Lexus SC300 MANUAL Review (AKA Toyota Soarer)
A close friend of mine was chatting with a relative the other day. His uncle said he needs help selling a car. It’s an old Lexus SC300. It has a manual transmission. A few days later we go down to check out the car because he personally wants it and if he doesn’t get it, I agreed to help his uncle to sell it. I figured I should make a car review of it while I am there.
So a little precursor to the SC300. In the U.S.A. you could get the SC300 with a 3.0 litre inline 6 or the SC400 with 4.0 litre V8. The 3.0 is some weird engine called the 2JZ. I dunno its cool I guess (Triggered people in 3..2..1..)
The SC300 only got the 2JZGE, which is the NA variant, making around 225 bhp. No turbo madness for us in the USA. In Japan this car was sold as the Toyota Soarer and could be had with a 1JZGTE. The significance of this is that the 1JZGTE/2JZGTE are an extremely easy to do swap on this car. The NA block can handle boost as well and there is some argument in the community about which is better. Personally I think for large numbers the GTE is the better engine.
The real significance with the one I review is that it was a original five speed manual. Up above I have the production numbers thanks to the members of ClubLexus. The SC300 came mated with a W58; R154 in Soarers. All of them can be swapped like legos.
The SC300 actually moves pretty nicely. I think its due to the torque band of the inline six. It wasn’t the fastest car for sure, but it had some pep to its step. The manual transmission was era specific, it was still tight and you knew what gear you put the shifter into, but it barely felt like it. It felt like if getting into gear nice and crisply was a college assignment, this student got a C-
I think the biggest selling point of this car is the potential it has and how related it is to the Supra. I think I’ve driven the point that the powertrain is similar. The suspension is similar also. Some SC300 owners will get OEM Supra shocks and struts to lower there cars, and still maintain OE ride quality. A lot of the parts are identical with some having minor differences. A lot of people will refer to this car as the Poor Man’s Supra.
This car has plenty of potential but what it does best is that it has potential within grasp. But so and so car can make 700 whp, with deep pockets. I can swap a 2JZ in my 350Z and make people at mexico cry, with a small loan. This car, nuh uh, save your tips from your pizza delivery job and you can land yourself the parts to stuff a boosted JZ under the hood. The swap and wiring is pretty simple also since it came like so from the factory in the Supra and the Soarer.
The steering is pretty quick and the car feels like it can derive a lot of mechanical grip. With that said the long wheelbase makes it a little more difficult to rotate around a corner and the weight of the car makes it want to push the front wheels into the gutter. With some modifcations this car could have very high cornering limits. It wouldn’t be the fastest around a circuit but it can still go out and have fun. Just watch out for those pesky 350Z’s and S2000’s.
Here is my video review on this car. Check it out! As of right now this exact car is for sale in Utah, I can link an ad if anyone is interested. Right now I am trying to figure out a way to shoehorn this in my garage. Let me know what you guys think! Thanks.