You’re passing a dealership compound. You see the rows of new cars and your mind registers the fact without really taking any interest. There’s a range of consumer white goods, so similar that you can swap the badges and play whassat? all day.

Then you catch a fleeting image of a sharp edge. a low slung silhouette. It lingers on the retina like afterglow from a lightning bolt. Something that does not belong in the herd. A Kamm tail, a slash of black glass against hunched flanks. Surely not? It can’t be? Your head snaps round for a second look. Its gone.

At this point you shrug your shoulders and carry on with your journey. What you think you saw, was just a glitch in the matrix. After all, Lexus wouldn’t leave their Halo car sitting at the back of a car lot. You have places to be and things to do. You are not sad enough to abandon your plans, carve up three lanes of traffic pull a slightly, moody U turn, and  spend the next ten minutes trying to loop back to a road you don’t know, get lost, wind up in a dead end, and shout at Google maps. I do all of this.

I find the road, still disbelieving, until I see its broad, squared  off derriere mooning at the passing traffic.  I dump my car in a bus stop to stumble over broken pavement until I reach the fence wire. I grip the strands with my fingers peering in like a simp fanboy  trying to catch a glimpse of his hero. It’s covered in dust. Odd bits of litter surround it. I see the triangular port for the triple exhausts. I see the badge on the right wing.
One of 500 in the world. The car that engineer Haruhiko Tanahashi pleaded to build. A car that Akio Toyoda, quietly insisted be made. The car refined and perfected on the Nurburgring  through the talent and energies of the warrior monk, Hiromu Naruse. The car that led to the creation of Gazoo racing. The car Akio Toyoda himself, against all protocols, secretly raced. The car that gave Tanahashi the right to look Maranello in the eye. The car that Naruse died in.

A 200mph supercar, truly blessed with a 4.8 litre, Yamaha tweaked V10 with individual throttle bodies and a 9000rpm redline, acoustically tuned to produce a shrieking spinal tap of aural pleasure. The car that was a sensation at its debut, then took five years to produce. First created in aluminium then paused, so Toyota could learn how to build in carbon fibre; because, Kaizen- the discipline of continuous improvement to attain perfection.

The car that failed. A car bespoke in nearly every aspect, started with a key that could’ve come from a Camry. The car that at its inception was streets ahead of the world. The car that when finally released, found the world had moved on, and caught up. A car that faced a raft of competition that stole its glory. The car that cost Toyota a billion dollars. The LFA, a car that was too much, too late.

I’m standing on the wrong side of the fence taking crappy pictures through the wire. Its 38 degrees with a ton and a half of humidity, and there’s no rainbow at the end of this story. This is a car I will never own, never experience its poise and nuance, never have my soul imbued by the rhapsody of that V10 climbing to 9000rpm. Paris Hilton owned one – what’s Japanese for schadenfreude?

credit Lexus magazine

What is Lexus thinking leaving their classic supermodel festering in a backyard surrounded by everyday kibble?  They must hate it,  just like the accountants who tried to kill it. They’re insulting Akio Toyoda, disrespecting Tanahashi, and trampling on the legacy of Naruse. This car was hand built. crafted by engineers and a cadre of skilled, honorable artisans dedicated to excellence. It’s a Ming vase, a Faberge egg, it’s a Samurai blade forged in carbon fibre. Lexus, you had the nerve to inflict the HS250h on the world, for all that is holy in the name of Kaizen, park this 200mph masterpiece in your showroom.

The car world woke up late. Now the best ones change hands for a million quid. The ‘investors’ have found them. I hope some are still in the hands of enthusiasts who appreciate it for what it is. It’s not the fastest, the prettiest or the most lauded. It’s not meant for clickbait. It’s a driver’s car. You love it for what it delivers. You love it for its back story.

A moment in time, when the bean counters and the Board got cancelled by the guys who spent their lives refining golf carts for suburbia. Guys who knocked back some beers, said Banzai!, and spunked the budget on a dream. They delivered. No one cared. Life’s cruel. Same reason I’m standing on the wrong side of this fence wishing I owned an LFA.

*Cherry blossom car
A bespoke howling beauty
Causes fevered dreams


*Yes , I wrote a Haiku for a car. Do Itashimashite, Lexus

Images Steve Swanson
Additional Images uncredited via Lexus magazine

About The Author

Steve Swanson

Steve turns any opportunity to write about cars into a roadtrip. It's seen him ride shotgun in a Bentley Blower with Clive Cussler, and cross paths with automotive YouTubers in Canada and the US. His work has been published in Magneto, Classic Cars, Classic American and some magazines that no MotorPunk reader has ever heard of. When he's not writing or driving you can find him kicking tyres at seedy auctions and hawking junk optimistically described as Automobilia

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