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My new 2018 Lexus LC 500

Posted by John Reed on

Got my new car today. As I was about to leave, an employee of the dealer saw it and gave me a big thumbs up. Seemed like more than a standard nice gesture to a customer.

When my oldest son saw it, he said, “That is a heck of a lot cooler than your old car.”

‘It’s gorgeous!”

Later, I was sitting in it on the street in front of my house reading the manuals and trying the various buttons, switches, and dials—871 pages of manuals! Our neighbors came home and stopped in the street instead of going into their garage. The wife got out of their car and came over to me. In about ten minutes, she told me six times, “It’s GORGEOUS!” [Emphasis in original] 

We have a local car show in nearby Danville periodically in the summer. She told me to display my new car there. Her husband does that with his 2016 Corvette. I have never done that. Might be fun if I am in town.

That’s nice. I got a few unsolicited compliments from strangers on my first car, a ’68 Camaro. I got lots of compliments from strangers on the ’06 Lexus SC 430. When I was putting the top up or down, passers by stopped to watch. None of the ten or so other cars I owned over 37 other years drew a single favorable comment.

Attracts stares and crowds

My new LC 500 seems to be on a whole other level. It is not a convertible. But it looks much better than I expected after having seen still photos, videos, and other colored LC 500s. Mine is the first red one I saw in person. Even the salesman was taking photos of it. “It’s the first LC I’ve sold,” he said.

I saw two LCs owned by other people between when I ordered mine and when it arrived. In both cases, I came up on them from behind at a stop light. “That’s different and really cool looking,” I thought. Then when I was stopped close to it, I realized, “Holy smokes! That’s MY new car, only not in red!”

Becoming the owner of this car at age 71 has given new meaning to the phrase “Better red than dead.”

My new car is a barrel of monkeys. I went into Safeway for one item. When I came out I found a lady peering in the windows. “It’s not for sale,” I told her. “It’s BEAUTiful!” she said [Emphasis in original]. By then two guys had also gathered around to look at it. I did not have time to stay and give autographs

‘Eyes left!’

Last night we went to the Marine Club in San Francisco for dinner with a college classmate. My wife was driving on jammed up Montgomery Street in the financial district. An Asian man in a natty sports coat and red beret was walking the same direction as we were crawling. His head was turned looking at my car as if he were in a military parade and the command “Eyes left!” had been given. He was going faster and passed us. then he apparently heard another command, “To the rear, march!” and again passed in review this time doing “Eyes right!.” The guy could not take his eyes off the car.”

Miscellaneous people I pass on the street or in parking lots suddenly smile upon seeing it as if pleasantly surprised that “Such cars exist?” These reactions are akin to what my old car elicited when I put the transformer-like hardtop up or down. The new car is not a convertible.

At the Lexus dealership, the employees are all giving me thumbs up apparently elated someone finally got the red one.

At stop lights on multi-lane roads, the cars in the adjacent lanes often stop at the back of my car, apparently to retain the windshield view of it that would be lost if they were next to it.

‘The Mom factor’

Then there is the “Mom” factor. When I left the dealer the first day in it, a message appeared on the screen saying “Please get some rest” with an icon of a steaming coffee cup. It was Four PM and I had a decent night’s sleep the night before. This message was triggered by my meandering imperceptibly within my freeway lane. (Note to Lexus: Coffee contains caffeine and therefore prevents rest.)

Last night coming back from San Francisco, I turned to get off the freeway at my exit. Through the steering wheel, the car told me I was not staying in my lane. The car sees the lines on the pavement if they are white or yellow and freaked out at the Y configuration of such line that is a freeway exit. After putting up slight resistance to my exiting, the steering wheel yielded to my insistence.

It’s got my back—and front and sides

I thought that was sweet. At the risk of sounding like my fellow 71-year-old Sally Fields, “The car likes me. It really likes me and it wants to keep me safe at all times.” It is a cacophony of flashing lights and warning sounds when I enter my garage, telling me to watch out for obstacles on the right, left, and in front of me: garage door frame and wall of the laundry room.

Wider, longer

My 2006 SC was 72" wide; the LC is 75.6"—“broad shouldered” is the phrase they use in the brochure. That garage door is 96.5" wide. That 75.6" is with the mirrors folded IN which I always do now as I approach the garage. Our garage doors do not face the street—north of the house. They face west. So you have to make a 90º turn to get into them. 

I am the only one in my family who could drive into my garage in my old SC with one smooth path. Everyone else needed to make K turns. But I am afraid to do that with the new car. It is a foot longer, 3.6 inches wider, and may have different turning radius. I had eleven years practice on the old one. I expect I will get it with this car, too. But I am considering moving to the center bay. That has a double-wide door and opening.

Regarding the color of my Lexus LC:

The eye-catching feature of my new LC seems to be the color. There is some sculpting or more accurately chiseling of the body that catches the eye, but if the car is white or silver or black, it probably is not enough.

The red color is the wow factor. It cannot be captured in a photograph. As a publisher I work with colors for my book covers. There is a system called Pantone which supposedly defines all colors with swatches. There is noPantone color that matches this color.

It is a combination of candy apple red (although not that flat) and golden light (the time of a sunny day with the sun is low on the horizon at dawn and just before sunset) and a wood campfire.

I am no art critic or even an art student, but I may sound like it here

Maxfield Parrish red

When we were dating, my wife said she wanted to go to a Maxfield Parrish art exhibit. He was actually a graphic artist, not a painter like James McNeil Whistler (a West Point dropout). Parrish was more like Norman Rockwell. But Parrish mainly did paintings for advertisements—maybe in the same Saturday Evening Posts that Rockwell did covers for.…/2016/08/mayfield_parrish_036.jpg

Among other things, Parrish was famous for a blue color he invented. It is called Maxfield Parrish blue. Some recent new cars called Midnight Blue or some such seem to be trying to recreate it and those are pretty jazzy cars.

As far as I know, Parrish did not create a red. But perhaps the best description I can give of my car color is that it is “Maxfield Parrish red.”

‘Golden light’

I have had some brushes with world class photography in my writing career. My previous photo was taken by Roger Ressmeyer as part of a Money magazine photo shoot when they made me a sort of guru of the month (9/87). (Which they did another time that included a full-page, full-length, full-color photo of me in 6/06).

Anyway, he had several assistants holding gold reflectors pointed at my when he was taking the photos. Also, landscape and product photographers often frantically take pictures during golden-light times on sunny days. I have a suspicion that gold reflectors and golden light time of day are how they need to photograph the infrared LC. Seeing one in a showroom does not capture it. You need to see it outside on a sunny day.

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