Drift beaters are some of the coolest most pure forms of modern hotrodding. Buy me a beer and we’ll debate it sometime. Little cars, big engines, going fast, lots of tire smoke. See hotrodding in the dictionary and this is what you’ll get.
Don’s SC400 straddles that line between missile car and candy coated drift machine. A line commonly blurred by many. I’ve long said that a proper racecar isn’t that pretty to behold. It’s basic and purposeful. You find beauty in the engineering not necessarily tin the aesthetics. This one combine all those things, hot rod styling cues, stripped down racecar, and since it’s Father’s Day, a nice tribute to pops.
Check out Don’s butthole of a Lexus:
The car is a 92 Lexus SC400. It runs the factory 4 litre v8 through a Collins adapter kit connected Nissan KA transmission. The driveshaft is custom built and rear diff is out of an SC300 for better gearing and it’s welded.
When did you get your beater?
I got the car about a year and a half ago, from a guy down in Philly. We were going on the info that it only needed a driveshaft put in it to be ready to run. That was way off and after tearing down and rebuilding most of the car between February and April we started drifting it with the IFD guys at the first event of the 2015 season. The whole year was basically a shakedown. The car needed way more work than we realized when we picked it up.
What do you like about your beater?
Where to begin? The look of the car. And the looks the car gets. It’s a real love it or hate it kind of thing. There really isn’t a middle ground people either really dig it or get really butthurt by it. The look of the car was all done for a reason though. I chose everything sort of in honor of my step dad. He passed away just about the time I was really getting into drifting so he never got to come out to an event and have a ride with me. The guy was the king of making something work with whatever was laying around. So that’s kind of how we approached the car. The ultimate budget build. He would get bored and go to Kmart, buy a bunch of rattle cans and paint his truck for something to do. So when it came time to make the SC one color the choice was obvious. I get a lot of primer jokes, but it’s actually matte black rustoleum spray paint with red and chrome vinyl. Kind of a throwback to the old school hot rod days is where I was going with it.
I also enjoy how easy the car is to drive. I’ve let a few people drive it and everyone is surprised at how easy it is to get sideways, and how responsive it is, considering the size of it. It’s a deceptively large car.
What do you dislike about your beater?
One of the guys I drift with warned me when I told him I was looking to get an SC. He told me to be ready to have the most annoying issues I’ve ever had with a car. I should have listened. This car seems to really love coming up with new and exciting issues to have.
What is the funniest thing that has happened in it?
That would probably be the looks I’ve gotten from my boys when they ride in it. My step sons are 13 and 10 and neither had ridden in anything like it before. I went off track with the 13 year old once and a big rock punched a hole in the floor between his feet. My memory isn’t great but I’m pretty sure his feet came off the floor so fast they hit the ceiling. The younger of the two apparently wasn’t ready for v8 torque and when I gave him a hard 2nd gear pull going into his first run his eyes were big enough to fill the opening in the helmet. He seriously looked terrified. Half way through the first turn he had figured out he wasn’t dying and was head banging in the passenger seat. Thank fully I had the go pro running inside the car and that is now on Youtube.
Do you have any road trip stories?
The car has only been on the road for a couple months so it hasn’t had a proper road trip yet. Mostly just to and from drift days. I guess the best would be taking it to a car pride meet, covered in mud from the previous rain soaked drift day. The looks from the people with their beautiful shiny cars was fantastic.
Has it ever broken down someplace unpleasant/ sketchy?
To date I’ve only had it break once outside of a drift event. I left an oil spot as wide as the car at the last meetup we took it to. It ended up being trailered home.
What is the weirdest thing you’ve had to fix or take it to the mechanic for?
The oil leak that made the massive puddle ended up being caused by corrosion that was caused by a massive mouse nest hidden in the valley under the intake. The best part was the oil was coming out between the bell-housing and block so we did the obvious and changed the rear main and it didn’t stop the leak. Only after tearing it down the second time did we realize anything in the valley drains out 2 small holes in the back of the block and out the bottom behind the oil pan. Very misleading when it comes to diagnosing where a leak is coming from.
I have to give many thanks to my girlfriend Jess, who deals with me being at the shop more than home with her, my boys in the subtle crunch drift crew for dealing with my almost constant whining about how much pain this car causes my b-hole, and mostly my buddy Tim who is the co-creator of the car. Tim has more hours spent working on it than I do, and I never would have been able to make it anything worth owning without his help