The phone rings. It's Bill from down the street, with an offer he thinks we can't refuse. While he's normally our local fix for luxurious, relaxing trips (that sometimes cause drowsiness), today he proffers something vastly different: all the speed we can handle for 12 hours. The catch is this deal needs to go down in the next three days. Miss that window and his special shipment gets loaded into a crate and flown back to the Far East. Think about it he says, and get back to me.

What is there to consider?

Bill, you see, reps Lexus and is offering a 552-horsepower dose of nose-candy-colored LFA. We're intrigued, but also irked at the short notice and implication that we're easy and desperate for such a rush. Like we'd just drop everything and clear our schedule for a taste of this $375,000 LFA.

We call him back and arrange to meet the early the next morning at an industrial park off the freeway in Riverside, California.


images ⓒ motortrend

They say the first hit is free, but this one is going to cost us a bit of our soul. Lexus USA owns but one LFA, a jet-black model used for advertising and potential customer events. This white one is on loan from Japan at substantial cost to the company -- air freight alone is some $40,000. Its time is up and it needs to go back ASAP, hence the last-minute notice.

It is also a preproduction prototype -- a crusher in industry parlance. It has no VIN or license plate, and sits on non-DOT-approved tires, so we can't drive it on the street. When we're done with it, it gets shipped back to Japan where it will likely be reduced to a fine, expensive powder. To ensure we don't facilitate an earlier end on this side of the Pacific, two watchful handlers will accompany us while we have it.

So, just how are we supposed to assess the LFA's street value with such draconian measures in place? We have a few tricks up our sleeve, but first we need verify its potency. Off to the speed shop.


Transcribed from MOTOR TREND-http://www.motortrend.com

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