Lexus LFA & SC 430 Featured in Top Gear’s Worst Car in the History of the World Special

Last week, Top Gear released their The Worst Car in the History of the World DVD special, and two Lexus cars were featured. This is both good and bad — first off, there’s this segment with the LFA where Jeremy Clarkson calls the Lexus supercar “absolutely perfect” and “bloody brilliant”:

Unfortunately (and unfairly, if I may say), the second Lexus featured does not fare so well. I won’t spoil the ending just yet — jump to 1:01 of this video and see for yourself:

(This video above is the full special, and will not be available on Youtube for much longer. Be sure to watch it while you have the chance.)


Eventually, Jeremy Clarkson & James May name the SC 430 as the “worst car in the history of the world”. This is a laughable decision made to balance out their praise of the LFA — my first instinct is to defend the SC, but the very idea is pure nonsense. Like all Top Gear episodes, it’s in the pursuit of entertainment and not something to take seriously.

(Thanks LF-Eh!)

EuropeLexus LFALexus SC: Second GenerationVideos
  • B
  • November 25, 2012
They got the LFA right, which is what's most important..... BD
    Definitely! As long as they admire the LFA, I'm fine! The SC isn't for them; they never liked it. Oh well. This just made my week!!!
  • V
  • November 25, 2012
As an owner of the original SC, the 2nd-gen didn't appeal to me very much.  It was too rounded and looked rather plain.  Very different it was to low sleek and elegant design of the 1st-gen.  The new convertible feature set it directly against the the Mercedes-Benz SL-Class which at the time was in its R230 body style -- arguably the most beautiful Mercedes in recent decades.  The 2nd-gen SC was doomed for mediocrity from the beginning.  By its fifth MY, it had become rather archaic made evident by the fact that it was one of the last cars to be shipped with a cassette tape deck.  Here's hoping that the next SC will be a true successor to the 1st-gen. 
  • L
  • November 25, 2012
Humorous episode. Well made and entertaining. This particular episode brought back memories of the Peugeot 504 Break Diesel I drove for nearly three months while working in Algeria. The mileage counter only had space for five digits but I was told that the car had a little over 400,000 km on it with the original engine and transmission. It was rather comfortable and even drove well (one of the last RWD Peugeots) and although the body was showing signs of rust and abuse, the car still felt solid and well-made. And for an old diesel it felt rather agile, to. Although I didn't own the car, I did miss it when I had to give it back to the company who lent it to me.
  • M
  • November 26, 2012
They heaps of praises for the LFA makes my day. What an incredible and beautifully made video. "This is not a supercar....this is not a GT car....this is not a sports car.....this is a race car" "Absolutely perfect" "Bloody brilliant" "Beautifully engineered" Wow! I have never heard Clarkson ever get swooned by another car like he finally is after 2 years of refusing to drive it.
As ever with Top Gear its more about the entertainment along the way than the result/outcome, but I always miss it when its not on..   And as said its always beautifully shot.  Nice to see the LFA getting some good press from Clarkson, I do agree that the SC was a bit of a disaster for a Lexus but worst car is stretching it a bit! (Well a lot!)  
  • T
    Thomas .
  • November 26, 2012
The SC really has to be one shitty car. I've never driven one, but all I hear is it's utter crap. Let's not fool ourselves, us Lexus-fans, Lexus can make crap too, sometimes. So dont be all apologetic about it!
  • L
  • November 26, 2012
The stock wheels were ugly, but not worst car in history ugly
  • A
  • November 26, 2012
The LFA is amazing, just like Lexus itself is finally becoming, but the SC is one ugly motherf***
  • F
  • November 27, 2012
I think the main problem with the SC430 was that people didn't know exactly what it was.. It was like a grand tourer not a sports car.. The previous gen SC was good though. But yeah the SC430 just was not right..
Some people just doesn't understand the design of the SC430 .
  • W
  • November 30, 2012
Rather hilariously Jeremy and James have just done the Graham Norton chat show in the UK to be told by Norton that he owned "the worst car" and he loved it!  
    • E
      Ed Cassidy
    • December 14, 2012
    I just got here after spoilers after watching Graham Norton - and yes, I agree, having Graham confess that he owned that car (amongst many others, eg Porsche), and that it was his "favorite" added some doubt with regards to the credibility of Jeremy's decision :)
  • N
  • December 15, 2012
OK, I've driven one of these.  Didn't own it; was driving a colleagues after dropping him at the airport. Driving that car was awful; mismatch of wheel/runflat tire and suspension settings made it a mess on anything but perfect roads.  A surprising amount of body flex; driving over a expansion joint created body judder like I was trying to break the car.  Hitting the gas in a straight line was rapid but not breathtaking.  At the time was told the tires were about $380/each and lasted about 15k miles...this was about 10 years ago. 
  • J
  • April 21, 2013
I would like to know the last year that the SC 430 (old design) was made. I love the old design , not so much the new. Thank you. Josey Hayes
  • H
  • August 20, 2013
Own a SC 430 Pebble Beach Edition..The slowest sports car I've owned, sluggish, but arguably the most comfortable.....Mazda RX-8 6 speed was the fastest..I kid you not...a car you have to learn to drive...
  • A
  • August 26, 2013
Great epsiode - the only thing that was a really off kilter was James May proclaiming the FORD GT to be one of the "worst cars ever made" ......i know Clarkson had one - but i don't think Captin Slow has seen the going rate for the GT these days (and especially the prices the past year or so) .......put it this way - they are laughing all the way to the bank with the way this car holds and increases it's value over time ...... I have been in this car and it is my favorite bar none......and i have driven many exotics over the years .....forget the GT40 and the 60's - this car stands as one of the all time classics ......
  • D
  • September 1, 2014
Interesting that in the US, even early SC430s still have relatively high re-sale. Much higher relative to original price than many luxury convertibles. I think part of that is the Lexus is viewed as uber reliable, and rightly or not, many of the European brands are viewed as being 1) not as reliable; 2) very expensive to fix and maintain; and 3) dealerships are traditionally fewer and farther between. I have a female family member with a 2002 or 2003 pearl white SC430 with the beautiful carmel leather interior, owned since new. Other than the expensive and universally loathed run flat tires, she still loves it over a decade later. I think the retractable hardtop was also a big draw in the early days. Finally, it certain looked different; beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and I think many people like the styling, and perhaps more importantly, in a areas where BMWs and MBs are in every driveway, there is a draw to having something unique. Also, it probably depends on whether you want a true sports car or a simply a distinctive luxury convertible for simple daily driving in sunny parts of the US. I have sat in it, but not driven it, so I can only take the experts word on the major miss on handling/ride. But it did seem reasonably comfortable for a taller person (6'1"), which is not so true of most roadsters. And yes, the back seats are not useful as seats. But, Lexus was hardly alone in this category (for example, the jaguar xk8 did the same). I am sure many disagree, but I have not liked the styling of any of the mercedes convertibles since the retirement if the classic SL in '89. They just look too much like a wedge. BMW had either a rather boring soft-top 3 series or the cool, but tiny Z3, followed by the equally small but more polarizingly styled Z4. The jaguar XK8 was beautiful, IMO, and the XK even moreso. But in the early 2000s, jaguar was seemed as suspect in the US, and the X-type didn't help. Many viewed them as a sharp shell with questionable mechanics and (especially) electronics. Maybe a glass half-empty view, but people didn't want to pay big $ for a ford in a nice dress, and were wary of jags bc of their poor reputation for reliability. I think that today, the tide has turned, and Jaguar has a much better reputation here; I believe they are now viewed as having the reliability of a much improved and progressive Ford Co., and the beauty and style of Jaguar. That they are still built in England is also a plus, working to reinforce that Jaguar is still a classy British brand, that has benefitted from some of Ford's billions of resources, tech and r&d, while not losing its soul (at least in terms of their convertibles). Point being, the Lexus SC430 found a niche in the US market with affluent baby-boomers and empty nesters who wanted something distinct, comfortable (at least on the inside), and sporty looking (not to be confused with a true performance sports car), that could be a dependable every day driver and weekend cruiser. 0-60 in ~6.2 s (about the same as a 02 Porsche Boxster) and top speed of 155 mph was more than adequate, and probably overkill for most. And finally, with regards to original cost vs resale, the SC430 has faired very well compared to many other luxury convertibles of the time. Following these online, you can expect to pay considerably more for a nice 2002-2005 SC430 than the same year jaguar xk8, despite the ca. $30k higher original price tag of the latter. Similarly massive depreciation in BMW 6-series convertibles, Boxsters, Z4s etc. My impression is that in terms of resale as a % of orig cost, the Lexus is one of the best. So that must mean there is still a lot of demand vs supply for these cars. It is also worth noting that early on, it was compared very favorably against much more expensive competitors ( ) and owners reviews on KBB are still 9.6/10 for this model year ( ). Overall, I can appreciate that the folks from Top Gear were disappointed in what the SC430 was compared to what they thought it could/should be. But, I think that naming it the worst car in history is a big stretch. Maybe, "car that disappointed us the most" or "the car that most broke our heart," I could buy, because those things can be true without meaning that it was, in absolute terms, the worst car in history. We would understand if Billy Joel said Christy Brinkley was his most disappointing relationship, if Jennifer Aniston said Brad Pitt broke her heart like no one else, but that is not the same as saying either was "the worst spouse in the history of the world." We are not talking Pontiac Aztecs, Ford Pintos, Chevy Chevettes, or Yugos here. Would I buy one? I doubt it, but that's because it doesn't seem to be quite "my type." But I, and I am guessing a whole lot of other people, wouldn't kick one out of bed either.
  • R
    Robert Nichols
  • October 31, 2014
but in their defence the sc430 is absolute rubbish