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Used 2004 Lexus IS 300 For Sale – Rare Manual Transmission

Oh the famed and revered IS 300. Those iconic tail lights would continue to be the source of teenage tuner angst for years. Jokes aside, a clean IS 300 Manual for sale in today’s market is a tough find.

Lexus IS 300 manual for sale with real tail lights

Highlights
Model: 2004 Lexus IS 300
Location: Laurel, Maryland
Miles: 208,000
Price: $7,800
Seller Type: Private Party
Listed On: Facebook Marketplace
Something Unique: Manual IS 300 that is moslty stock. What?!
Lexus IS300 side view

There is a shrinking number of factory manual transmission IS300s still left floating around. Most of them have a ton of miles on them, but like most Lexuses, they will run forever. Well, apart from those beat down ones…

You’ll just want to get one that hasn’t been owned by a hooligan for too long. I would not recommend buying one of these from me, for example…

2004 Lexus IS300 paperwork and owners manual
Look at all this paperwork, even a valet key?!

Although this car is over the 200,000 mile mark, it’s still got a lot of life left. It’s a later model year, 2004 – so that’s a plus.

Just one before the last model year for an IS300 with a manual transmission option, 2005. Boo! Save the manuals. With the rise in EVs though, we’re all on borrowed time.

Why is a manual IS 300 so desired?

Aside from them being rare, and no longer produced, they have the acclaimed 2JZ-GE inline 6 engine. If you hear “2J” and don’t think about blow-off valve noises, I’m concerned.

The IS300 didn’t ship with a turbo or forced induction, but the solid internals are there with the expected twin cam and variable valve timing configuration. The 2JZ-GE wants all the smoke, just not white, blown head gasket style.

2JZ-GE engine in clean shape

From the factory, the 2004 Lexus IS300 made 215 horsepower and 218 lb-ft of torque. It claims a 0-60 time of 7.1 seconds, 0.2 seconds faster than the less cool automatic transmission. Eat it.

It certainly isn’t going to throw you back in your seat like many new cars will now. If that speed comes too easily though, and there’s no analog feeling, where’s the fun?

Most of the IS 300 manuals also came with an LSD. There are some markets where it did need to be optioned though and was not. That’s a bummer, but if you find an otherwise clean one, get it anyway. Spoiler, I’m pretty sure this one does have an LSD. Whew.

Front quarter panel view of lexus IS300

For some perspective, from 2021 – 2023, only 8 of these manuals have been sold on Cars and Bids. That’s about half as many (14) as Ferrari 360 Modenas (cheaper one here 🙂 ) that have sold over the same time frame.

Why this Manual IS300?

TL;Dr – it’s not ragged out and has a stock motor. Boom – sold. It is priced a little high for the mileage, but not terribly unbounded from what Mrs. Kelly Blue Book says.

Lexus IS 300 manual for sale with aluminum pedals
IS 300 manual for sale with those 3 pedals <3

It’s also had some money dropped on key recent maintenance:

– timing belt, water pump kit, and clutch kit with new throw-out bearing installed at 200k miles

– Oil and filter, air filter, cabin filter, and coolant flush at 208k miles

Look at this photo of the window sticker. What a time. When a new car had a manual transmission, and probably LSD, for around $32,000. I suppose with 2023 inflation numbers, that is a tick under $50,000.

2004 Leus IS300 Window Sticker

The window sticker also shows that has the SportDesign Edition optioned. This includes a whole bundle of goodies:

  • sweet 17 inch alloy wheels
  • sport tuned suspension that’s stiffer. I suspect most of you will go aftermarket coilovers before too long.
  • Sort of cool grill??
  • Can’t officially confirm, but all research seems to indicate you’ll get the LSD you need to swing properly
  • heated seats for in a 2004 car, quite Lexus

With a (probable) LSD, three pedals, and a clean stock engine, this really is a Top Car Find. It’s a fantastic platform to start a build around, or just enjoy as it sits. Replacement parts will be plentiful; this is a great canvas.

The interior is in excellent condition, especially for its age. There is a shockingly low amount of wear present on the leather seats. The black on black interior color helps this age a little bit more gracefully.

IS 300 manual for sale with a clean black interior

To me, analog knobs for climate control will always be in. Stop making me touch laggy buttons.

Takeaways

I’ve owned more than several high-mileage Lexuses and Toyotas. I’d have no problems whatsoever getting into this car, based on the condition it’s in. There aren’t enough cheaper, rear wheel drive, manual cars floating around today.

You’d get 4 doors, and a 2JZ engine should you want to build it out, for about the going rate for a decent older Miata. I’m not a Miata hater, here’s a funky one to prove it, but this sporty little Lexus is much further up my alley.

I’m not crazy about the Alabaster Metallic exterior color and the clear coat is peeling. I also don’t care that much, but you may.

Lexus IS 300 for sale with fading clear coat on the hood

It’s still an IS 300 manual for sale and it’s not beat down. Don’t be so shallow. At least consider this for your next car, here.