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SL's fleet news (Update 02-01-2023)


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20 minutes ago, Skizzer said:

What an excellent reward for seven years of patience!

Always liked them, ever since I built a 1:24 Tamiya kit back in the '90s. I was happy to play the long game, although I thought the days of getting a cheap one were over - people are asking a lot for good ones now, and why not? Things like the LS400, Skyline GT-R and Honda NSX symbolise an incredible time in the Japanese car industry.

More pic's:


Other yellow foglamp doesn't work. It has a few scuffs and scrapes.


Never used? Really neatly stored in a flap on the side of the boot.


Quite a lot of similarity in detailing and even some basic components between LS and Camry.



Interior came up really well, with thanks to the family.


Probably the original rear plate, from Cooper Park Lane, London. I have the Club Lexus card for the first keeper and stamps from Park Lane until 2001/118k miles, then local ones since then (including a cam belt change in 2011, 15k miles ago, which makes me feel slightly less nervous).

Original stereo still sounds great, 6-disc CD changer in the boot still works but haven't yet tried the cassette player.

Looking forward to it getting dark so I can go and marvel at the instrument display.

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Interesting you mentioning the similarities to the Camry. When the first LS400s I drove went for service  Or warranty work - usually new wheels due to corrosion, the dealer would lend us a V6 Camry ( or Celica !?) and I really liked it, usually giving a pool Jag or Merc to the Director and keeping the Camry for myself.

When the GS300 came along , we had a demo from Toyota for a month and I couldn’t believe how bad it was compared to a V6 Camry, I couldn’t understand why they didn’t just badge a Camry as a Lexus, the GS was miles behind the Camry and the competition, needless to say we didn’t buy any GSes.

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7 hours ago, wuvvum said:

Excellent work.  I did like my Celsior, and I assume this must be quite similar to drive. 

Hopefully I can keep it going long enough for you to have a go in it someday, whenever that becomes feasible again. I don't think you've driven this Camry yet either


7 hours ago, rantingYoof said:

Also, 15s! SO CUSHTY!

And I love the boxing glove gear shifter.

.By happy chance, I have a very good set of the correct 15s on the Camry. Despite FWD/RWD, they have the same offset so technically means I could fit my 17" Camry Sport wheels onto the LS, but I don't think I will.......

6 hours ago, hairnet said:

many toyota such noise


camry has v8 also. :D

OK, no V8. Side repeater looks the same though, so there's a good reason to have kept that Camry spares car......

4 hours ago, NorfolkNWeigh said:

Interesting you mentioning the similarities to the Camry. When the first LS400s I drove went for service  Or warranty work - usually new wheels due to corrosion, the dealer would lend us a V6 Camry ( or Celica !?) and I really liked it, usually giving a pool Jag or Merc to the Director and keeping the Camry for myself.

When the GS300 came along , we had a demo from Toyota for a month and I couldn’t believe how bad it was compared to a V6 Camry, I couldn’t understand why they didn’t just badge a Camry as a Lexus, the GS was miles behind the Camry and the competition, needless to say we didn’t buy any GSes.

Interesting. I haven't had anything to do with a GS300, but period reviews say pretty much the same thing. With the Camry, at least the 1991-96 model, there's this feeling of them being designed by the same people. I don't reckon a Camry V6 would be much slower in everyday use than an LS400, certainly the Mk1/2 models, and it was used as the basis for the Lexus ES which we never saw here (AKA Toyota Windom).

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1 hour ago, Split_Pin said:

Lovely motor, I can't get over how quiet these are to drive.

It is odd, I sometimes have to check the tacho when I'm messing about on the driveway.

In some respects I'm used to that with the RX being a hybrid, although its V6 is quite vocal when it does run.

When I had the other LS we once drove along a quiet quayside road where a pub was having a wedding reception. People had spilt out onto the road, and needed to move so we could drive through, but they didn't as they couldn't hear the Lexus.


Difficult to convey the floating look, but it's ace.


When I built this kit back in the early-mid '90s little did I think I'd have a 1:1 someday.

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Exciting progress update. The massive Varta battery it came with had gone flat but has been successfully charged and is now back on it again, so the Sunny can have its battery back.

Used it for commuting to work today, it was of course a fine thing to waft around in. Got some comedy tyre squeal on a roundabout, due to understeer at the front end rather than drifting antics. Maybe the tracking's a bit squiffy or I need to up the tyre pressures a bit? To be honest it's  a big old lump to be using 205/65 x 15s, that's the same size as my Camry 2.2 has as standard.



A couple of post clean-up shots. Looks OK from a distance, but has lots of scars, the odd bit of rust and a rather flat bonnet. Can't see most of that when I'm driving around, therefore it doesn't matter.

Stereo is very good, on CD at least. Need to get the remaining five slots in the changer's magazine filled-up with suitably inappropriate material.

Performance sometimes feels a bit lazy, it needs provoking to go quickly but it picks up nicely once it has some rev's showing on the tacho. Doesn't feel as fast as I remember my N-reg LS to have been, but that was the revised model with more power and less weight.

Really interesting to compare the waftiness of this compared to my RX. Character of the latter quite different with its hybrid/CVT transmission, it has instant go at any speed with no need for kickdown. LS has much better ride quality however. Both are very quiet at dawdling/cruising speeds, RX more vocal when its petrol V6 comes in, LS is muted even when working hard (stereo off and window open if I want to hear that it's a V8).

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  • 1 month later...

Lexus has been in regular use, very enjoyable. Low and medium fan speeds don't work and kickdown seems a bit lazy, otherwise all good.

Just about to do a brim-to-brim tank fill-up, it will be interesting to see what kind of MPG it's doing (or not).

Main bit of car action today was taking the Laurel for an MoT. Preparation consisted of swapping the battery back onto it from the 1200 about an hour before the MoT was due, then doing a quick check of the lights.


Having not been driven since last September, it started fine and drove as well as ever round to the garage, where it was in good company.


They'd used lockdown to repaint inside the MoT bay, very smart. Laurel passed just fine, he picked up one or two things I need to address but nothing too significant.

He was complementary about the underside, which gets a spray of old engine oil every so often:




I could have not bothered with the MoT, as it'll become exempt in a month or two's time, but while it goes through this easily I'd rather keep going with the tests. Need to give it lots of sympathetic use now, will get it taxed on Monday.

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On 7/29/2020 at 11:08 PM, NorthernMonkey said:

The 1970s?


That truly is a thing of beauty. Amazing how much jap stuff was around when I was growing up that just seemed to disappear overnight.

A lot were exported to the Third World because no-one wanted them here, or else banger raced.

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First brim-to-brim fill-up on the Lexus = 22mpg. Admittedly it might be helpful if I didn't marvel at how it picks up beyond 3000rpm and smoothly spins round to the redline......

Laurel taxed after the MoT success, it should become exempt next year.

Sunny battery purchased, got a decent Yuasa for under £50 from a little local car parts shop.

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  • 4 months later...

The '88 Sunny passed its MoT back in October. Hasn't been in use much recently as the roads are so filthy around here at present, but its time will come again. Miss SL turned 17 in the summer and has eyes on driving it, whether this is going to be feasible on my insurance I'm not sure, and its safety kit is negligible, but maybe when she's passed and has had real world driving experience in something else? She has driven it up the track and on a local airfield.

The Laurel is now on SORN, I missed doing it at the end of October so it cost me another £20-odd for a month's tax when it didn't go anywhere. Next time it's taxed it should be free, which is a pleasing prospect.

Camry just works, it's a great winter beater. It still continues to impress me.

Main excitement of the day was a much-needed clean of the LS400, after driving around and enjoying it on roads like this:

1992 Lexus LS400


1992 Lexus LS400

Had left the poor old thing looking a little grubby:

1992 Lexus LS400


1992 Lexus LS400

So it became my chosen car of the weekend to clean, and the sun even shone a bit:

1992 Lexus LS400


1992 Lexus LS400


1992 Lexus LS400

I've only got a couple of weeks or so to use it before the extended MoT expires. I'll put it in for a test after Christmas and see what the verdict is, but I'm really hoping that I can keep it going. It's shown itself to be a fine thing to waft around in.

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  • Spottedlaurel changed the title to SL's fleet news (Update 06-12-20)
  • 2 years later...
On 12/6/2020 at 11:16 PM, Schaefft said:

Such a great looking car, looking forward to the MOT results as well!

Thanks - it passed back then without too much drama, as I recall some exhaust bodge welding was required, and it was treated to an engine oil change. It repaid me with a failed coil pack so it only ran on four cylinders, when it sounded just like a Corolla.

It would seem that a bit of updating is required here, although much of it has been reported in comments elsewhere.

Due to a house move in 2021 (all of half a mile) I had to sell the 1988 Sunny, elderly Datsun 1200 and the remaining pair of Camrys and parts. The latter went for scrap/export, 1200 was sold to an occasional visitor here who's kept it standard and the Sunny has since increased in value several times over - after less than a year it sold at ACA for roughly double what I let it go for, then it doubled again at a Mathewsons auction just a couple of months later. It still looks to have T&T so is hopefully now being enjoyed by a new owner.

Laurel continues to do its thing with minimal attention. Really glad I bought it when I did, that was 2008 so I've now had it for approaching 15 years, the longest I've ever owned any car. I couldn't afford to buy into RWD Datsun ownership nowadays.

1980 Datsun Laurel 2.4 (C230)

It should turn over 100,000 miles this year. Now tax and MoT exempt of course, so running costs are pretty minimal and it's not bad on fuel either. One day I'm sure it will start to need some bodywork attention, but for now I'm just trying to use it sympathetically.

Laurel at Orwell Bridge

If nothing else it's secure and undercover at the new house, although there was only room for one car as I also had to accommodate this lot, which used to live in a very big shed we had at the old place:

My ex-Woolworth shelving with the brochure/magazine/model stash. There are as many on the other side, plus the gable end wall shelved out right up into the roofspace. Before I got too much stuff in there I painted the floor and the blockwork side walls.


The Lexus saw quite a bit of use in 2021, including a trip to FOTU. However it then had to sit for most of 2022 as my time and money was spent on the new house.

In November I finally put it in for an MoT. I'd already swapped the wheels and tyres for a better set with matching Dunlops (thanks again @Semi-C), and a pre-test check showed that it needed some welding and attention to the rear brakes, so that was done and I got it back with a fresh ticket a couple of weeks ago. Taxed it first thing on Jan 1st and have already used it a couple of times - any excuse for a trip out in it, although I suspect the £50's worth of V-Power I chucked in won't last for long....

Driving it again reminded me why I like it so much, even at slow speeds it's just so incredibly, almost uncannily,  smooth that it does't seem like it's being powered by a combustion engine - it feels like my hybrid RX does when it's running on the electric motor. Although not especially torquey, it picks up speed in an amusing manner and if the 'box holds onto a gear it feels like it just wants to keep pulling.

I'm going to fulfil the promise I made to the previous owner when I gave him a very modest amount of money - the less I paid would give me more to lavish on it in the future. And that time is now here, so I've come up with A List. In no particular order:

Replace RH wiper blade.

Replace one of the front fog lamp bulbs. Don't know if the funky yellow colour is a cover or the actual bulb.

Replace interior light bulb (or faulty switch?).

Part exhaust system replacement, including flanges at back of cats and new stainless section to replace mild steel up to point where original stainless starts. Will go to the local Powerflow place as a starting point.

Replace metal length of PAS pipe.

New cam belt, water pump and coolant change, also replace radiator at same time?

Spark plugs, filters and oil change.

Rear diff oil change.

Replace brake fluid.

ATF change (or at least refresh with a partial change or two).

Replace rear dampers.

Get low and medium HVAC fan speed working. At present I only have off or high,and the latter is rather noisy. Not going to worry about AC not working.

Leather feed on seats.

Replace windscreen, as it has a large crack on the LH side.

Clean out sunroof drains.

Clean underside, apply Lanoguard or WHY. Should really do similar to the Laurel and even the daily driver RX450h (which I intend to keep for as long as possible).

It's going to take time and ££££s to get through that lot, and it might be that one or two items just don't happen, but I'll give it a go. At present there are just three early LS400s on eBay/AutoTrader, the cheapest is £6,300 and the other two are imports at £10,750 and £21,950. None are the original version like mine, with its diddy 15" wheels and various other detail differences. Without a lot of bodywork and a full respray mine will never be worth that sort of money, but it would seem the days of buying them for a few hundred quid's worth of cheap fun are over so I've got to work with what I have.

If the worst happens and the rust can't be contained then at least I have a good engine and lots of parts which are a known quantity.

Within the extended family fleet:


Master SL has taken over the Yaris 1.0 from his sister. It needed a bit of welding and other stuff on the first MoT we put it through, but went straight through its most recent test. It's a very enjoyable little thing to use on the country roads. I still find it remarkable that his car is older than him, that would have been very unusual back when I started driving in 1987. Even if he eventually buys something else it feels like the something we should hang onto, as a useable spare car that everyone in the family is happy to drive.


The ex- @BorniteIdentity Avensis SR continues to do its thing for Miss SL and her boyfriend, now with 275k miles on the clock and with no sign that it won't make 300,000. It fulfilled its original purpose of getting to Dubrovnik on a student banger rally, they then drove it back and after a rest it's been put back into daily driver use. I had the pleasure of a couple of drives over Christmas, it still feels very solid and I prefer the Camry/MR2-type 2-litre engine to the 1.8 lean-burn we had in a Carina E.

It does make me think that a '90s FWD Celica with the same engine would be a very pleasant thing, but unless I happen to find one very cheap I doubt that will happen now the LS400 is back on the road.


On the subject of slightly more sporty cars, Miss SL's boyfriend got himself this MR2. He did a lot of work on it in the summer, including the engine coming out and a replacement subframe being fitted. The latter was a lucky, non-rusty find at a local scrapyard, and from there and another one he also got a lot of replacement trim parts, OE orange indicators etc. It's now tucked away for winter, with some attention being required to leaks (oil wanting to leave and water trying to find its way in around the windscreen or targa tops).

There seems to be something of a theme to what's on our driveway, and with Miss SL hoping to get a Mk1 RAV-4 someday I can't see that changing in the foreseeable future.

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  • Spottedlaurel changed the title to SL's fleet news (Update 02-01-2023)

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