The SC430 is the second generation of the Lexus SC—a line of grand tourer cars sold in the market from 1991 to 2010. Here’s a quick look at the changes and transformations of the SC430, including its roots in the Lexus SC line.
First generation (1991 to 2000): A new coupe rises
Lexus—the luxury division of Japanese automaker Toyota—was founded in 1989. During its first few years, the brand did not carry any luxury coupe under its belt unlike its more established competitors in the market. For instance, Mercedes Benz had the SL, Acura had its Legend, and Infiniti had the M3 coupe. Because of this, the brand found the need to develop a luxury coupe that would complement its flagship LS 400 sedan. In two years time, Lexus was able to release the SC 400 in 1991 as 1992 model in the United States. This vehicle was powered by the same engine that the LS 400 carried—a 4.0 L 1UZ-FE and that same year, Motor Trend hailed the SC 400 as Import Car of the Year. The following year, a small-engined variant of the SC 400 was introduced to the market—the SC 300. This car was equipped with a 3.0 L inline 6 2JZ-GE engine. Both cars made up the first generation of SCs and they were in production until 2000. During their lifetimes, the SC 400 and 300 were furnished with minor external and internal upgrades.
Second generation (2001-2010): The SC430 convertible emerges
The second generation of SC cars was released in 2001 in the form of the Lexus SC430. This sports coupe-convertible made its debut at the 2000 Paris Motor Show, and it went on sale the year after. The development of this vehicle was supervised by Chief Engineer Yasushi Nakagawa and it was carried out for 4 years—from 1996 to 2000. The design, on the other hand was handled by Sotiris Kovos who traveled the French Riviera to get inspiration for the 430 model’s design. The result was a vehicle with looks based on the yachts that traveled the region. It was powered by a 4.3 L 3UZ-FE V8 engine that featured variable valve timing and could churn out up to 288 hp. It was also equipped with a five-speed automatic transmission while its chassis was comprised of a double-wishbone setup. But aside from its top-of-the-line under-the-hood components, the 430 convertible was equipped with a retractable aluminum hard top, an all-leather interior, and a navigation screen. It was also furnished luxury items such as Mark Levinson sound systems, headlight washers, and a DVD-based navigation system. In 2004, the SC430 was hailed the highest ranked luxury vehicle by a Quality Survey conducted by J.D. Power and Associates. The production of second generation Lexus SC cars lasted until 2010, and the brand went on to use it with its Super GT line until 2013.