- Offered from the Fox Collection
- The legendary LFA’s most exclusive and desirable edition; one of 25 U.S.-delivery Nürburgring Package examples
- Features 562-hp, 4.8-liter V10 with 9,000 rpm redline, lightweight BBS wheels and numerous aerodynamic enhancements
- Rarely seen black over a black interior; driven fewer than 930 miles from new
- Accompanied by delivery documents, window sticker, and LFA accessories including luggage, spare keys, crystal block, charger, and Scott Pruett Lexus Racing gloves
|Vehicle:||2012 Lexus LFA Nürburgring Package|
|Number Produced:||500 total (LFA, 436; LFA Nürburgring Package, 64)|
|SCM Valuation:||LFA, $428,000; LFA Nürburgring Package, $912,500|
|Tune Up Cost:||$1,500 (annual maintenance service)|
|Chassis Number Location:||Driver’s side firewall|
|Engine Number Location:||Front of engine, left cylinder bank|
|Club Info:||Lexus Owners Club|
|Alternatives:||2011 Ferrari 599 GTO, 2011 Porsche 911 GT3 RS 4.0, 2013 Nissan GT-R NISMO|
|Investment Grade:||C (LFA), B (LFA Nürburgring Package)|
This car, Lot 313, sold for $1,600,000, including buyer’s premium, at RM Sotheby’s Monterey auction on August 14, 2021.
As indicated in RM Sotheby’s Monterey catalog, this Lexus LFA Nürburgring Package was presented in an “as-new” state. Rarity, condition, color, mileage and its no-reserve offering as part of a spectacular collection all contributed to this remarkable result, a world-record price for an LFA. An intriguing question remains: What happens when the value of a particular automobile is intimately related to remaining motionless?
An unexpected supercar
The LFA is a dazzling machine built to showcase the high-tech capabilities of Toyota’s Lexus brand. Its birth was particularly shocking because a supercar from Lexus was thoroughly unimaginable before development began in 2000. Nine years in the making, the production LFA was introduced at the 2009 Tokyo Motor Show.
The LFA was designed as a rear-drive, front-mid-engine automobile with a transaxle hung behind the driver. The car’s engineering was particularly advanced, with a carbon-fiber-reinforced polymer (CFRP) tub with aluminum subframes fore and aft. The use of CFRP shed 220 pounds while significantly increasing the car’s stiffness. Instead of outsourcing the highly technical polymer construction to a supplier, Toyota performed all the CFRP work in-house at enormous expense.
The silhouette of the LFA resulted from a partnership between Lexus’ styling and engineering departments. Aerodynamics was a critical consideration, and the final shape produced a drag coefficient of 0.31Cd. A rear wing deploys at 50 mph to provide extra rear downforce.
To propel this supercar, Lexus and Yamaha worked together developing a 4.8-liter, DOHC, dry-sump, 72-degree V10 engine equipped with titanium rods and valves, and forged-aluminum pistons. The LFA engine is a wondrous piece of engineering, producing 552 hp at 8,700 rpm. Equipped with an automated Aisin 6-speed, single-clutch, paddle-shift gearbox, the 3,263-pound LFA thundered from 0 to 60 mph in just 3.7 seconds. With just 5.9 pounds per horsepower, the LFA was a legitimate 202-mph missile that scored multiple class endurance victories at the Nürburgring.
As if 436 examples of the built-to-order LFA were not exclusive enough, Lexus also produced an additional 64 units of the special LFA Nürburgring Package. This included a bevy of carbon-fiber components including a revised front splitter, nose winglets and a larger fixed rear wing. In addition, ride height was lower by 0.4 inches and these cars received lightweight BBS wheels, a revised gearbox for quicker shifts, and a slightly hotter engine that produced an additional 10 hp. While the LFA base price was $375,000, the LFA Nürburgring Package cost $445,000. It is commonplace for Japanese manufacturers to create a plethora of special editions, models and packages, so it is noteworthy that Lexus’ LFA offered just one.
It is no secret in the hobby that a well-presented cohesive collection of automobiles, carefully curated by a fastidious collector, is a formula for auction success. Some believe, as do I, that a no-reserve platform heightens excitement and therefore promotes strong hammer prices.
The Larry Fox Collection followed the formula, with eight of its 11 offerings selling well above high estimates, and three selling at the upper end of the estimate. As a group, the overall result was extremely strong.
Always of interest
The Lexus LFA has always been a car of interest to collectors and has largely maintained a market valuation above its original MRSP. Between 2017 and 2020, nice examples of the LFA sold for $350,000 to $450,000. During the same time frame, examples of the LFA Nürburgring Package traded hands in the $750,000 to $900,000 range. Generally speaking, the LFA Nürburgring Package has had a value of twice that of the standard car.
The market appeared to take a dramatic step up in May 2021, when LFA430, driven just 494 miles from new, sold at RM Sotheby’s Amelia Island auction for $720,000, including buyer’s premium (SCM# 6946069). Similarly, LFA184, with just 72 miles on the odometer, sold on Bring a Trailer on July 2, 2021, for $813,000, including commission (SCM# 6946135). Whether the LFA market suddenly hit the nitro button, or these unprecedented prices were merely driven by ultra-low-mileage examples remains to be seen.
Cars as motionless collectibles
We naturally seek out and collect objects of rarity and intrigue. In the case of collectible coins and stamps, physical possession represents much of the hobbyist experience, with the monetary value of the artifact inversely related to its degree of apparent use. Wine represents a particularly intriguing collectible because once the cork is popped and the wine is set in motion, its value declines precipitously.
In contrast to coins, stamps, and wine, collectible cars in many cases have allowed us to experience the automobile in motion, as it was intended, without meaningful degradation to value, so long as the car has been well cared for. In fact, the car hobby has encouraged this usage with various driving events conducted across the globe.
This brings us full circle to our subject car, Nürburgring Package LFA303, which rolled out of the Motomachi plant in March 2012 to find its first owner through Motor City Lexus of Bakersfield, CA. This car later sold for $918,500, including buyer’s premium, at the January 2019 Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale sale (SCM# 6891247), having covered just 885 miles. A little more than two years later, this same car showing 926 miles set its world-record price not only for an LFA, but also for any Japanese production car. (Sorry, Toyota 2000GT fans.)
LFA303 has been piloted less than 10 miles per month since new. Thus far, it appears to be more of a financial instrument than a supercar to enjoy. New sectors of the collector-car world are ever emerging, and sub-1,000-mile hypercars represent a real and expanding marketplace. Are we looking at a future where a growing number of fabled machines provide only visual pleasure?
Lexus LFA303 was well bought, so long as the new custodian plans not to drink from the juice of this splendid automobile. To do otherwise would be both joyous and expensive. ♦
(Introductory description courtesy of RM Sotheby’s.)