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Are New Wheels Enough To Redeem The Lexus SC430?

The new Lexus LC is a pretty slick-looking machine. And the original SC had its share of fans, too. The one that came before, though, was another beast entirely.

Oft maligned as a bloated boulevard cruiser, the second-generation SC was a hardtop convertible targeted at the Mercedes SL. But where its predecessor was streamlined and its successor sharp, the Z40 model that came between was bulbous.

No wonder Lexus only sold about 60,000 of them in the United States – arguably its chief intended market) in over ten years of production. It never caught up to the relative success of its predecessor (which topped 20,000 units in ’93), and though introduced halfway through last year, its successor has already racked up better numbers than the SC had in over a decade.

There are, however, still tens of thousands of them out there, and the owner of this one saw fit to put it on a new set of wheels. The spindly five-spokes are from Forgiato‘s Martellato-ECL series, and do a much better job of filling the wheel wells than their stock rollers ever did. Enough to sharpen up the convertible’s appearance? That’s a matter of taste, we suppose.

Nor do we know what they’ve done for the ride quality. That was one of Lexus’ strong suits, for better or worse, before it started pursuing BMW’s handling characteristics. Maybe they’d be enough to transform the SC430’s demeanor from boulevard-cruiser to Benz-hunter, though somehow we doubt it – not with only 288 horsepower to motivate all 3,800 pounds of it. Call us when there’s been a supercharger bolted onto that 4.3-liter V8 and we’ll talk then.
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