My “Cool Mom” and her Lexus SC430 Convertible

Credit: Original article published by Classic Cars Journal.

Mothers may not realize it, but they are huge automotive influencers. After all, it was my mom’s 1990 Integra GS sedan that ignited my lifelong passion for the Acura brand when I was just 14 years old. In honor of Mother’s Day, let’s look a little more closely at my mom’s current set of hot wheels.

Mom’s Integra

During a recent interview with entrepreneur Gary Duncan, who has spent his life in the automotive business and currently has a 1,000-plus car inventory of Japanese classic cars, I asked him to name a few cars that he thought will be future collectibles. He named off a handful of vehicles that he considered “future collectible,” and one of them was the second-generation Lexus SC430 (from model years 2001 through 2010).

Definitely a cool Mom

The original Lexus SC launched in 1992 as a grand-touring luxury coupe from Toyota’s luxury brand. We recently featured an exceptional example of a first-year SC from this era as a Pick of the Day. A second generation, dubbed the “Z40” chassis, debuted nine years later for the 2001 model year with some dramatic advancements: Most notably, the luxo-coupe became a convertible with a retractable aluminum hardtop as opposed to a having a fixed roof. The SC was advanced – and some would say even over-engineered. The interior boasted gloss woodgrain trim panels what would electronically retract to cover things like the navigation screen at the top of the center-dash.

Power for the new SC was ramped up, too. The inline-six option was dropped, and the 4.0-liter V8 was upsized to a 4.3-liter that was good for 288 horsepower and 317 lb-ft of torque. The only available transmission for the initial model years was a five-speed automatic, but beginning in 2006, it became a six-speed. Production of the SC was phased out after mid-2010, although Lexus went on to offer other coupes including the RC and LC in later years.

The month before my mom’s 59th birthday in 2021, she had been feeling the itch for a convertible in her life to take advantage of the beautiful weather in southern Utah. We found a primo 2003 SC430 listed for sale in Phoenix with just 35,230 miles on the odometer. Painted “Super Red,” this SC was priced around $20,000 but had all the right trimmings of a cream puff including lots of service records and a perfect saddle-colored interior. While not everyone’s cup of tea, it also had rare optional 18-inch TRD (Toyota Racing Development) chrome-finished wheels.

We sealed a deal with the seller, Chris, and five days after the purchase, I drove it to Utah to make the delivery. That was two years ago last month, and mom is still happily cruising around in her SC430.

Fun side note: It’s fitting that just one year after mom’s Lexus was built, the 2004 teen comedy film “Mean Girls” came out. One of the key characters in that film was a beige Lexus SC. We took the liberty of re-creating a scene from the movie where the SC takes center stage. “Get in loser, we’re going shopping.”

Another scene from that same movie yields the quote, “I’m not like a regular mom; I’m a cool mom.” Well, I think my mom is the definition of cool. Little did we know that she was so in tune with the collector marketplace! Her SC430 is now 20 years old, making it officially a classic (or at least a future classic) with increasing recognition.

What are some of your most memorable mom-rides from growing up? Let us know in the comment section!