In October 2011, Lexus Manila formally presented the first LFA to ever arrive on our shores. Sporting a white paint job, the supercar is reportedly the 161st in only 500 LFA units that the Japanese carmaker produced. The dealership then proceeded to keep and tightly guard the exclusive automobile, occasionally bringing it out for showroom events and motor shows. Nobody from the motoring press was allowed to use it.
Late last year, Lexus Manila finally announced a price for its LFA, which it said was \"for reference only.\" The figure quoted was P34.8 million. And then at the Manila International Auto Show earlier this year, Top Gear Philippines displayed the car at the lobby of the World Trade Center. Even up to this point, the only Filipinos to have driven the unit are Lexus Manila chairman Alfred Ty and Petron chairman and CEO Ramon S. Ang.
Needless to say, among the local motoring media, it was generally understood that an LFA drive or ride was only a next-to-impossible dream.
And then, lo and behold, at last Friday\'s media test drive of the all-new IS350 and IS350 F Sport at Clark International Speedway, Lexus Manila surprised the journalists in attendance with a taxi ride in the LFA, to be driven by Japanese driver Yoshihiro Kataoka, whose racing credentials include a stint in the World Rally Championship in the late \'90s.
The motoring editors and reporters signed up like giddy kids, taking turns in riding shotgun in LFA No. 161. The handful of journalists fortunate to have ridden the car were treated to one hot lap each. Top Gear Philippines consumer editor Botchi Santos was among them. His face in the photo below should give you an idea of just how ecstatic everyone was.
Lucky, lucky bastards.
Photos by Vernon B. Sarne