Junkyard Gem: 1990 Lexus LS 400

Think about you are an American Mercedes-Benz salesman through the winter of 1989-1990, trying over your stock of majestic W126-chassis 560 SELs… and then you definitely look throughout the road at that brand-new Lexus dealership and flinch on the sight of your rivals gloating over quite a bit filled with futuristic-looking large luxurious sedans priced at lower than half the price of your top-of-the-pyramid S-Class. This was the way it appeared when mighty Toyota, driving excessive simply earlier than the popping of the Japanese asset value bubble, immediately muscled its approach into the American high-end luxury-car market, and the results of that six-year, 145-billion-yen improvement course of was the unique Lexus LS. This is a kind of first-year LS 400s, used up at age 32 and residing in a Denver self-service automotive graveyard.

Toyota had been promoting fairly luxurious rear-wheel-drive Cressidas in North America for the reason that 1978 mannequin yr (actually, Cressida gross sales would proceed right here via 1992), and earlier than that we obtained the plush Crown. These well-built automobiles had been very comfy and should have swiped a number of gross sales from Oldsmobile and even BMW, however automotive customers right here had come to affiliate the Toyota model with smart small automobiles and Warlord Grade vehicles. Honda did very effectively promoting luxed-up Accords and Civics with Acura badges, beginning in 1986, and Toyota adopted up with the Lexus model for the LS 400 (in addition to the Camry-based ES 250).

In Japan, the place the Toyota badge went on every part from stitching machines to the Emperor’s private Century (truly, Emperor Akihito’s on a regular basis driver was a Honda Integra sedan), there was no want for a separate luxurious marque and the LS 400 was bought because the Toyota Celsior. As soon as the Lexus model took off globally, nevertheless, Toyota ultimately started utilizing it for home-market autos. You’ll be able to even purchase a brand new Lexus bicycle in Japan at this time!

The Cressida had an enormous straight-six engine, however the LS had to have a correct twin-cam V8 to do battle with the S-Class, BMW 7-Sequence, and Audi V8 (sure, the 7-Sequence did not get a V8 till later, however the 750i had a V12). Toyota had been constructing aluminum-block hemi-head V8s for the Crown Eight and the Century for the reason that center Nineteen Sixties, however that was an old style pushrod design and clearly too outdated for the LS. The LS obtained a 4.0-liter DOHC V8, designed from scratch only for the event; it had six-bolt most important bearing caps and made 256 horses within the 1990 model. Now that we have had three many years to guage the 1UZ-FE, we all know it is likely one of the most sturdy automotive engines ever made; when at this time’s Junkyard Gem was new, it was simply identified to be very clean and pretty highly effective (that yr, the 560 SEL’s V8 made 238 horsepower, the Audi V8’s engine had 240 horsepower, and the 750iL’s V12 gained the arms race with 296 horses).

I personal a 1997 Coach Version LS 400 in Jade Inexperienced Metallic, and it is by far one of the best automotive I’ve ever owned (I need to admit I want that I might imported a JDM Celsior, although, as a substitute of looking for years for an LS 400 with an excellent inside, as a result of right-hand-drive and fabric seats are cool). I have never wanted to buy elements for it (apart from an excellent set of manufacturing unit wheels for winter tires), however I do maintain my eyes open for different 1990-1997 LS 400s throughout my junkyard travels. Judging by the junked LSs I discover, homeowners grasp onto them till the interiors get trashed past redemption. I can not inform what number of miles are on a junkyard automotive with a digital odometer (it’s essential to energy up the ECU to show the odometer in an LS 400 and junkyard automobiles do not have batteries), however I will wager greater than 250,000 miles handed beneath this automotive’s tires throughout its life.

This technology of LS 400 got here with a Pioneer audio system as base gear, with a Nakamichi rig as an possibility. This automotive has the Pioneer, and it performed each cassette tapes and compact discs.

The ultimate proprietor put in what seem like Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor metal rims with low cost plastic wheel covers, as a result of the LS 400 used Detroit’s good ol’ 5 x 4.5″ wheel bolt sample (also called the 5 x 114.3mm sample). Because of this loads of Ford, Chrysler, and AMC wheels from the final 60 or so years will bolt onto an LS 400, supplied they will clear the large entrance brake rotors.

Essentially the most aerodynamic luxurious sedan in America. Supposedly, these automobiles would go greater than 150 mph, which is spectacular for simply 256 horsepower.

Beginning at $36,000. That is about $74,780 in 2021 {dollars}, which is remarkably much like the $76,000 MSRP on the bottom 2022 LS 500.

The LS 400 was designed with the USA market in thoughts, so Toyota did not market its Celsior sibling fairly so vigorously. In any case, why compete with your individual flagship?

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Patrick Moore

Patrick is our chief editor and he's very passionate about cars. He has a bachelor's degree in marketing and he studies journalism. His favorite brand is BMW and he drives an X5 series. When he's not writing for Vehiclenews.net, he enjoys spending time with his family and 9 years old son.

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