It’s been something of a sad story for local petrolheads, but South Africa has always been deprived of some of the most iconic (performance) cars in the past. Thankfully, the tide has changed massively over the last couple of decades. Once forbidden models like the Nissan (Skyline) GT-R, Ford Mustang, and Toyota Supra are now regular fixtures in local OEMs ‘ respective line-ups.
Lexus has been an ever-present in the country since September 1992 as Toyota’s luxury arm and has established itself – most notably for its use and production of advanced hybrid systems. In 2011, the brand took the covers off of something so unique that it made the world sit up and take notice in a big way. Conceived on the racetrack and developed through the application of world-first technologies, it was then that the LFA was born.
According to Akio Toyoda, CEO of parent company Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC), he saw the LFA as an opportunity to create a global icon for the Lexus brand, embodying Toyoda’s idea that the ultimate Lexus should connect with its owner.
Many, including myself, thought that the LFA would be gazed upon from afar through images and Youtube videos. Still, Lexus decided to give locals a taste of full-blown performance cars – even though 90% of the population could probably not afford it. This wasn’t about who could afford it but rather signaling that SA wasn’t being overlooked for fast cars.
So where are they now?
Since the supercar was launched locally precisely a decade ago, only three were allocated to SA. One went to a Gauteng businessman, and the remaining two went to Cape Town and Durban. At the time, the LFA was priced at just over R5-million. Of course, the current whereabouts of these cars remain a mystery – though classic car dealership Crossley & Webb in Cape Town recently sold a low mileage example that most likely exceeded the brand-new price tag.
It also has to be noted that only 500 examples were produced in a year-long production run – which equates to roughly 20 units built per month. Also, because of its exclusivity and rarity, the LFA will see plenty of garage time and will be given occasional road time to keep the fluids fresh – not to mention listening to the harmonious sound of the V10 engine. The hand-built naturally aspirated 4.8-litre engine comes with figures of 412kW and 480Nm, bolted to a six-speed sequential gearbox. It is the first production V10 ever produced in Japan that was assembled using high-end materials like carbon fibre, titanium, magnesium, and aluminium.
If you’re wondering, it can do the 0-100km/h sprint in 3.7-seconds and run to a top speed of 326km/h. Even more impressive is that it can rev from 0 to 9 000rpm in a mere 0.6-seconds. From design to mechanics, it’s clear that the LFA is cut from a different cloth and is the culmination of decades of planning and production by model Chief Engineer Haruhiko Tanahashi.
Like the old folks say, seeing (or hearing) one in the flesh is as common as finding a chicken’s teeth.
Now that you’ve got the knowledge, it’s time to shop! Head to gumtree.co.za or your Gumtree app (click for Apple & Android) and don’t forget to use your location settings to find local service information close to home.