Words by Carl S. Cunanan
We kept hearing that as we drove through southern Spain. I would like to take credit for all the acclaim, for the little kids and their young mothers as they shouted, for the big Spaniards that called from the bar door then called their friends out all shouting these wonderful words. The Spanish are certainly an openly-emotional people.
It might have had something to do with the car I was in. The new Lexus LC is certainly eye-candy. It has a shape that takes from the traditional but expresses it in the futuristic. Like one of those concept cars that actually gets driven off the showroom floor. In the case of the LC, Lexus actually did a highly-unusual two concept cars. Possibly because they got such an extremely positive reaction to the first one (which wasn’t in the production pipeline yet) they made a second one (maybe to confirm all the positives, maybe to help the design and development process because the car was going from clean sheet to functioning form rather quickly, maybe because they thought it was just so pretty). Whatever the reasons, it worked. The car went from concept to production car in four years. And it did retain its looks obviously.
Retaining those looks isn’t easy. For one, the car is so sleek that the normal pedestrian-saving crush zones have a problem. So if you hit someone, the hood blows up. More accurately but far less fun to say, pyrotechnic charges at the hood corners pop the whole hood up just a bit putting more space between the hood and the engine cover thereby creating crush space before the pedestrian hits the non-crushable engine. In addition to that, the engine cover that I complained about as messing with my view of the engine itself serves the same purpose. It acts as another soft surface that will take force before anyone reaches the unyielding engine. Too bad, it is a seriously beautiful engine; and a glorious transmission. And a V8 sound that sounds like classic American muscle, tuned for the racetrack by Italians. And just to be clear, sound engineers worked on what you hear in the cockpit but also for, and very differently, for what people hear as you drive by. We didn’t realize this while driving the cars to the track, they sounded great to us on the inside. But when we started hearing them to hot fast circuit laps as they keep accelerating towards 200kph their roar was soul-stirring. If you don’t get them with your looks, you will get them with your voice.
So yeah, maybe the swooning girls and shouts of “Guapo! Guapo!” (this story just gets better and better) had a little bit to do with the car.