Lexus LC 500: The Next Big Thing In Modifying?

At each and every Tokyo Auto Salon, we make a point of trying to uncover what the next big thing in the JDM aftermarket tuning and styling world is going to be. By studying the cars that vendors transform into demo machines, you can begin to connect the dots and see trends develop right before your eyes.

Last year at TAS, Honda’s S660 was the hottest property by a long shot. Being lightweight and agile, stylish, a kei car (meaning cheaper insurance and running costs), and having high tuning potential, it was an obvious choice for the Japanese aftermarket to get their hands on and modify. I currently have Spoon’s S660 sitting in my parking lot, and I must say, it’s one of the better cars I have ever driven.


For whatever reason, it wasn’t until Liberty Walk revealed their LB-Works widebody kit for the Lexus LC 500 at Makuhari Messe last week, that it dawned on me – there were a lot of these cars at the show.


From that point on, I needed to confirm a hunch that this year’s trending car was indeed the LC 500. My search through the halls began once again.


With the release of the LC 500 and LC 500h early last year, the grand tourer has become a regular sight in Tokyo’s most stylish and upmarket neighborhoods.


Of course, it takes more than style to justify a six-figure price tag, and in the case of the LC 500 it’s a naturally aspirated V8 engine and intelligent 10-speed automatic transmission, plus all the latest tech.

Oh, and that interior.


There’s also the news of Lexus releasing the LC F this year, equipped with a bespoke bodykit that I’m sure will only add to the visual prowess of the LC. But more importantly, it will bring to the table a 600hp, twin-turbo V8 under the hood. Perhaps this is a pre-emptive test to see how the market would react to customized LC Fs?


I suppose only time will tell, but if shops are already preparing for the release of the LC F, it only makes sense to see what styling ideas they have in mind.

Besides white being the color of choice, most shops opted to keep things clean and simple with their LC 500s. Front splitters, side skirts, rear diffusers, suspension tuning and different wheels ranging in sizes from 20-inch to 22-inch were the order of the TAS weekend.


One of my favorites was Advan Racing’s carbon fiber accented machine.


Its 21-inch Advan Racing GT wheels in Machine Hyper Black suit the car perfectly.


I’m also a big fan of how the HKS titanium muffler tips protrude slightly out the rear diffuser. I wish I could have heard how the exhaust system altered the growl of the V8, but that was never going to happen on the show floor. Another day, perhaps.


While the LC 500s you’ve seen so far are quite restrained, Aimgain and Artisan Spirits stepped things up a notch with their respective demo machines. Aimgain created a panda-like effect with carbon fiber accents in the front splitter, side splitters, rear diffuser, carbon wing, and custom fenders.


Slammed to the ground, 22-inch Aimgain GTM wheels pull the whole look together.


Artisan Spirits’ kit, which they call the Black Label GT, includes altered fenders, similar carbon fiber accents as Aimgain, and the company’s own carbon fiber GT wing.


20-inch OZ Altelier Forged Zeus wheels are a nice fit for the changes the GT kit brings.


Then there was T-Demand, which did what it always does best by laying its LC 500 on the floor of the exhibition center.


It definitely was a striking contrast to all the other LC 500s at the show, which is why I found myself taking in the details for a long time.


Given the number of LC 500s at Tokyo Auto Salon 2018, I think it’s a pretty good contender for the unofficial ‘hottest car of the event’ title. I liked what I saw too, but I’m curious to hear everyone else’s opinion on the model. Do you think the LC 500 will be the next big thing in the JDM tuning and styling world?

Ron Celestine
Instagram: celestinephotography



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Daniel P Huneault

the first thing I would modify is the lexus ugly front grill - it just ruins it for me. Beautiful shots though!



The grill looks beautiful just like the rest of the car. Sorry dude get your eyes checks


Personal opinions are subjective, so technically speaking, he is 'not' wrong and no eye checking is required.


Thanks! The grill actually doesn't bother me. It kind of plays with the rest of the angles the body has


I can see a silhouette of Supra. isn't this thing new Supra just with Lexus name ?! or should we still waiting for new Supra ?


The LC has more in common with the new LS500 than the supra coming out,the supra is being built in conjunction with BMW I hear


With what it weighs? It better not be!


I got to test drive the RC-F and LC500 at a Lexus event last year. The handling and acceleration of those cars blew me away! They are plush driver’s cars, and they are being raced in IMSA, PWC and GT500 so yeah tuning shops should have a blast with these platforms. Wish I had more money or they were more affordable lol.


You and me both brother


Me too; then bought one. Mod search has begun. For the critics out there, the car definitely grows on you - everyday.


Hmmm.. I need to get my hands on some keys


When I first saw this car, it really blew me away how much it looked like the LF-LC Concept. It certainly made the transition quite well.


Same here when I first saw it I was in shocked how could it look so good


I'm really torn between the Aimgain car and the one from Aritsan Spirits.. Although I must say, I think they would both look better in the red color that the T-Demand car is wearing.




Right?!?!? I mean.. White looks great and all BUT....


LOVE the LC500.

It's so beautiful. It shows the world the Japanese or more so Toyota/Lexus can build something thats world class quality. This car is the best car to come out of Japan in a very long time beside the LFA. It's a baby LFA that more attainable. As the years goes on and the LC500 will somewhat go down in value people are gonna killing to buy one of these second hand.

Let's not forget it's killer exhaust sound


Love that LC 500


This is how you design a pretty car, take notes Nissan.


sucks to see an automatic gear lever in the center console, awesome car otherwise




Yep, superior technology sure does suck...


"Superior" at making driving more boring, certainly.


beautiful. too bad the car is so expensive. I won't be able to get one of these until the Used ones pop up in the future.


How fkn great does this car look and sound?


Artisan Spirits’ Black Label GT is my favourite ever since they unveiled it in SEMA 2017, and the spoiler are actually by Vortex from what I understand... or at least Vortex helped make it.


Funnel effect, being lc500 is the funnel. IMO I don't think the lc500 will go anywhere. First price is very high. Lower price range would make it more appealing. 60 to 70k. To buy as a daily. At 90k to 100k it is now in a range that makes want more than a daily you have demands and that makes this car a no contender. It's a Lexus. Conservative and not exciting. This the frs all over again but worse the price point will hurt sales even more. For ex at 100k you can buy a used amg gts with low miles. No comparison


Its selling very well and brought a new customer to Lexus. The RC and RC F are in the price range you are talking about. This is their flagshiip coupe. Not sure how you can say its not exciting or conservative, its the exact opposite.


Then you haven't seen this car in person. It's one of the most gorgeous cars ever made. And all the testing reviews have raved its driving dynamics. It's not made for the poor sheeps. ;)


It is for sheep to buy. But I'm far from poor and I ain't no sheep like u


I wish they would have used the SC500 badge on it since it is a subtle nod to the first SC, but given how much more advanced the tech is you sometimes have to just change it up to a whole new model. What a gorgeous machine she is.


Interesting highlighting this car over the NSX, new type R, etc. A 90grand+ car that doesn’t excel in any area, will get owned by any other 90grand plus car in every segment, and is just an overstyled lizard... but when you look at what can be achieved, like a cut rate LFA with 1000hp, then the model makes sense and can stand out. If you’re rich, it’s kind of a bargain if you get what I’m saying.


Firstly, the NEEEW NSX and NEEEW CIVIC TYPE Rs aren't even what they claim to be. They're the hopeless embodiments of desperate, corporate fleecing. Honda is selling the cars with those old names only to cash in on their cache. If they cared anything about what they meant to enthusiasts, the Civic wouldn't be a four-door, MacPherson strutted, 1.5 ton land barge---and the NSX wouldn't be an AWD, hybrid, luxury Yank tank. Those cars of yesteryear are alive ONLY in name and memory...don't kid yourself.

With the LC500, Toyota didn't even bother calling it an "SC"...but they could have. They didn't even claim it'd be a great sports car, but it's damn good. While at the same time, the whole Lexus lineup is DEFINING automotive design of the future.

So rather than drowning in delusions of grandeur sucked from the corpse of a company who's not only sold their soul, but drained their lifeblood of true enthusiasts...Why not open your eyes and witness the beginning of the renaissance?

I never thought I'd say this, but if you want truly exciting cars...its Toyota who's delivering now.


I thought Blake was driving the Honda or is it being handed around? If yes, can I get the next test?


Blake is driving the Honda, but in a series of fortunate events with Project NSX, It ended up in my possession for about a week.. ish :)


Ron! Great article mahn and great observation. I've worked on a few here too and it is an AMAZING car and has the tuners ears which is great. Sad I missed T.A.S this year but coverage like this makes me feel I am there. The LC 500 is a stunning car to look at and it drives fantastic. Koji Sato's creation is fantastic!


Thanks Mike! It really does seem to be getting the tuners attention which was something I wasn't expecting at all! That being said, I'm glad they are playing around with it a little bit. Now I just need to get my hands on some keys here in Japan ^__^


LB Performance lip kit with Artisan rear wing please

Brennan McKissick

I absolutely love the LC500. It's a beautiful car. My favorite is also the Advan demo car but with the wheels from the Blitz or Dunlop(?) car. I'll never be able to afford one but if I could, this would be my sport touring car of choice. Stunning design and I'm looking forward to seeing all the OEM+ looks. I think the crazy builds are neat but I like the more subtle looks better on cars like this.


I hope these large, overweight, automatic-only (to anyone who think they're a driver's car, how can they be a driver's car with no manual option?) cars aren't the next big thing of anything.


Can't wait until an LC build exists with a rediculous, huge twin screw poking through the hood.


LC 500