Lexus LFA vs. Scion FR-S: Which is More Important to Enthusiasts?
If you were to present Michelangelo with his own finished sculpture of David he’d be hard pressed to find something about it to make better and would maybe respond, “yea, I’d definitely change his hair, yea that’s what I’d change”. The result would be something only people with a detective ‘Monk’-level of attention to detail would notice. Likewise, if you put in front of him a blank slab of marble he would chisel out yet another masterpiece. PHOTOS: See more of the Lexus LFA This idea of a blank canvas versus a finished work of art brings me to the argument at hand. Which is more significant to the performance community: the masterpiece Lexus LFA or the blank canvas Scion FR-S?
In 2010, Lexus presented to the world the LFA– the insane, rev-happy V10 super car that we know and love today. So much development went into the project, on top of being scrapped and resurrected, that even at $375,000 Lexus still looses money on every car sold. That depressing fact aside, there is no doubt that this is a true performance car, a stock version competed in the 24 hour Nurburgring race and won first in its class. The success of the stock racer was recognized by the parent company Toyota and in turn is developing an FIA GT-spec racer (which you can drool over, here). And that’s the point; what can they do to it to make it any better? Sure, for the race they’ll strip it out and add more horsepower, but that won’t be street legal and won’t resemble anything that is.
PHOTOS: See more of the Scion FR-S
The LFA is a perfect example of out-of-the-box performance; it’s a great showcase of what Toyota R&D can do. But when the few tuners who can get their paws on one can, the inevitable will happen. A few more horsepower and stiffer suspension will give birth to something very few people will experience and only trained drivers will notice.
Enter the Scion FR-S. Across the pond it’s sold as the Toyota GT-86, which is a reincarnation of the iconic AE86. Both cars then and now are solid front engine, rear-wheel drive cars with great baseline performance, but more importantly, potential. I give you your blank canvas. Tuners loved the AE86 for its ability to be molded to what they wanted it to be. And that was one of the ideas behind FR-S, to employ a willingness to be crafted. The FR-S has performance for the masses and lets the discovery of horsepower come from the community. Yes, there are other tunable cars out there, like the Honda Civic, but if we’re talking blank canvases then the Civic is a cave wall and the FR-S is finely stretched cloth over a wooden frame. The FR-S is already a great drivers car with which tuners can learn and innovate. In turn, the performance community grows and advances technology that is accessible to nearly everyone and not just the R&D department at some Japanese corporation.
Art galleries are perfect places to find inspiration and to influence rising young artists. That said, there is not much they can learn from the final product hanging on the wall behind a velvet rope. Culture grows because young artists go out and make their own art with what’s available and learn for themselves. Technology like the LFA is a great example from which to draw inspiration, but the FR-S gives aspiring tuners and engineers something to craft for themselves. In which case, Jackson Pollock looses out to the street artist, performing for loose change.