Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
17-Coffees

An LS400 Story.

Recommended Posts

So I though it was time to maybe have a post about my 2000 Lexus LS400, aka "LexBus", "Lex-mbourg" & the "HMS Lexbarge"

 

I'm bad for waffling on, and atrocious when it comes to spelling & grammar. so I'll keep this to a somewhat bear bones. :)

 

So back in late 2014 I decided I needed a car that was better for every day driving than the Suzuki Cappuccino I was using, which in late night rush hour in Aberdeen was near suicide (If don't know what a Cappuccino is, think an MX5 but the size of an original Mini). Come January 2015 I was finally going to spend a weekend looking at basic and dull hatchbacks, when out of the blue a friend of mind decided to sell his Lexus LS400. 

For starters I never knew he had one, but it turns out he'd had it for over a year with the intentions of wanting it's engine to swap into somthing else .But having spent a large sum of money on a fancy stainless steel exhaust he deiced to keep it, but that changed when he needed space for another car

 

Now I've been a fan of luxo-barges for years, so the timing was perfect. of course that was the idea of a sensible runaround out the window. After a quick talk we agreed on a viewing and that was that. He did say the car was in "rather bad condition and could do with some work", which never bothered me.  At the time fuel was 1.10 a litre or so for petrol and was likely to rocket up in price again, and I could at least say I'd had a V8 in my life. 

 

Now what i finally seen the car, it was in fantastic condition, with the only bad part being a hand print sized bit of lacquer missing from the drivers side front wing and the normal dings from a 15 year old car. inside everything worked as it should, the only 'bad' part being a very small bit of wear on the drivers seat leather. All good so far, then i fired it up...to be greeted to the glorious sound of Toyota 1UZ engine. I knew I had to have needed the car from this point. After a quick drive and I knew everything was in perfect order, we agreed on the price of £1,500, and that was that. Yes, the pick up is very dull compared to all the pick ups' I've read on here, with the most dramatic part being a dash to the post office to get it taxed with just tear off part of the V5.

Now I should point out that, although my friend said "rather bad condition and could do with some work" and me saying "it was fantastic condition", this is down to the fact he is a perfectionist when it comes to the car's. I'm not.

 

So as of the 24th of January 2015, i was the owner of a 2000 Lexus LS400 with only 92,000 miles under it's wheels, FSH with half of it being Lexus stamped. 4000cc's of V8 pumping out 290hp & 300lb ft, electric everything, factory fitted touch screen center console sat-nav/info system , 50 cows worth of leather inside and about 10 trees worth wood trim. This honestly took some time to take in.

R9ZF7R0.jpg

Picture of once I got her to my flat. 

 

I was 21 years old and had a REAL luxo-barge, which would have cost about £60-70k brand new. So the first thing I did was of course annoy the local 'yoof' at Asda carpark that night...

U4b0szs.jpg

No idea who made them tyre makes...

 

After that she spent the next few weeks just being an everyday car, bringing me to & from work in utmost comfort.

 

This is where the story really begins, and ended up doing everything that the engineers though these would end up doing.

 

My first long trip with it was in February of 2015, when me and a few friends went to the 'Snowman Rally' up north of Inverness, this ended up with me having to drive in the snow, and do a bit of off-roading by parking in a field...

JdfXY1s.jpg

Only got stuck at one part, which ended up with my friends lending a hand to push her. Oh well. 

 

The next thing was in April, when I got invited to go to Crail for a meet up. I said I would't put it on the strip...but what sort of man would I be to turn down "Drag racing a V8" from the bucket list? 

vMNbCEx.jpg

Yes, that's is smoke...and it's from the tyres. 

 

The first run was with a Honda Civic Type-R. I crept down the queue without touching the throttle, meanwhile the civic was being as loud as it could. We got ready to line up, the Civic deciding to warm it's tyres with a wheel spin. Once he'd stopped, I blipped the throttle a few times (Remember that exhaust I talked about, it's AMG-ish 6.3 V8 sounding), only to have the Civic driver look over in total amazement/horror, made all the better when I beat it...He may or may not had a very bad start. but a win is a win!

 

 

The next big thing after this was attending a special 'Colin McRae' event at knockhill, which was over the course if two days so me and a friend decided to camp over the Saturday/Sunday at the track. Being Scotland, the weather decided it wanted to rain, alot. After having put up his tent in the sodding rain, I decided I could't be bothered pitching mine up, and would just sleep in the car insted. For the time being though, we decided to have a 'few' beers and let night kick set in.

rtmqwqw.jpg

I'm sure Lexus expected owners to use the car as a bar/tent? 

 

The next thing on the list? A spirited drive of course. 

This was a spur of the moment thing, having attended a local classic car show with Supernaut and another friend, we met up with someone we know threw one of the car clubs on facebook just to show far at a monthly meet. This ended up with us joining in on the meet, and next thing I knew I was using the LS400 on the South Deeside Road. 

bPdmTQo.jpgSpot the odd one out?

 

This was the first time I'd driven the car in such a way, I know the road rather well and it's a real hoot to drive in cars suited for it such as the Cappuccino. But for a 2-tonne Luxo barge? All I can say it was one of the best drives I've had, because the car is so not suited for it that it made me smile ear to ear, all the while sitting in the comfort of sofa! Supernaut summed it up by saying...

"I took a corner and though to myself 'that was a bit challenging', only to look in the mirror and see you under steering out of the corner, wheels facing one way and the body leaning the other way and though to my self 'cocking hell coffee, that was optimistic of you!" 

 

I toned it down after that drive, until July when me, Supernaut and 'Dan'(He'll come into this story again later) went for a tour of the West Coast of Scotland, more specially the infamous Applecross Pass. 

Tb6u7uW.jpg

 

696xvtL.jpg

N08FONw.jpg

 

A great trip, with the 'LexBus' taking it all without a care in the world, being the only car out of the 3 to not have problems! Some of the roads were rather tight at times for it admittedly and the downhill on Applecross was't fantastic thanks to the Slush box(I just kept it in D...) It was also really good on the fuel the 3 days we were out, only needing to visit the pump's twice, with the second time was just to top up to play it safe when at 1/2 tank (Had a full 25ltr J-Can in the boot in case as well)

 

So having had a large number of 'adventures' with the car (only picked the best/most interesting to post) in the space of less than 6 months, it was fair to say i was in love with the car, and for a number of reasons,  most being somewhat childish such as blipping the throttle at times just to have people look around looking for something sporty, only to drive past anonymously before blipping it again and getting confused looks. Another is annoying/surprising people on the duel carriageways at times. Thanks to things like this I came up with the term "nobody suspects the Lexus", thanks to it being so under the radar. 

 

It's maybe worth pointing this out at this stage, but i honestly never expected to still have the car midway threw the year. I expected petrol to have jumped up to 1.20 a litre and letting her go due to silly running costs as a everyday car. But that never happened, so I had more adventures.

 

As I said, I've had fun on back roads with the car, but my friend with this Impreza wanted to get a few photo's of it in it's 'natural habitat', that being some dirt roads. So we went some one of the forrest stages used for the 'Granite City Rally'...

4NV7GHV.jpg

This was somewhat interesting, as his car was not long imported from the land of the rising sun and he has been keeping it in top condition. This also meant he was crawling along the forest roads to avoid any stone chips and such (An Impreza not being used for rally? Who'd have guessed...), me on the other hand was having none of that and driving the LS as if i was on the set of 'Dukes of Hazard'. Childish? Yes. a bit idiotic? probably...but it was damm good fun! 

 

Now at this stage, I'd have crossed off a number of things that Toyota/Lexus would have no doubt though about this car doing. 1/4 mile drag racing, having a piss up inside it, being used to 'show off' at the local super market, rally driving, 'B-Road Blasting' and being used as if it was a 'touge monster'. No matter what i'd thrown at it, it just lapped it up and asked for more. Everything you've read online about the LS400 being the most over engineered car ever is true. 

 

Now come to around October, I was at Crail again (okay, this was about the 5th time I'd been with the car...), only this time I managed to do something I never expected...

UnqiYWk.jpg

EPIC JDM LUXO-BARGE BATTLE

 

Yes, I got to race a Honda Legend. The LS's home rival to the luxo-barge market, which as it turns out the cars are somewhat alike inside & out. Of course the main differences being the Legend is a FWD V6 and the LS being a 4.0 V8 and RWD. As expected, the LS beat it on the 1/4 mile. 

 

Now this leads me to late November, when me, Supernaut and 'Dan' headed down to the NEC for the Classic car show, which when coming down from Aberdeen is quite a trip. more so when the 3 of us are in 'Dans' 1.0 Ecoboost Ford Fiesta for the trip down. Now this is where there is going to be a small cross-over into another thread made by rantingyoof...

 

 

 

Anyway, on the stupidly long drive down in a red, 1.0 Ecoboost Fiesta, Supernaut's friend confesses completely separately from any other discussion, that he is looking at LS400s, and that he has seen a very cheap blue one for sale. He describes it, and Supernaut pipes up "Oh yeah, I know the guy selling that. He lives down this way."

 

 

The fully story on that matter can be read by clicking here

 

Long story short, 'Dan' bought rantingyoof's LS400 which meant...

5X85LWN.jpg

 

There was now 2 in the Aberdeen area, owned by 22 year olds who like the barge life. Thank's to 'Dan' getting Mason, this has lead to more random antics and such. 

One of the best being in January of this year...

08EpFZd.jpg

A few of us went on a drive up the Cairn o'Mount road for the first drive of the year, which let me see just how bad fun it was to watch a luxo-barge get thrown around a back road. 

 

Sadly, this would be the last proper outing for the old girl as I'd been planning on getting another car to used for every day use. One thing in life I want to is have a brand new car at least one in my time, and I decided the time was right now. I ended up with an Abarth 595 and this left me with a bit of a problem. I have nowhere to keep a 4th car. (2 cars at my Parents, Cappo & a Civic Aerodeck), the 595 was at the flat I stay at and and Lexus was kept on a side street on a borrowed street pass.

The Civic & Cappuccino don't have any MOT's as of now, which mean I had to put the LS400 into storage.   :-(

 

Thankfully my dad has a friend who'd let me keep the car in his barn, for the cost of a bottle of Auchentoshan. It's a bit of a logistical nightmare to get a hold of the car again If want it just for a day or two, but better than having to let her go. A deal was done sadly, as of the 20th of Febuary, the old girl was laid to rest...

C4gWhyX.jpg

 

As happens sometimes, you fall for something younger and more athletic and end up leaving things behind. 

 

And sadly, of of today that is the end of the story for the time being, with the old girl being under the car of 'Top Men'...

 

But rest assured, she will be back.

 

TL:DR...Owned a Lexus LS400 for a year, did lots of things the cars not expected to do. Liked it alot. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Many years ago I swapped a Merc W126 300SE for an LS400. I've bought, sold and swapped many cars over the years but of all the deals I've done, that is the one I regret the most. Whilst the Lexus was superior to the old S-Class in every way apart from fuel economy, it had none of the charm and I sold it after a couple of weeks.

 

Considering that the design is nearing its 30th birthday, it's still an amazing piece of machinery but like all Lexuses (Lexi?) of today, it's just so bland.

 

I miss that S-Class.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

An interesting read, remarkable cars aren’t they? I’m enjoying doing a range of things in my Mk3 version, everything from work commutes and family trips out to track day antics.

 

I did once have a quick go in a Mk4 like yours, I found it to be noticeably faster (you get VVTi, 20-30BHP an extra ratio in the ‘box).

 

I think throwing the bland accusation at them (and other ‘90s Toyotas) is too easy. They need to be owned for a long time to appreciate the depth of engineering.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bland can describe a lot of Japanese cars both now and from better eras (like when Nissans were Japanese before they got involved with Renault), i stupidly sold my Bluebird Estate because it was bland/boring, only later when up to me arse in grease and oils fixing its replacements yet again did i realise the very fact it just never went wrong was part of its boredom, fortunately it was one of the very few cars i made a profit on.

 

Never had a Lexus, but been a fan of the LS400 since Eurodollar had them on the rental fleet for a while when they first arrived here, i had 7 of the buggers on a nine car carrier couldn't fit any more on,  they stood out from everything else at the time just slotting the key in and the steering column moving back into place was astounding, heavy as hell mind so that engine has some work to do.

 

Dunno what Lexus are doing with their latest offerings, nipping down Halfords for a chavtastic front grill/skirt and rivetting it onto a what was previously a decent looking car was an excellent* idea chaps.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great post, great read and brilliant example of how you can still have fun for less than two bags of sand - probably a week in Tenerife or summat.  No thanks! 

 

These Lexi are something that pop up on my radar every few months, blip once or twice and then disappear into the green ether.  I really must, one day, before they are all gone.  Nothing else appeals - it has to be a Mk1 LS400.  Not the "Korean S Class" re-style or any of the other stuff they did.  

 

I don't know what they are like to drive yet but they look fantastic and not at all bland, which is something stylistically that I consider the Legend and Infiniti stuff to suffer from. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I do really like these things, and I will probably have one! Spotting them for sale here in the sticks is a rare occurrence, so I've never had the excuse of convenience for buying one, yet!

 

At the resto show in the NEC the other week I spotted one on the way in, while I was sitting the other way waiting for someone in my orange Volvo V70R, was a driver about my age (20s) in the Lexus. Wasn't you was it?

 

I imagine the seats even beat the ones in a full size Volvo, so it must be a good prospect for a run down from Aberdeen! I'm off to Aberdeen this Friday actually. But in my Disco TD5. And with another Landy on a trailer behind. Not so fast or relaxed, I suspect...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Strange as it may seem for such a big car, I find there is a lack of headroom. It’s not like I have a quiff or beehive or anything, but I am conscious of the headlining not being far away (I suppose the problem is the sunroof). Loads of legroom in the back though, even behind my seat reclined more than usual due to the above. A folding rear seat would be handy, but then I imagine that carrying lengths of wood wasn’t on the list of things that owners might do with them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Strange as it may seem for such a big car, I find there is a lack of headroom. It’s not like I have a quiff or beehive or anything, but I am conscious of the headlining not being far away (I suppose the problem is the sunroof). Loads of legroom in the back though, even behind my seat reclined more than usual due to the above. A folding rear seat would be handy, but then I imagine that carrying lengths of wood wasn’t on the list of things that owners might do with them.

 

Yup. I'm 6ft 2" and my hair was touching the ceiling, with the seat in the optimum position.

 

My dad would have owned an LS400 but for the seats. He's 6ft 5" and does not fit. His head kept properly getting interferred with by the sunroof, with the cover over or not.

 

Probably a combination of sun-roof + complicated electric seat mechanism.

 

The seats in general are small. Not enough upper leg support for me - the S60's seats are a dream. I reckon the Japanese designed it for square-shaped Americans (the seats are exceptionally wide, although I'm quite narrow).

 

But yes. This write-up has made me miss Mason an awful lot.

 

I dare say there'll be another Lexus in my life at some point in the future.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll be the first to say that the car is a bit bland in it's styling, more so the Mk4 with it's wannabe S-Class look. But it's all the better for it in my eyes as it just slip's past anonymously, and the fact nobody expect it to be quick...well as quick as a near 2-tonn luxo-barge can be. (6.3 seconds to 0-60 for my spec apparently, and it bloody feel's it at times). I think the fact that most of the time I dress as if I was middle aged helps, meaning people don't think i'd stomp the throttle when the need raised.

 

One thing that's always gotten me is just how reliable it's been over the course of the 15,000 miles I put on in a year and 2 weeks of driving it. It's never needed oil and no matter how much it's been thrashed/abused it keeps asking for more. Only thing I've had changed is rear tyres and front axle upper wishbones and lower suspension arm ball joint's(Somewhat common problem with the model). Though it had a problem with the brakes thanks to the brake warning light coming on, only to find out it was a brake light bulb that'd gone. Oh...and one of the heat shields is handing off a bit thanks to using it as a literal barge when we had all the flooding at the start of 2016. 

 

If anyone has been thinking of getting one, i'd fully recommend it and get one that look's like it's been looked after for part of it's life. And the fact that petrol is expected to stay below £1.10 for a while. Well who can argue! :D

 

 

Yeah but admit it ... you really want a Starlet now ! 

 
Don't tempt me! :P 
I could't help but laugh when I drove it actually as alot of the switch gear is the same as the LS's... 
 
 

17 coffees great stuff!

What did the LS do on the standing quarter, I'm quite intrigued by the oriental Qship.

 
From memory, the best I was getting on a good day at Crail (Dry and sunny) was definitely in the low 15's. But that was with a full tank of fuel (80 liters or so) and a boot full of crap. I reckon high 14's could be had no problems. 
 
 

But yes. This write-up has made me miss Mason an awful lot.

 

I dare say there'll be another Lexus in my life at some point in the future.

 

Keep in mind Dan is moving stateside at the end of the year, Mason will be up for sale again. :)

 

But also keep in mind that me & Supernaut are planning on buying an LS400 to use as a track car...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh yes...

QYof3Dc.jpg

 

After being 'mothballed' (quite literally) for 2 months, I've taken her out again! :D 

 

As expected, once the battery was hooked up, the procedure for disengaging the immobilizer was done(Kicks in as soon as the battery is disconnected) and 20 litre Jerry car emptied into it, she fired up without hesitation. Very uneventful other than it scared the chickens & duck's in the barn.

Typical, I'd got to the bother of getting a second battery to use just in case that one was flat due to having left it in the car. 

The VSC light was on and stayed until about 1/2 mile down the road. 

 

Took a little bit of getting used to again. Wafting around the back roads to get back to Aberdeen was fun for the first few miles due it, thanks to the pin point handling I've been used to in the Abarth. Likewise when navigating how much space I have...already had 2 near misses due to that. 

 

So first port of call is she's getting the timing and service done at Toyota Aberdeen,not sure the timing has ever been done despite it having all the stamps up to date, also that at 106,000 miles it's close being due to be done again if according to the handbook (60k miles or so appertain). While it's getting that, it's getting a service as well. Was going to do it myself but at £169 it's not that more expensive than if I got everything myself and did it. Also keeps the 'FSH' tag I can give it. 

I'll also be fitting the alternator belt once that arrives as it's long over due, as well as rip off  secure the rear heat shield as it's half hanging off 

 

Plan to enter the car at a local classic car show next month as well. Why? I've a few Euro Luxo-barges from the 90's (Everything from S500's to 735's) at show's the past few years, so don't think it'd be too out of place. Last year i was even asked if I was a late entry by the marshal, so why not I guess. :)

 

Soon to be sorted will be the bodywork, which other than age related wear and tear has a massive patch of lacquer missing on the O/S/F wing, a slight botched repair job on the front bumper and the fact the drivers door is sagging something silly, to the point you can tell from a distance it's not sitting right... 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Had a go in an LS400 for the first time the other day. Interior looked and smelled exactly like a Nissan QX Maxima I once had. Headroom ridiculously low. The owner did the "You do know the engine is running" thing. And no I didn't. The silence was truly impressive. And this in a £700 car.

 

I read it as £169 for the service only and that sounds about right.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Toyota is the place for cambelts for the make, yep its never that £169 for sure (which is good for a minor service), but at £290ish for the V6 Landcruiser they came in around £200 lower than anyone else quoted.

Water pumps arn't necessarily changed on Toyotas unless they find wear,  pumps if driven by the cambelt at all are not at major angles of the belt so not running at high tensions permanently.

 

Remember on minor service Mr T won't strip clean and lube the brakes which they do on a major, so that'll be for you to DIY, easy enough mind which is why it amazes me why people don't ever do it and then bitch because the fuckin calipers have seized.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh for fucks' sake.

 

The clutch needs doing on my Avensis pronto.  (Not bad, I bought it 3 years ago needing one at 100k - now on 180k) and it's about £500 all in for a new clutch and gearbox linkages etc, or a bit more for something like this.

 

Thanks for arousing me.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Have fancied a cheap one with possibly questionable paintwork for a while myself, largely - as with the OP - to get the have-a-V8 out of my system. I know Merc's etc are better in theory but the Lexus does seem to have a ridiculously good reputation for being reliable even if they are a little on the characterless side (is that necess a bad thing??) and that attracts me. Sure, if anything big/serious goes wrong then it's big money or bin-it time but that's the chance we all take. 

 

I'd like to have one before the great and the good find a reason to raise the price of fuel back to stupid levels again and while my weekly mileage is pretty small so running costs wouldn't be silly. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...