Throttle-Back Thursday: Driving a hot-rodded Lexus SC300 down the Loneliest Road in America



  • Pinterest

The SEMA show is just around the corner, and looked at with the right eyes, the annual automotive aftermarket conclave is a workable — though by no means comprehensive — survey of the contemporary custom car scene. What is the state of the automotive aftermarket circa 2017? Is it all brodozers and automaker “concepts” with dubious superhero tie-ins? We will soon know.

Back in 1993, though, we must have sensed that the tuner tsunami was out there, heading toward our shores, ready to inundate the custom scene. This was long before “The Fast and the Furious;” consider us ahead of the curve. So, to figure out what this tuner business was all about, we asked SEMA to help us build the ultimate tuned Lexus SC300: Lowered, its custom-supercharged 2JZ-GE inline-six now breathing through a custom exhaust and, of course, sporting an aftermarket body kit. If the SC300 was an unusual canvas for the project, the end result hinted at just how far the aftermarket could push things.

All in all, 11 companies contributed parts or expertise to the SC300 project, which yielded a car that kept all the Lexus comforts but added a Toyota Supra-like performance edge. Then we set out to prove that modern tuning didn’t necessarily have to involve the sort of reliability compromises that came with traditional hot-rodding … by driving the Lexus thousands of miles across some of the most desolate country in the continental United States.

How did it hold up on our 2,500-mile road test? You’ll have to read the cover story from our Dec. 20, 1993, issue below to find out.

Autoweek December 20, 1993 — 2,500 miles in a SEMA-modified Lexus SC300

(1.38 MB)

Graham Kozak

– Graham Kozak drove a 1951 Packard 200 sedan in high school because he wanted something that would be easy to find in a parking lot. He thinks all the things they’re doing with fuel injection and seatbelts these days are pretty nifty too.

See more by this author»