New or Used: Shifting the 5-speed Lexus to a New Owner?

Sajeev Mehta and Steve Lang
by Sajeev Mehta and Steve Lang
new or used shifting the 5 speed lexus to a new owner

George writes:

Hello again, Steven,

You may recall our email last March regarding our 1992 Lexus SC300 5-Speed. Thanks for the reply; guess the timing was bad for you with tax time coming up. As you may recall, the car is all original, black with gray interior, looks and runs great, and has slightly less than 25K miles. Here’s the back story:

In 1994 my wife Jane went back to college and decided our Avanti II air conditioning was not cool for mid-day use in Tucson. We sold the Avanti and bought her dream, a 1992 SC300 5-speed, VIN JT8JZ31C1N0004164, Black with Gray interior, only 10,700 miles. We purchased the car in May 1994 from a detailer who had bought it at auction after the original owner drove it partway into a Phoenix, Arizona, flash flood. (The water reached the floor under the rear seat and partway up the engine, but never into it.) The detailer dried everything out and we have never had a bit of trouble with electrics or mechanical. The car was given a ‘restored/salvage’ title in Arizona which carried to a California ‘salvage’ title when we moved here in 1997.

Jane commuted to Jr. College for a year, and we used the car for pleasure through 1995. But from 1997 on it has been garaged with a cover and seldom driven, so it now has only 24,850 actual miles. This car is all original (including CD changer and phone), smells and looks new (even the light covers sparkle!). It has a few dings and scratches (see photos) but runs great (just passed CA Smog Test with flying colors in January).

Unfortunately, we’ve gotten used to riding in a taller (read SUV) vehicle and think its time to give the baby a good home. From your columns I see you are an auction buyer and dealer, so I hope you can give me good advice on how best to market this rarity. I’m also looking for advice from Lexus Club forums, but much of their emphasis is on highly modified SCs in the “drifting” game.

Any suggestions will be appreciated.

Steve answers:

That’s one helluva story. So tell it.

Put the vehicle on Ebay. Take 24 good pictures of the vehicle and make sure to include plenty of good pictures of the interior. I usually perform a ‘walk around’ which consists of starting at the front of the vehicle, taking another of the entire car while you face the driver’s bumper, a close up of the front driver quarter panel, exterior driver door, driver side door panel, drivers seat, dashboard, and so forth. The goal is to give people the experience of actually being there.

One other important Ebay tip. If the car has a blemish, show it and mention that in the ad as well. You will actually get more money for telling the truth and providing disclosure,than taking pictures through rose colored lenses.

I would also put the vehicle on Craigslist, Autotrader Ebay, and perhaps even consider visiting a local ‘classic’ car show and displaying the car with a sign that says, 24,850 actual miles. I have seen everything from a GMC Typhoons to a Merkur XR4TI sell at local car shows. Plus your car should be appealing to an older clientele that values it as more than just as a drifter car.

Good luck!

Sajeev answers:

What a machine! You are making this Lincoln Mark VIII owner a little jealous!

Steve’s advice is good, but there are better places to advertise a Lexus so wonderful. Hemmings is a good place to start, just ask this SC owner! Also consider Bring a Trailer, then do that eBay auction and email the people behind the Lexus Enthusiast with a hyperlink and a letter with genuine concern for finding a buyer who will love it. Hell, even Autoblog will print it, they’ll post any POS just to get more clicks! (I kid! I kid because I love!)

Virally speaking, both the Lexus Enthusiast and Autoblog could easily blog about it with some good, “web traffic juicy” photos of the SC via eBay. And the SC will sell to the right person for a reasonable price. It just takes a lot of word-of-mouth to make it happen. So make it happen!

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2 of 30 comments
  • Bob65688581 Small by American standards, this car is just right for Europe, and probably China, although I don't really know, there. Upscale small cars don't exist in the US because Americans associate size and luxury, so it will have a tough time in the States... but again Europe is used to such cars. Audi has been making "small, upscale" since forever. As usual, Americans will miss an opportunity. I'll buy one, though!Contrary to your text, the EX30 has nothing whatsoever to do with the XC40 or C40, being built on a dedicated chassis.
  • Tassos Chinese owned Vollvo-Geely must have the best PR department of all automakers. A TINY maker with only 0.5-0.8% market share in the US, it is in the news every day.I have lost count how many different models Volvo has, and it is shocking how FEW of each miserable one it sells in the US market.Approximately, it sells as many units (TOTAL) as is the total number of loser models it offers.
  • ToolGuy Seems pretty reasonable to me. (Sorry)
  • Luke42 When I moved from Virginia to Illinois, the lack of vehicle safety inspections was a big deal to me. I thought it would be a big change.However, nobody drives around in an unsafe car when they have the money to get their car fixed and driving safely.Also, Virginia's inspection regimine only meant that a car was safe to drive one day a year.Having lived with and without automotive safety inspections, my confusion is that they don't really matter that much.What does matter is preventing poverty in your state, and Illinois' generally pro-union political climate does more for automotive safety (by ensuring fair wages for tradespeople) than ticketing poor people for not having enough money to maintain their cars.
  • ToolGuy When you are pulled over for speeding, whether you are given a ticket or not should depend on how attractive you are.Source: My sister 😉