4 Reasons to Buy a Lexus SC300 / SC400 Today

Have you ever wanted to own a Lexus SC300? Better yet, have you ever wanted to own a Toyota Supra? A lot of car enthusiasts don’t even know what the Lexus SC is. It’s stuck in the Supra’s shadow, so no one really seems to talk about. But, there are four good reasons why you should go out and buy one today.

4. Toyota Supra

If you’re new to the SC300 and SC400, then you probably don’t realize that they are closely related to the Toyota Supra. The S300’s 2JZ engine is sourced directly from the Supra, as well as its transmission. They also share subframes, which means they share the same suspension. They also share the same braking system, as well as lots of the same electronics. Mechanically speaking, the SC300 and SC400 are nearly identical to the Toyota Supra in every single way.

Also Read: 1JZ vs 2JZ: Which One is Better and Why?

I’m sure you are aware of the Supra being a tuner icon, which means that the aftermarket parts list is literally almost endless. Almost any aftermarket part that will bolt on to a Toyota Supra will also bolt onto an SC300, and any non-engine related parts will bolt on to an SC400. Plus, have you seen the prices for the MK4 Supra? It’s just like the 240SX’s “Drift Tax”, you’re paying way extra just because the car is popular in JDM culture. Even if the car is beaten to hell, it’ll be priced fairly high just because it can sell for that much. Ever since the first Fast and Furious, the MK4 Supra has skyrocketed in value. I would rather have its much cheaper little brothers, the SC300 and SC400.

3. Styling

Whether you love or hate the styling of the SC300/SC400, there’s no denying it’s unique. It screams “I’m a sports car!” with its long hood and low roofline, but has a classy and elegant look. There’s not a car on the market today that has such an elegant style, Toyota really knew what they were doing in the ’90s. There isn’t a super strong resemblance to the Supra, but you can tell that they’re related. If the SC300/SC400 came with a larger rear wing I think it would look like a little Supra, and probably be way more popular in the car community.

Check Out: LS1 vs LS3: Which One is Actually Better?

There are few body lines on the SC, and they are are very subtle. It’s as elegant as a car could ever be. It’s almost weird to call this car JDM because it looks so german to me. It just doesn’t look like a tuner type of car. I think that’s what makes it so special, it’s a weird mix of JDM heritage and extremely elegant styling. David Patterson (ThatDudeInBlue) recently reviewed an SC300, and he also says it’s a very elegant and beautiful car.

2. Over-Engineered Luxury

Toyota was known for the extreme over-engineering in the ’90s, that’s why the Supra was so costly and ended up going out of production. So take that same over-engineering, and combine it with a luxury car, and you’ll end up with a Lexus SC. Not too many cars from the ’90s had memory seats, power seats, power everything, beautiful wood trim, and very subtle leather. The SC300 and SC400 were pretty top of the line back then, combining incredible sound deadening, beautiful interior, and great ride quality. The same over-engineered luxury featured made their way to the Lexus LS400, winning it loads of awards for being such an amazing, luxurious car.

Check Out: RB26 vs 2JZ: Which One is Better and Why?

Even little things like the door hinges are ridiculously over-engineered. Don’t believe me? Check out the picture below, the hinges are a double hinge design.

LexusDoorHinge

There is a zillion other little things like that are ridiculously over-engineered like the door hinges. Lexus built the SC300 and SC400 as a next-level luxury sports couple. The SC300 and SC400 are still just as nice, if not nicer than most luxury cars today.

1. Engines

As mentioned earlier, the SC300 has its 2JZ-GE engine sourced directly from the Toyota Supra. The 2JZ is an excellent motor, holding up to extremely high horsepower on stock internals is a pretty impressive feat. Plus, with the aftermarket that the Toyota Supra has created, getting your SC300 over 400 horsepower is super. Slap on a big turbo, head studs, better fuel system, and you’ll be making north of 400whp like its nothing.

But, the SC400 has the 1UZ engine. It’s not too often that Japanese cars come with a V8, and man is it cool to see Japan make one. The 1UZ is known for running forever, Matt Farah from The Smoking Tire has his “Million-Mile Lexus”, an LS400 which he is attempting to push past 1 million miles.

Also Read: Here’s Why The 1UZ is so Awesome

The 1UZ-FE was a technological feat for production cars. It was one was one the first DOHC V8 engines that was actually reliable and in a car that wasn’t insanely expensive. Lexus designed the 1UZ to be a very strong and reliable engine. The 1UZ’s short stroke and big bore allow it to rev to the moon. Think of it almost like a 1990s Ford Coyote engine. It also has 6-bolt main caps, which the Chevy LS is often praised for.

In its last form the 1UZ had a 10.5 compression ratio, as well as Toyota’s VVT-i, and it made 300 horsepower. That’s a pretty impressive amount of horsepower considering its small displacement. If you think about it, the 1UZ is basically a 4.0L version of Ford’s Coyote engine. Not only is the 1UZ really reliable, it also makes decent power especially considering its only a 4.0L.

Summary

The Lexus SC is basically a nicer, more luxurious Toyota Supra. But, unlike the Supra, you have multiple engine choices. Plus, the SC is was cheaper than an MK4 Supra. Even by today’s standards the SC300 is an extremely nice car, and with prices so low, now is the time to get one for yourself

SC300 vs SC400
So, you’ve decided that you definitely want one of these cars, totally understandable. But, now you’re stuck with a decision: SC300 or SC400? Considering both platforms are completely identical other than powertrain, the SC300 is the better option. I know the 1UZ is an awesome engine, but there is no denying that the 2JZ is better especially on a budget. Coming from someone who owned an SC400, get an SC300 if you plan on getting an SC at all.

1UZFE: Everything You Want to Know

The 1UZFE is the first in the Toyota UZ family. Toyota designed this new 4.0L V8 to replace the outdated Toyota 5V. The 1UZFE was a highly advanced V8 engine, that now has a cult following. Just the LS family, the UZ family has been heavily modified and is known very well among the tuner community.

1UZ-FE: Engine Basics

If you didn’t already know, the 1UZFE was a pretty advanced engine when it came out. Very few V8’s at the time were DOHC, with 32 valves. The 1UZFE is arguably the first ever reliable DOHC V8, which is completely believable since most DOHC V8’s before it was in exotic cars.

The cylinder block of the 1UZFE is aluminum and is a 90* V8. The cylinder heads are also made of aluminum. Like I mentioned before, it is a dual overhead camshaft engine, with 32 valves (4 valves per cylinder). Unfortunately, the 1UZFE doesn’t have hydraulic lifters, so it needs periodic valve adjustments.

RELATED: Toyota 2UZ-FE: Everything You Need to Know

1UZFE4

Later versions of the 1UZFE received Toyota’s VVT-i system, which improved horsepower and fuel economy. A nice feature about the 1UZFE is that if the timing belt breaks, the valves will not interfere with the pistons. A broken timing belt won’t cause your engine to self-destruct.

  • Production: 1989-2002
  • Cylinder Block Material: Aluminum
  • Cylinder Head Material: Aluminum
  • Valve train: DOHC, 4 valves per cylinder
  • Stroke: 82.5mm
  • Bore: 87.5mm
  • Compression Ratio: 10:1 – 10.5:1 (VVT-i)
  • Displacement: 3969cc
  • Redline: 6,200 – 6,500 rpm (VVT-i)
  • Weight: 364 lbs

Cars That Came With The 1UZ

The 1UZFE came in a variety of Toyota cars, ranging from sports cars to luxury cars. Toyota equipped the 1UZ in the Lexus GS400, LS400, and SC400. The 1UZFE was also equipped in the Toyota Aristo, Celsior, Crown, and Soarer. I owned an SC400 for a while and loved how to engine felt in that car.

RELATED: Toyota 3UZ-FE: Everything You Need to Know

1UZFE3

  • Lexus GS400
  • Lexus LS400
  • Lexus SC400
  • Toyota Aristo
  • Toyota Celsior
  • Toyota Crown
  • Toyota Soarer

1UZ-FE: Performance Data

Like I mentioned before, the 1UZFE has come in a couple different forms over the years. Engine changes such as VVT-i increased the horsepower.

  • 256 horsepower @ 5,400 rpm
  • 260 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm

Toyota added higher compression ratio pistons

  • 261 horsepower @ 5,400 rpm
  • 269 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm

Toyota developed their VVT-i to work on the 1UZFE

  • 290 horsepower @ 5,900 rpm
  • 300 lb-ft of torque @ 4,100 rpm

Toyota added a few revisions

  • 300 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
  • 310 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm

As you might be able to tell from these numbers, the VVT-i system worked wonders of the 1UZFE. The VVT-i system added 40 horsepower, and 40 lb-ft of torque. Most notably, the VVT-i system brought the peak torque down 400 rpm, making the car much more fun to drive around the street.

1UZ-FE: Tuning Potential

If you’re a car guy or car gal, then this is the part you’ve been waiting for. How can this engine be tuned to make more horsepower than factory? Well, naturally aspirated builds can reach as high as 400 horsepower, but costs a fortune, and is hard to build.

RELATED: Nissan VH45DE: Everything You Need to Know

1UZFE1

The Terminator Cobra supercharger or Eaton M90 is a common addition the 1UZFE. With additional changes such as fuel injectors and an exhaust, the 1UZFE can make 350+ horsepower @ 6 psi. Building the bottom end with lower compression ratio pistons, the 1UZFE can make 400+ horsepower @ 10 psi.

1UZFE2

Turbo kits are available for most cars that came equipped with the 1UZFE, but they need a built bottom end to survive. Much like other great Toyota engines (1JZ, 2JZ, etc.), the stock 1UZFE block is good for over 1,000 horsepower.

1UZ-FE vs VH45DE

The 1UZ is undoubtedly the best in the UZ family, but how does it stack up against the competition? Nissan’s VH45DE is the only real competitor to the 1UZ-FE. Both are dual overhead cam, both have a displacement of less than 4.6L, and both came from Japan. Both were designed for luxury cars.

The VH45DE made a pretty impressive 278 horsepower and 294 lb-ft of torque. This was pretty impressive at the time, but not as impressive as the power level of the 1UZ-FE. Like I mentioned above, the 1UZ made 300 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque at its best. That’s 22 horsepower and 16 lb-ft more than the VH45DE, while also being .5L smaller in displacement.

RELATED: Ford Modular vs Chevy LS: Which One is Actually Better?

They’re both fairly expensive to swap, and pretty expensive to make high horsepower. However, the 1UZ’s higher horsepower out of the factory really makes it more impressive in my opinion. Let me know in the comments below if you think the VH45DE is better than the 1UZ-FE.

Summary

The 1UZFE was a technological breakthrough for the automotive industry. DOHC V8’s weren’t all that new, but they had never been reliable. Toyota knocked it out of the park with the 1UZFE. Not only is it powerful, but it’s also reliable, and can take a bunch of tuning abuse. Let me know what you think of the 1UZ in the comments below!

2UZFE: Everything You Want to Know

The 2UZFE is the second in the Toyota UZ family. Its based off of the 1UZFE, but was used in trucks and SUVS instead of luxury cars. The biggest change with the 2UZFE, is that the displacement was increased to 4.7L, which greatly increased the torque. The 2UZFE doesn’t have quite the cult following that the 1UZ does, but does it have the same tuning potential?

2UZFE: Engine Basics

Unlike the 1UZFE, the 2UZFE received an iron cylinder block. This was done to slightly increase reliability. Since the 2UZFE was designed for pickups and SUVS weight wasn’t really a concern either. Other than that, the engine design is pretty similar to the 1UZ. Its a 90* V8, with aluminum heads. There are 32 valves (4 per cylinder), and the lifters are not hydraulic, so it needs periodic valve adjustments.

RELATED: Toyota 1UZ-FE: Everything You Need to Know

2UZ1

Later versions of the 2UZFE received Toyota’s VVT-i system. This helped increase horsepower, torque, and fuel economy. Just like the 1UZ-FE, if the timing belt breaks it doesn’t destroy the cylinder heads. It’s a non interference engine.

  • Production: 1998 – 2011
  • Cylinder Block Material: Cast-Iron
  • Cylinder Head Material: Aluminum
  • Valve Train: DOHC, 4 valves per cylinder
  • Stroke: 84mm
  • Bore: 94mm
  • Compression Ratio: 9.6:1
  • Displacement: 4664cc

2UZFE: Vehicles

The 2UZFE came in a variety of different Toyota products. Like I mentioned before, it was designed for Toyota pickups and SUVs. The 2UZ was equipped in the Lexus GX470 and the LX470. It was also equipped in the Toyota 4Runner, Land Cruiser, Sequoia, and Tundra.

RELATED: Toyota 3UZ-FE: Everything You Need to Know

2UZ2

  • Lexus GX470
  • Lexus LX470
  • Toyota 4Runner
  • Toyota Land Cruiser
  • Toyota Sequoia
  • Toyota Tundra

2UZFE: Performance Data

Just like the 1UZFE, the 2UZFE had minor modifications done to it over the years to increase its horsepower, torque, and fuel efficiency. The biggest change would be the addition of Toyota’s VVT-i system.

  • 230 horsepower @ 4,800 rpm
  • 302 lb-ft @ 3,600 rpm

Minor revisions were added

  • 232 horsepower @ 4,800 rpm
  • 311 lb-ft @ 3,600 rpm

Toyota’s VVT-i system was added

  • 271 horsepower @ 4,800 rpm
  • 315 lb-ft @ 3,400 rpm

Once again, minor revisions were added

  • 282 horsepower @ 4,800 rpm
  • 324 lb-ft @ 3,400 rpm

As you can tell from these numbers, the 2UZFE ended up with 52 more horsepower, and 22 lb-ft more than it started with. The largest jump occurred when Toyota added VVT-i, which added an impressive 49 horsepower.

2UZFE: Tuning Potential

If you’re a car guy, or gal, than this is the part you’ve probably been waiting for. What can this engine really do? How good is it when you start throwing aftermarket parts on it? Well, since its based off of the 1UZ, most top end parts for the 1UZ will bolt right onto it.

Just like the 1UZ, the Terminator Cobra supercharger, or Eaton M90 is a common addition the 2UZFE. With the addition of fuel injectors, and an exhaust, the 2UZFE can make 380+ horsepower @ 6psi. Building the bottom end with lower compression ratio pistons, the 2UZFE can make 440+ horsepower @ 10psi.

2UZ3

A common, and interesting build is using the 2UZFE bottom end, and block, with all 1UZFE components. This allows you to turn your LS400 into an LS470. Its not a super common build, for the simple fact that you could build your engine with a super charger or turbo for the same amount and make more horsepower.

RELATED: Nissan VH45DE: Everything You Need to Know

Just like the 1UZ, and other great Toyota engines (1jz, 2jz, etc.), the 2UZ has a ridiculously strong block. The 1UZ is praised for its ability to hold up to 1,000 horsepower on a stock block. What if I told you that the 2UZ can hold up to even more than that? After all, the 2UZ is made out of stronger cast-iron. The 1UZ is good for around 1,000 horsepower on a stock block, whilst the 2UZ is good for 1,400+ horsepower on a stock block.

1UZFE vs 2UZFE

In case you missed it, we wrote an article similar to this one covering the 1UZFE. So, how is the 2UZFE any different than the 1UZFE, and which one is better? To start off, the biggest and most obvious difference is the added  displacement. The 1UZ is a 4.0L whilst the 2UZ is a 4.7L. This was done to add low end torque, which SUVs need. The 1UZ is all aluminum whilst the 2UZ is has a cast-iron block.

1UZFE1

RELATED: 4 Reasons You Need a Lexus SC300/SC400

The 1UZ was designed for luxury sports cars and sedans, so while it is fairly torquey, it makes its best power high in the rev range. The 2UZ was designed for pickups and SUVs, so it produced much more torque down low. Things like a new intake manifold help the 2UZ achieve this.

There are other minor differences, but here are the main ones: displacement, cylinder block material, and intake manifold.

2UZFE vs 3UZFE

How does the 2UZFE stack up against the later 3UZFE? The 3UZFE is based off of the 1UZ, and shares many of its components with it. The 2UZFE has .4 liters of larger displacement, but weighs considerably more thanks to its iron block. The 3UZ’s weakness is its thin cylinder sleeves.

When it comes down it, the 2UZFE is the superior engine. Although it weighs way more, it can withstand more horsepower than the 3UZ. If you must have a UZ engine, just go with the 1UZ. It’s the best overall engine.

2UZFE: Summary

Overall the 2UZ is actually a lot like the 1UZFE. They are designed for different applications, but their parts are mostly interchangeable. The 2UZ is a super torquey, and super strong engine. Its relatively small compared to its competitors engines, but its makes as much torque, or more, at a lower RPM than its competitors. Let me know what you think of the 2UZFE in the comments below!

3UZFE: Everything You Want to Know

If you’ve read our LS engine article, then you know that engines typically come in families. The 3UZFE is the third, and final engine in the Toyota UZ family. Just like the 2UZ, the 3UZFE is based almost entirely off of the 1UZ. The biggest and most obvious change would be the displacement, which was increased to 4.3L.

The 3UZFE is the least known of the entire UZ engine family, but is it just as good as its big brothers?

3UZFE: Engine Basics

Just like the 1UZ, the 3UZFE has an aluminum engine block. The aluminum engine block helps keep weight down, which is helpful for the heavy luxury cars that it’s installed in. Other than the slightly increased displacement, the 3UZ is just like the 1UZ. It’s a 90* V8, with aluminum heads that are dual over head cam. There are 32 valves (4 per cylinder), and the lifters aren’t hydraulic, so it needs periodic valve adjustments.

RELATED: Toyota 1UZ-FE: Everything You Need to Know

3uzfe3

All other UZ engines started out pretty basic, and later received upgrades such as Toyota’s VVT-i. The 3UZFE started out with all the upgrades including VVT-i. This is because the 3UZFE is much younger than the other UZ engines, and it would’ve been ridiculous for Toyota not to use VVT-i on the 3UZ.

  • Production: 2000 – 2010
  • Cylinder Block Material: Aluminum
  • Cylinder Head Material: Aluminum
  • Valve Train: DOHC, 4 valves per cylinder
  • Stroke: 82.5mm
  • Bore: 91mm
  • Compression Ratio: 10.5:1
  • Displacement: 4292cc

3UZFE: Vehicles

Just like the 1UZ, the 3UZFE was designed for luxury cars. It came in a number of different Toyota products, but they were all luxury oriented vehicles. The 3UZFE was equipped in the Lexus GS430, LS430, and SC430. It was also equipped in the Toyota Crown Majesty, and the Soarer.

RELATED: Toyota 2UZ-FE: Everything You Need to Know

3uzfe4

  • Lexus GS 430
  • Lexus LS 430
  • Lexus SC 430
  • Toyota Crown Majesty
  • Toyota Soarer

3UZFE: Performance Data

Over the years the 3UZFE had minor upgrades done to it. These upgrades increased horsepower, torque, and fuel economy.

  • 282 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm
  • 307 lb-ft @ 3,500 rpm

Minor revisions were added.

  • 290 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm
  • 320 lb-ft @ 3,400 rpm

Once again, minor revisions were added.

  • 304 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm
  • 325 lb-ft @ 3,400 rpm

As you can tell from these numbers, there were only slight gains in horsepower. Most of these gains were a result of computer re-calibration, and the physical parts were left unchanged.

1UZFE vs 3UZFE: What is the Difference?

Like I mentioned before, the 3UZ is heavily based on the 1UZ engine. But what are the actual differences? The 3UZ has a larger bore, and thinner cylinder sleeves. The 3UZ’s pistons are lighter and larger to accommodate the cylinder bore. The 3UZ also has improved water passages which lowered combustion chamber temperatures.

The 3UZ also had technological advancements such as Lexus’s electronic throttle body. For the full list of all difference between the 1UZ and 3UZ, please visit LexusV8engines.co.va.

3UZFE: Tuning Potential

If you are a car guy or gal, chances are that this is the part you were waiting for. What can the 3UZ really do? Can be it be transformed from its boring stock form into a street monster? Well, I had both good and bad news for you. Good news; its nearly identical to the 1UZ, and can make power as easy as the 1UZ. Bad news; its severely limited by the stock block.

RELATED: Here’s Why You NEED a Lexus Sc300/SC400

3uzfe2

The 3UZ is a double edge sword. Its super awesome because its mostly the same at the 1UZ, which can make tons of power really easily. The reason that the 3UZ is limited by the stock block is the bore size. The cylinder block is identical to the 1UZ’s, but the larger bore of the 3UZ decreases the size of the cylinder sleeves. Those thinner sleeves limit the 3UZ to around 600 horsepower on a stock block.

3uzfe5

As long as you’re not pushing your car past 600 horsepower, than the stock block will work just fine for you. One of the most common modifications to the 3UZ is adding a Terminator Cobra supercharger, or Eaton M90 supercharger. This quickly bumps the horsepower up to an impressive 360+ at just 6 psi. With a built bottom end, the 3UZ can reach 420+ horsepower at 10 psi. Like I said, it is limited by the stock cylinder sleeves, so you don’t have to be very careful when adding boost.

3UZFE: Summary

So as you might have figured out by now, the 1UZ and the 3UZ are basically the same. They share a large amount of their components, and make similar power. The difference worth mentioning is that the 3UZ is much weaker than any other UZ engine. Let me know what you think about the 3UZFE in the comments below.