Friday, 13 January 2012

SPIED: Lexus LFA Roadster?

Before we begin, I'd like to point out that the same site where I found this also has a video of the Ferrari Codename F152 prototype I reported on a couple of days ago.

Is it a custom job? Is it a surprise unveiling of a new special edition? Who knows. Not even Carscoop, who hosted the video originally, can shed any real light on it, but what can definitely be said is that this video contains a fully-functional Lexus LFA Roadster. 47 seconds into the video above, it appears sideways, barking a glorious bark out of those three exhausts, proving that whatever it is, the 1LR-GUE 4.8-litre V10 is present and correct. Lovely. It was spied at a D1GP start-up event (D1 is the premier drifting series in the home of drifting), gliding into view after a Toyota AE86 finishes teaching its new grandson a few tricks.

It wouldn't be unusual for a convertible version of the LFA to be made officially by Toyo-- I mean, er, Lexus. When Alfa Romeo made the 500-unit 8C Competizione, its popularity lead them to produce a Spyder version, again with 500 cars. The same is true of the almost-a-Gallardo Audi R8 GT, as well as the actually-a-Gallardo Lamborghini LP570-4 Superleggera, although they had the decency of renaming that one, to Performante. So, as I say, it wouldn't be unusual. But, Lexus put so much money and effort into each one of their 500 LFA supercars (including 50 Nürburgring Editions) that they actually don't make any money on any of them, so one could argue, why do it if it won't make money? I daresay Alfa, Audi and Lamborghini did make money, so the situation is a little different. On the third hand, wherever that is, Volkswa-- I mean, er, Bugatti actually post a loss on each Veyron they make, and they made tons of limited editions, including a convertible. One commenter on Jalopnik reckons the simple fixed rollover bar means it's a one-off custom job and not a production model.

It's like a Japanese version of Outrun
Tricky to decipher indeed. Carscoop pledge to inform us of any developments in this story, so I will endeavour to pass them on. There are also photos from the event here.

Edit (14/1): After running the Japanese site above through Google Translate, it says that the car was "converted to open-top", so I'm pretty sure it's just a one-off. Given the attention to detail in this car, a simple roof chop and fixed basket-handle rollbar wouldn't make sense as something Toyota/Lexus would do with this special car of theirs.

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