s so gooood…” said one Canadian pal, an otherwise Mustang 5.0 devotee. And to see this SC coupe in this condition, with the period-correct mid-90s rims, just sent me back to those college years.
The Lexus coupe came as the SC400 or the SC300, carrying Lexus’ silky new V8 or a 6-cyl., respectively. Without a close-up of the badges, I’ve no idea which kind of SC this one is. Considering that a good number of these have fallen to the Fast and the Furious crowd, could this be just a lowly 6-cyl.?
We all know Lexus went from an unknown quantity to leaving all scattered in its wake. Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Porsche had to scramble to catch up, and nothing was ever the same. We also know the SC was short-lived, as the whole market was moving away from luxury coupes. But Lexus was ready for those shifting sands with the upcoming RX CUV of 1998.
My classmates didn’t have the prosperity to join in the SC coupe fun while in college, but a few did become proud RX owners later. Since nothing remains still in the luxury market, I wonder if they’re Tesla owners now.