It had a factory built solely for its production. Toyota developed special looming machines to manufacture its carbonfiber tub and Yamaha tuned the sound of its V10 engine – which, by the way, revved so fast an analogue rev counter couldn’t keep up.
It is the Lexus LFA. The car Toyota’s premium brand realized it needed as a halo model to project a new, sportier image to its intended customers and lure them away from the German dealerships.
Over its two-year production run, only 500 were ever made, 50 of which were the track-spec Nürburgring Edition, and they sold out pretty quickly despite the whooping US$379,000 price that made the US$140k cheaper Ferrari 458 Italia look like a bargain.
Word has it that, even at that price, Lexus lost money on each and every one it sold. It milked the publicity it created for all it was worth, though, and you can’t really put a price on that, can you?
The company also tried to keep speculators looking to make a quick buck out of the loop by stipulating that, if an LFA owner decided to sell, the Lexus dealer had a first refusal right at the original price or that which the prospective buyer was willing to pay – whichever was lower.
This clause also put a time limit of two years. Well, with production having ceased on December 17, 2012, this means that LFA owners can sell their supercar to anyone they please.
A quick search showed up no less than 10 cars on sale at the duPont Registry. Eight of them belong to private sellers and just two to dealers. The cheapest is a white 2012 model with just 95 miles, at US$348,900; if you can call such a price tag cheap, that is. Except from a silver one that costs just a hundred bucks more, the asking price for the rest is close to the original, give or take five or 10 thousand dollars.
The good news is the LFA hasn’t depreciated in two years. The bad news, it hasn’t appreciated either despite its rarity. Those who bought it as an investment then, like the 10 folks who are currently putting theirs up for sale, will at best get their money back.
Makes you wonder if it was overpriced to start with, so the market won’t pay up, or if badge snobbery has kicked in and potential customers prefer a prancing horse or a raging bull instead, doesn’t it?