Lost But Not Forgotten: The Lexus SC300
There are many platforms out there with an infinite amount of potential but a severe lack of presence in the car scene; cars which are seemingly born to be modified but are so rarely done that you have a better chance of seeing Olivia Wilde ride by on a unicorn than to see a clean example of said chassis. One of these nearly forgotten platforms is the one in front of you now: The Lexus SC. Every time I see a clean, well-done SC, I wonder why I don’t see WAY more of them. The aggressive bodylines and simple styling makes this one of the most aesthetically pleasing and promising models of the last couple decades. Lexus definitely let the public down by not releasing these from the factory with a significant drop and staggered wheels with a deep lip. Fortunately for us, there are a few good men (and women) out there who consider this a platform worthy of their hard earned dollars and sometimes the results leave you salivating… Cue the pictures!
Seven years ago, Andrey Sokolov did the world a favor and bought his 1993 SC300. Previously, he had been into the function side of the automotive world and owned a 1994 Drag/Street Camaro (“blown/stroked/meth injected”) but decided that he needed a “beater” and thus, the SC was adopted into the family. The Camaro had seen the best possible parts (when one broke, it was replaced with something better) due to the desire to always go faster and after getting his car into the low 9-second quarter-mile range, he had to get the SC as a daily since the Chevy was more track than it was street. By 2007, he came to the realization that “for all the money spent and hard work put into it, I never got to drive and enjoy the car” and as a result, started parting out the Camaro.
Like many of us, he had every intention of keeping his daily driver stock and reliable with no mechanical issues. Yea, right. He stuck to his plan for a while but in the summer of 2010, he was rolling around on a set of lowering springs and chrome Supra TT wheels. Andrey’s favorite part of the story starts here because it’s at this point that the car began to take shape into what it is today: something he never intended. He had major maintenance looming ahead of him that needed to get done and so down the car went for a good period of time. It saw a gratuitous amount of new parts including valve guide seals, timing belt, water pump, radiator, clutch and many more parts that were going to ensure this beauty stayed on the road for a long time to come. While the car was out of commission, Andrey noticed that the factory paint was looking a little less than impressive after 17 years and decided to go with Copper Firemist basecoat with a Black Cherry Kandy over coat. The problem then became ALL of the other things he wanted to do to the car that he never intended on doing before. After some slight fender pulling, shaving and OEM replacement parts from newer SC models, the car began to take shape and just needed some interior, ice, and shoes to complete the look.
Sure, lowering springs are great but Andrey wanted to do things right. He’s the go big or go home type (as you can see from his past Camaro build) so he made the decision to go air, a rare modification on the older SC platform. There is no “static vs air” debate to be had here; I literally cannot think of a better way to pull off these SSR SP3’s, especially when they are 19×9.5 et -5 and 19×11.5 et18. The infamous Snowball Effect that we all know so well began to take over and before he knew it, the car had a full new brake setup, rewrapped interior pieces, and a super clean trunk setup for his I.C.E. and air ride components, wrapped in tan leather to match the rest of the car. The car he had intended on staying stock suddenly turned into a show-piece right before his eyes and he couldn’t be happier.
One of the most ironic parts of Andrey’s story is how simple the car looks and how effortless he made it look when in actuality, he had close to NO examples to use as a template. As I said earlier, there aren’t many SC’s done right and he expressed that one of the most difficult parts of this build was in fact finding other models like his to use as inspiration. If you get on VWVortex, HondaTech, or any other large, world-wide forums with thousands upon thousands of members, it’s super easy to find COUNTLESS specimens to study and take tips from but Andrey didn’t have that option. He boldly went where few had gone before and made one of the cleanest SC’s out there with little to no guidance. Talk about impressive.
Keep an eye out for more to come from Andrey and his SC300 as he looks to tackle a motor swap and shaved bay over winter. If he keeps going with the quality of work he has displayed so far, I can’t wait to see the results.
Andrey would also like to thank: “One is my best friends, Dylan (‘The Painter Mastermind’), without him this car would never look this good. We spend over 250 hours in body work, prep, fiberglass work, and paint to make the car to look the way it does today. Also, my wife, Jackie, for putting up with my hobby and many late nights spent working on the car away from home.”