My last post on here concluded that the Bluebird needed to go. The pleasing news is that it has! I was hoping to get £600 for a car I’d spent considerably more on, such is the way I do things. When I got offered a Lexus LS400 as a direct swap, it would have been foolish to refuse.
The Bluebird simply needed too much more work to make it decent. I’d run out of energy and motivation. It needed a new home. It has found an enthusiastic one too – John has already replaced the clutch and is now trying to improve the rather tired interior. I’m impressed, and happy that it found a good home.
I’m also pleased because this was no transfer of convenience. I’ve long admired the Lexus LS400, for reasons of luxury, V8 engines and also windscreen wiper. This was the first Japanese car that really took on the might of Europe and the USA when it came to large, luxury saloons. It had prestige, presence and power. Previous luxury efforts, such as the Toyota Century, Nissan President and Mitsubishi Debonair, were just a bit too Japanese. Well, to be honest, they were a bit too Russian in feel, with elderly styling that was unusual to the point of oddity.
Or, they were simply a class below. The Toyota Camry, Nissan Maxima and Mitsubishi Sigma were front-wheel drive and a bit too mainstream. They were rivals for cars such as the Ford Granada and Vauxhall Carlton, not the BMW 7-Series, Mercedes-Benz S-Class and Jaguar XJ6. The Lexus LS400, a brand new brand from Toyota, tackled the class-leaders head on. Rivalling the hewn-from-granite feel of the Mercedes-Benz W126 was no mean feat, but Lexus managed it.
It became a success too, selling over 165,000 units for the first generation, from 1989 to 1994. Just to confuse matters, the first generation included a Mk1 and a Mk2 with subtle changes. In late 1994, the LS400 changed to a second generation, but this is called a Mk3. That’s what I have, with a higher-compression, interference engine, producing 260bhp, but also destroying itself if the timing belt snaps. Previous LS400s were of a non-interference design.
This fact is relevant, as the history is a bit patchy on my Lexus, and I’ve no idea if the belt has been changed since it was (apparently) done at 55,000 miles. It now has 156,000 miles on the clock…
Naturally, there really is no comparison with a Bluebird 1.6LX. The Lexus has effortless torque, offers much greater comfort and luxury and is so much more peaceful. Mind you, it is also far, far larger and drinks a lot more fuel. I’d estimate I achieved around 25mpg on my drive home – more accurate figures will have to wait. The Bluebird managed 41mpg on a recent trip…
But, the Lexus offers enjoyment that the Bluebird could not. It offers serenity and easy pace that the Bluebird could not. I’ve decided that greater running costs are worth it (it’s not like the Bluebird has been cheap to revive!). How long that mindset will continue remains to be seen, but as my love for electric cars grows, I thought I’d better make sure I enjoy some more V8 action while I still can.
Sure, it probably won’t offer the same ready flow of video updates as the Bluebird managed – just like the Honda. I’ve barely mentioned that in a year, because it just keeps working. Don’t worry though. I’ll be keeping the dreadful car reports coming. Sure, the Proton is also off to a new home, but there are plenty of cars I have my sights on, even if owning them isn’t a priority right now. I’m not about to ‘sell out’ and go all glamorous just because I have a nice car.
Anyway, enough waffle. Here’s my latest video on my latest purchase.