As a young adult I remember a couple in my parents’ neighborhood bringing home not just one, but a pair of matching brand-new 2002 Lexus SC 430 convertibles. The rumors spread like wildfire. The phrase “retractable hardtop” was tossed about as excitedly as the news of the first seedless watermelon.
Those people drove through town like royalty, and I remember pointing excitedly each time I saw one of their cars.
Today, of course, a retractable hardtop is almost expected as standard for convertibles. I still have a soft spot for those SC 430 cars, and I might even take one over the newest Lexus coupe concept, the audacious RC Coupe.
I know, I’m comparing convertibles and coupes here, but reading about the RC reminded me of the now-discontinued SC.
[W]e know the RC will be unveiled in two petrol-gargling guises: the 179bhp RC300h hybrid, which mates a 2.5-litre four-cylinder to Lexus’s leccy motor tech, and the more powerful RC350, with a 3.5-litre V6 driving the rear wheels.
There also could be an RC-F coming later, powered by a 450-hp V8. There’s no mention of a convertible, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility for Lexus to build one.
Convertible or not, I still like the understated SC 430. That was a car that was ahead of its time and still looks great on the roads.
The SC 430 was more tourer than sports car, and it came with leather upholstery, genuine wood trim and a navigation system. Under the hood lurked a 4.3-liter V8 that produced 300 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque. Power was sent to the rear wheels through a 5-speed automatic transmission.
It’s also the last vehicle produced that came standard with a cassette player in the dash.
Consider me sold.
What looks better to you, the Lexus RC Coupe Concept, or the Lexus SC 430 convertible?