A Perfect Six: 1993 Lexus SC 300
Other engine layouts may claim prizes for ubiquity (inline-4), durability (V-8), sexiness (V-12) or eccentricity (V-4, inline-5, flat-anything), but to my mind at least, none of them can compare with the essential, Fibonacci-like rightness of the straight six. There are sound, physics-based explanations for this, but more importantly, just pause for a moment and meditate on this: how many of the coolest cars ever had straight sixes? The coolest Jags. The coolest Astons. The coolest Benzes. The coolest BMWs. The coolest Maseratis. The coolest Datsuns, coolest Toyotas, and about a billion of the coolest American cars ever, too. And what is a Ferrari V-12 – the coolest engine ever – but two straight sixes sharing a crankshaft?
And yes, by the way, I did just apply the modifier "cool" to the word "Toyota." It's easy to forget that once upon a time Toyota actually built cars that were interesting. Even if most of us failed to recognize them as cool at the time, it's undeniable in retrospect that the Celicas and Supras of the '70s and '80s were exactly that: compact, sporting, rear-wheel-drive, these were bona fide Japanese pony cars, more faithful in many respects to the original concept than many of their bloated American contemporaries. And the Supra? Straight sixes, all down the line. Never mind that the last generation was largely robbed of its dignity by basket-handle spoilers and the 2 Fast 2 Furious crowd. When you think about what cars have become, how much cooler does this seem now? Who wouldn't want to tool around in a '86 Supra, preferably in black? Who wouldn't prefer that to a 4000-pound cartoon Dodge Challenger? I would, anyway. Sorry Chrysler.
I see these early Lexus coupes as being the last of the Supras, the dignified, grown-up Supras – direct descendents of those elegant late '70s Celicas – before they took that weird turn toward boy-racism. And I'll take mine, thanks, with a five-speed and that sweet six, just like this one.
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