As summer fades to grey, there’s just time to grab a soft-top such as this, a Lexus SC430. It’s not the prettiest on the block but you won’t fault its quality, especially if you buy a facelifted one such as the 2006/06- reg we found for £10,495. (It cost around £60,000 when new.)
Lexus SC430, £10,495: Earlier cars had a brittle and lumpy ride and mediocre handling, partly cured by changes to the suspension in 2002 but properly fixed in 2004. Then in 2006, the model was treated to fresh bumpers and new 18in alloy wheels.
The SC430 was launched in 2001. It’s powered by a silky 4.3-litre V8, producing 282bhp and driving the rear wheels through a five-speed automatic gearbox. The folding roof is aluminium (it takes a yawning 25 seconds to do its thing) and the 2+2 cabin is trimmed in wood and leather. Talking of luxury, the climate control system can detect whether the roof is open or closed and manage the flow of air to suit. There’s also a powerful Mark Levinson sound system and powered and heated seats. We’ll gloss over the touchscreen system and satnav, items now best off in a museum.
Owners tend to be enthusiasts tuned into the value and quality of their cars, so you’ll rarely find a dud SC430. Still, you can never be too careful. Trouble spots are the cooling system and gearbox oil cooler, which can leak fluid into each other, and the timing belt tensioner. The gearbox fluid should be changed every 45,000 miles. Rust can take hold around the rear underside, including the subframe, and tired seals can hobble the hood. Inside, check the door speakers are working.