By on July 20, 2015

33 - 1997 Lexus LS400 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Three years ago, after becoming obsessed with 1990s Japanese luxury cars and, failing to find a non-thrashed Infiniti Q45 (or even a nice J30), I bought a very clean 1997 Lexus LS400 Coach Edition. It’s still my daily driver and still in great shape, but you always have a need for a few bits and pieces when you drive an older car. The early LS400s are extraordinarily common in low price, self-service wrecking yards these days, but the UCF20 1995-1997 LS is still worth enough that it’s a rare sight at U-Wrench-It.

Last winter, I finally found one in a Denver yard, and it has stories to tell.
21 - 1997 Lexus LS400 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Even five years after moving to Colorado from the San Francisco Bay Area, I’m still not fully on board with this snow-covered-junkyard business.

13 - 1997 Lexus LS400 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

This car had all the signs of a rapid fall from luxury-car glory; there was plenty of body damage outside and trash inside, but it still had all the original dealer paperwork and factory inspection certificate.

60 - 1997 Lexus LS400 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

I’m pretty sure that the TO BE TOWED note I found was written by an enraged apartment manager or neighbor, after the car became immobile due to some expensive-to-fix mechanical problem, and that the angry response was written by the car’s owner. As we all know, heartfelt notes to tow-truck drivers don’t work.

42 - 1997 Lexus LS400 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

But according to the auction sticker, the car starts.

There is nothing sadder than a broken wind-up crab toy crawling through the junkyard slush.

64 - 1997 Lexus LS400 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

The only part I really wanted for my LS was the factory radio, because the LCD display on mine has some bad pixels. However, I learned from parting out an SC400 on eBay that certain 1990s Lexus parts are worth good money, so I grabbed a few more bits.

 

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74 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1997 Lexus LS400 Coach Edition (with Bonus Failed Anti-Tow-Away Note)...”


  • avatar
    RideHeight

    “a broken wind-up crab toy crawling through the junkyard slush”

    More evidence that children present tripping hazards on the slippery slope. Sadness.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Man can’t look correct in an LS400 with car seats and crayons in it.

      • 0 avatar
        RideHeight

        Mmnnh!

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        Hey now!

        In the near future I’ll have an LS460, and it will most assuredly have a car seat in it. Crayons, no… after what he’s done to the siding of our building with chalk, the little hellion is not remotely to be trusted with semi-aniline upholstery.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          You better put a sheet over the back seat then! Or a custom cover or something. There will be grape jelly and Froot Loops, assuredly.

          Did you go check out that white one with grey woods?

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            No jelly in the car and sugar cereals are forbidden.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            My sister has her “dog car,” which is an older 07ish Santa Fe. I think I might have a “child car” if I had one of these children I see other people having. Probably an Odyssey Elite, in pearl white. That would look nice next to an LS460-L AWD in the garage.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Yep, I checked out the white one; it had issues. Had obviously been maintained on the cheap, and smelled slightly of smoke.

            We have a no-food-in-the-car policy not just for my toy cars but also for the Forester, where the little guy rides most of the time. We’ll stop if we need to rather than getting food all over the interior, because once food is ground in it’s very hard to get it out well enough to eliminate the smell.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            That’s so odd to me, spend all that money on an LS, then don’t take care of it? I can’t comprehend that mentality. It’s not like the LS is some disposable VAG product which will fall apart in 4 years.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Yeah. I think it just comes down to ignorance. People don’t understand why good maintenance is important or even what it is.

            My insistence on having all of the goodies (especially the semi-aniline leather upgrade, which includes leather armrests/door pulls, and which came only with the rare Comfort Plus package) is making the search harder.

            I’m looking at three other cars now, but none of them are perfect. There’s a dark gray/light gray one near me that is solid mechanically, with a complete Lexus service history, but has cosmetic issues — visibly repaired damage to both bumpers and a couple of dings on the front passenger door. There’s a black one in Prescott, Arizona that looks absolutely gorgeous, but driving a black-on-black large sedan would make me feel like an Uber Black driver. There’s a black/light gray one about an hour from Chicago that has a good service history and looks great inside, but has slightly yellowed headlights (parked outside?) and of course with a Chicago car I worry about rust.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I don’t like any of those options! Black/black is both hot and hard to keep clean.

            If you’re looking all the way in Chicago, just check out some in some other dry states, TX or NM etc.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            I’m looking all over the country, and I’ve found only 8 cars meeting my criteria. And some of them can obviously be excluded just based on pictures.

            Here in the Great Mild Northwest of Overcast black/black really isn’t a problem because of heat. The issue with black/black is feeling like I’m driving a livery car instead of my own luxury sedan. It’s like wearing a plain tux without any distinguishing features or accessories to an evening event; you feel like a waiter.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Update: after thinking hard about my options, I decided to call the dealer in Sacramento that had that silver car with the misaligned front bumper and ask about it. The dealer guy laughed and said I was the second person to notice it after his body and paint guy. He said he didn’t know how it happened, but there was no evidence of any repairs to anything other than the bumper, and I believe him based on the pictures. The car has a clean Carfax, for what that’s worth, and a complete service history that doesn’t reflect any major repairs.

            The rest of the car is just in so much better shape than the rest of the candidates, except the black-on-black livery car, that I decided to go for it. I sent the dealer a deposit and will head down there to pick it up next week.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            That misalignment makes me nervous! Did you try to get him to agree and correct it? Surely something could be done about that.

            If not – discounts should follow.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            There was a discount involved.

            I’m not too nervous about the misalignment. It’s an issue with the bumper cover, and not with any of the sheetmetal, which looks perfect. The car’s history has nothing in it to make me think there is a structural problem. Every other car I’ve looked at has some sort of imperfection (or should be owned by an Uber Black driver), and for me this one is by far the least bothersome.

            If I had been willing to put up (the horror!) with rubber armrests/door pulls that IMO aren’t befitting of a top-line luxobarge, and go without that excellent Mark Levinson sound system, I could have bought a truly perfect 2007 car in North Carolina that has only 28,000 miles on it (although is that so few that I should worry about lack of use?). But I’d rather have the interior materials and the sound system for which the car was designed, rather than the proper panel gap in one small place.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          Make sure you vacuum up the Cheerios. Too bad the LS doesn’t have the HondaVac.

          • 0 avatar
            Ryoku75

            I can’t tell you how many nicer cars I’ll see littered with trash everywhere, new and old.

            Imo people that tend to buy older Lexus, Volvo, Mercedes, Hondas, stuff like that are the type that want to plop down cash and forget maintenance.

            They see reputed reliable cars as “Free Get out of Jails cards”, then they sell them as soon as something little bugs up, if not scrap them altogether.

      • 0 avatar
        KalapanaBlack

        Funny timing. Just ran across a very clean non Coach 2000 at my favorite yard on Sunday. Gold over tan, almost complete, nearly no body damage, and really in very good shape. Rwo local beauty school stickers on the rear window, a bib in the trunk, and a collection of SpongeBob and Dora the Explorer stickers on the still almost new looking passenger seat back. I was wondering about the stories to be told from it, as well. Original owner folio with window sticker scattered throughout the passenger floor. The grille had been scavenged, but nothing else. Slight dent to the right front corner which disloged the corner lamp, but no other damage visible. No clue how many miles-bodies and interiors age very well on second gen LSs and they all had digital clusters. Right next to a 97 Avalon with 39,000 miles and engine fire damage (but a like new interior), and a 96 Avalon with 330,000 in the same shade of gold.

        • 0 avatar
          KalapanaBlack

          Also notice the later model Q41 right behind the LS above. We very rarely get any Infinitis in the yards around here, aside from G20s and the occasional ghetto-fab J30. Is Jerry Hirshberg still alive? Often wonder if any long time auto designers take in their older work at the end of the vehicular life cycle…

        • 0 avatar
          datarecoveryinc

          Hi,
          I am just in the middle of replacing Black on Tan 1998 LS400 timing belt and waterpump and discovered I need the left camshaft “tube” and cam pulley.

          I could use your help. Where is this car located?
          Need LF fender, hood supports, and more. heck I’ll go for the entire front clip!

          Not sure how to leave a best contact method. Appreciate any and all help. Is there a PM – private message process available?

    • 0 avatar
      RideHeight

      *sigh*

      The things I’ve missed..

      YAY!

  • avatar
    TonyJZX

    Where I am the 2nd gen is still quite rare and good drivers are still above $5,000… I think they have the newer 5 spd automatic and revision has a lighter body etc. and a VVT engine (???)… its a sweet ride… although I believe the styling is fussier than the original.

    It saddens me to see such a fine piece of Japanese engineering like this.

    I think the motor is still intact, that makes a good transplant.

    Also although the cars are relatively inexpensive to buy they have diverged enough from the original LS400 to be a pain for many mechanics not up with Lexus electronics.

    Would like one if they werent so expensive to register and all being a V8.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      They were quick. Buddy of mine had a brand new one in high school (!!!!) and it got up. I was surprised.

      I prefer the old Lexus GS400s though. I remember freaking out about it breaking into the 5s on its 0-60 time. Seems so quaint now.

      • 0 avatar
        Lightspeed

        I’m amazed at how many average cars are in the 5’s on 0-100kph now. But, where my GS400 still shines is highway passing. In the 120-160kph range (with ECT-Power mode enabled) it’s as quick or quicker than even the crazy turbo-diesel 1-tons around here!

  • avatar
    Crabspirits

    It was Tuesday October 21st 2014, and Tamara drove her Lexus for the final time.

    The heavy metal door of the stairwell slammed shut with a boom, announcing to everyone in the apartment complex that Tamara and her children were departing. “Come on little bitches.”, she chimed with slight contempt. The two boys broke into a sprint through the parking lot. Their loose book bags flailed wildly on their backs as they made haste to the black LS400. As Tamara waddled out in trail, her phone rang in her handbag. She pulled out the iPhone, and glanced at the shattered screen. “Hello?!”, she answered in an irate tone. “Hello Tamara, this is Gary calling again from collections. We’re still waiting for you to pay this outstanding balance of $15,850 that you owe.”, the voice on the other end said snidely. Tamara laughed, “Well I ain’t got it! I told you yesterday Gary. Know what? This harassment. I have the internet, you know? What ‘chu doin’ is illegal and-” Gary broke in with, “Ohhhh no, it’s illegal? What are you, a lawyer now? Perhaps you can afford to pay back your debts now. Who do you have internet with? Comcast? Perhaps I can give them a little call about you as well? I would call Verizon, and have them shut down your phone, but then I wouldn’t be able to call you five times a day.” The slapping sound of a high-five over a cubicle wall punctuated Gary’s forceful words. Tamara swung the door of the Lexus to it’s full open ninety degree range of travel in order to comfortably ease herself into the driver’s seat. She stuck the jingling key in the ignition , and summoned the 1UZ V8 to life. The steering column telescoped out, but the gear for the tilt chattered away, leaving the wheel in a position more suitable for a bus driver. Gary heard the unmistakable sound of the starter, and light fan roar. “What’s that? Is-is that my Lexus? Don’t go too far. I’ll send my guys for it today.”

    The two boys fought in the back seat over the wind-up crab toy. One teasing the other while letting it whir in his brother’s ear. “Knock that shit off!”, Tamara yelled. All was silent for a moment, and nothing could be heard in the cabin other than the clunking upper control arm as the Lexus glided smoothly down South Peoria St. Little David continued finishing off his half of the tough breakfast sandwich. The sweet smell of old Toyota product, stale ashtray, and Black Ice air freshener mixed in the boy’s palette. It fouled what little flavor there was. He then shed the Circle K wrapper upon the floor. Tamara pulled into Eastridge Elementary to drop off her cargo. She watched her children run into the building, and then cued her Bic on the first menthol of the day, much to the scorn of the other adults present. As she pulled away, she felt the phone buzz in her Coach bag. She knew without a doubt that it was either Gary again or Lisa from pay day loans with her “good cop” phone manners. Strangely, she would much rather spar with Gary. This time, she would give whomever it was none of her time. The back heating element was finally starting to warm in her seat. She prodded the “TEMP” up button three times, guessing the requested temp hidden by the dead LCD panel of the climate control. Warm air began to flow out to her satisfaction. The tachometer failed, it’s needle falling to 0, indicating that the car was now at it’s operating temperature.

    Now that Tamara had dropped off her hastily-compiled resume for the dental office reception position, she got back into the Lexus. She swung the door out wide to meet the BMW X5 parked beside her. Now it was off to the salon to get some much needed hair maintenance. The plush ride of the LS400 contrasted with the discomfort coming from her crotch. She wondered if she had slightly soiled herself, or if it was just sweaty down there. She scratched herself, then disengaged the seat heater and took another guess at the climate control in order to take out some heat. “Maybe I got a breakout agin?”, she wondered.

    Denise combed out Tamara’s hair attentively. The two were discussing all of the ills of men when Jeezy’s Me OK ringtone emanated from Tamara’s bag…three times. “Man, who dat be? They wan ‘chu.”, Denise asked. Tamara was slightly ashamed, answering “Damn repo man.” Denise kept the conversation going as she worked, “Oh shit, they want your ride?” Tamara thought for a moment, looking at the Lexus parked in the window. It’s left front was still horribly disfigured by some unseen drunk in her apartment complex a month prior. “Probly cost fifteen G’s just to fix dat.”, she wondered. She suddenly came up with a clever plan to resolve everything.

    Tamara picked the boys up from school. They tried once again to raid the candy stash in the center console, an act that would normally enrage Tamara, she instead let them help themselves to the sweets. The phone rang. It was Gary again, and he really let her have it this time. He rattled off a fresh assortment of buzzwords, to include “loser”, and “deadbeat”. What he said next pushed the normally serene Tamara over the edge, “ghetto”. As she helmed the Lexus, she ate her phone and screamed “Listen mothafucka, I ain’t payin shit! You send your hoods to come get my car, cuz that’s all you gonna get! Fuck you!” The sound of “Dayyyyummmm!” coming from the back seat was audible in Gary’s headset. He jotted down the address she provided, and hung up.

    Tamara ripped the gold emblems from the Lexus angrily and threw them into the car, much to the delight of the forming crowd at the apartments. Some joined along, smashing the remaining headlight, and denting bodywork as the two boys danced on the roof. Someone maxxed out the stereo, blaring Jeremih’s Don’t Tell Em until the subwoofer ended itself. One of the onlookers picked up a rock, and exploded the back window. “OOOOOHH! Worldstar! Worldstar!”, the crowd cheered. Tamara gave a final parting karate kick to the rear flank with her high heel, and then crafted a delightful note for Butler Pay Day Loans. She reveled in the sweet revenge. They pushed her to the brink. She would certainly show them.
    As the trio walked away from the battered wreck and dissipating crowd, Tamara crowed, “I didn’t like dat hooptie any damn way!”

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    On a semi-related note, after last week’s 80s Maxima CC, I did infact find a super clean, garaged, 70k mile 1989 Cressida for sale locally, wonder of wonders. Went and checked it out, this thing was legit. Grey paint on Grey leather (I’d have preferred blue velour), 100% stock and unmolested with absolutely no rust and no paint fade. Head gasket done back in the early 2000s. The only thing it needs is new tires and the R12 AC system redone (supposedly still has a weak charge so that gives me hope that it’s a refill away from working). Test drove it, wow what a dream. Shocks/bushings could probably stand to be replaced but it still drove like a 100% premium automobile. Softer than a lot of “SPORTY” modern luxury sedans, but with the inherent poise of a RWD car. It’s surprisingly compact, less interior and trunk room than my 2012 Civic even, but I could care less. Even just moving the automatic shifter is special. Absolutely no jerks or sudden detents, just silent butter smooth motion.

    I have to stay strong and not buy this thing, especially at the very reasonable price it is being offered for.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      Give in

      Give in

      Give in

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        Ugh I’m a total sucker for this era of Toyotas, this would make a perfect pair to my similarly pristine ’96 4Runner. But I’m not naive about the sort of commitment this would be, Toyota build quality or not. It’s 26 year old car, with 26 year old gaskets, bushings, etc. My current strategy is to have a totally reliable new/efficient every-day car, which allows me to take my time and make any necessary repairs to my older 4Runner at my leisure (it needs new starter contacts currently). I don’t have the space in my driveway for another car, and I think swapping my 38mpg Civic for a 20 mpg Cressida would be questionable. If I did go this route, I’d road-trip the Cressida up to my brother’s and leave it with him for a few weeks for a full ‘baselining’ with a new timing belt, hoses, fluids and filters, sparkplugs and wires, shocks, etc. Not to mention a new set of Michelin tires to replace the dryrotted Michelins on it now.

        Time to buy that dream house with acreage for a pole barn workshop.

        • 0 avatar
          ajla

          I’d still go for it. I’ve passed on some vehicles I really regret not going for. These cars from the 80s aren’t getting any younger and getting harder to find in drivable condition.

          I don’t know your personal situation but I managed okay for awhile with a an’86 Diplomat and ’92 Bonneville as my only cars. Plus you’ve had the 4runner so you know the score and won’t be expecting a trouble free life.

          One tip on the parking, if you don’t live in an urban area you can probably find someone willing to store your car for cheap (farms, nonfrancished storage facilities, nonfrancished motels).

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            I don’t necessarily not have space at all in my driveway, it’s just an old school single car garage with a single-car width driveway, where I’m already doing the musical chairs thing any time I need to move one of the three vehicles (my gf’s car, and my two). My other reservation about the Cressida is that unlike the 4Runner which has a massive owner network with active forums and DIY writeups for every job imaginable (starter contact replacement for example), the Cressida stuff seems pretty thin online beyond guys dropping turbo Supra motors and 5spds into them and drifting these things, and some guys in Australia that tinker with them. Likewise parts seem harder to find from the usual sources like rockauto. For my 4Runner there’s probably 10 different brands of shocks I can buy, from Monroe up to Bilstein, KYB, etc. Not so for the Cressida, it strikes me as being closer to my old 1998 Mazda MPV, which was kind of an oddball car with pricey and harder to find parts at times.

        • 0 avatar
          Crabspirits

          Not sure why you want a Cressida if you’re not going to mod it or drift it. I have an 89 Cress, and a 90 LS400. The Lexus does everything better, and doesn’t blow head gaskets.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            For me anyway, the appeal of the Cressida over the LS is that it does feel like it comes from a different era.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Precisely what ajla said, it feels like it’s from a different generation. I’m not looking for a luxo boat, I’m looking for maximum late 80s Toyota factor. I grew up visiting Siberia in the 90s when the wave of JDM imports came across after the fall of the Soviet Union and free wheeling unregulated capitalism was in full swing. Mark IIs, Crowns (Royal Saloon, Super Saloon G, etc), Vistas, Carina EDs, all from this late 80s early 90s era. I guess you could look at it as the “pre 92 Camry” era of Toyota here in the US. Slightly less polished perhaps and with a few ergonomic quirks that I find endearing. A bit more awkward looking on high-stilted suspensions that ride soft. So it’s a very peculiar sort of nostalgia and drive that makes me lust after this very specific era of Toyotas. Likewise I wish my 1996 4Runner was actually an 80 series land cruiser, absolutely ubiquitous on rugged Siberian roads, to this day in fact.

            These old cars are now acquiring a bit of a cult following in Siberian parts of Russia, after proving themselves to be incredibly resilient even in those conditions. They’re more than just a better built, more reliable alternative to a new Russian car, they are sought after by enthusiasts:

            linkhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W6cGWj2ASAg

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      On me way to work this morning, as I round a corner I see something parked over at the side of the Speedway’s lot.

      A glint of shiny paint in the morning sun.
      The shimmer of emerald metallic.
      An aero shape, featuring insides of a peanut butter, camel sort of leather.
      And gold badges.

      What is it? An absolutely pristine 95 or 96 Camry Wagon V6 LE. So pretty – you never see them that clean, and no rust. Especially in Ohio! But not for sale! That moment will stick with me today.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        Buddy of mine has that exact Camry wagon. Peanut butter is the perfect description of the inside. Nice car. Sadly getting very rusty. Being in Rhode Island has kept it on the road a LOT longer than it would have lasted up here.

    • 0 avatar
      Lightspeed

      I have your ‘unicorn’ car, grey on blue velour. Mine’s mint but for one ‘Yota-style rust spot. Agree, these are delightful cars in the way they feel. They have an almost hand-made feel to them. Then you have to consider Toyota looked at the Cressida and thought, “What if we threw another $15 – $20,000 of materials, engineering and build quality at this?” That’s how you got the LS400.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      We’re going to shame you until you do buy it.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        The one thing I take solace in is that in talking to the seller, he mentioned the only other serious potential buyer was a guy that wanted to buy it for his daughter to drive her 2 kids in, and that he’d rather not sell to them. He would actually consider putting a bit of money into it and start driving it again. When I stop and think about it, I think a lot of my motivation behind wanting to buy really clean older cars comes simply from wanting to keep the car out of the hands of a negligent future owner who wouldn’t appreciate it. Kind of like not wanting a dog from a shelter to end up living chained up to some trailer.

        • 0 avatar
          Lightspeed

          Haha, don’t be that guy @gtemnykh, I ‘saved’ my Cressi from the drifters, but I was the guy who paid $3K to fix Toyota’s head-gasket mistake. Still love the car, but don’t let sentiment take advantage of you.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            Ah yes, the Rescuer. The automotive equivalent of the cat lady.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            I’ve gotten over that ‘curated preservation’ mental block with my 4Runner at this point, using it as a camping rig hauling dogs around will do that quick. It was official when my gf’s dog jumped up on the door with his paws to greet me and left some nice long scratches across the entire panel. Even though I could easily buff most of that out, I specifically chose not too. And now my front skid plate has some nice dents and scratches in it from some escapades off road, all the better. Lastly, when the power antenna quit this past winter in the brutal cold, rather than OCD-ing out and insisting on fixing it with OEM parts, I just unplugged the antenna motor and life has been good.

            The one thing I never let up on is oil-undercoat rust proofing and a basic coat of NuFinish twice a year, that and basic interior cleaning as well as looking after all things mechanical.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            “Even though I could easily buff most of that out, I specifically chose not too.”

            You’ve lost me now! After all that work you put in it.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            “You’ve lost me now! After all that work you put in it.”

            I know I know, I just needed that scratch there to drill it into my head that it’s a car that’s there to be used, not polished and not driven. I enjoy it a lot more when I’m fording a stream than when it just sits there gathering dust in the garage. FWIW, the scratch doesn’t go past the basecoat, some careful application of polishing compound would basically get rid of it. No risk of rust or anything like that.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          Let the Jawas have it.

        • 0 avatar
          Ryoku75

          I say forget about it, its just a generic-looking old car that’ll need bushings and a bunch of other work.

          Don’t worry about who else gets the car, what matters is you, your needs, your money, and how well the car suites your needs. If it gets turned into a drifter so what? Theres better cars out there.

          Plus I say the sellers fibbing, I can’t see a mother seriously considering an old airbag-less, bad-AC, creaking, unsafe, gas slurping Cressida for their kids.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, “generic-looking old car that’ll need bushings and a bunch of other work” just as easily applies to your old Volvo, an old mercedes w124, etc, etc. I outlined above what makes the car special to me. But I agree I gotta let this one pass me by. I’ll let it serve as motivation to keep saving for that dream workshop where I can tinker with my old oddball cars.

            And the other buyer was legit as far as I’m concerned, it was an older gentleman looking to buy a cheap used car for his daughter to use to haul her kids. This is the Eastside of Indy we’re talking here, “airbag-less creaky, unsafe, gas slurping” sedans are the ride du-jour. Think clapped out W-body Impala, ex-cop crown vic with dents and peeling paint, oil belching northstar caddies, etc. This Cressida would be a nice upgrade to someone coming from an LH Chrysler with a space saver rear tire and a locked up 2.7 V6. That’s exactly why I felt bad for the car, it will probably live out the end of its days in the ghetto :(

          • 0 avatar
            Ryoku75

            At least my old Volvo won’t rust like a Toyota, nor will a W124, and they get better mpg to boot.

            I’d personally wait for a nice ’89-something Camry, not as “deluxe” but more practical.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            W124 better MPG than a 7M Cressida? Doubtful, I think they’re about even. 240s are interesting cars for sure, I see their appeal don’t get me wrong. But I’d argue that aside from the rust thing, the Cressida is a better put together car in terms of fit and finish, interior material quality, and especially electrics. W124 like you said also has less propensity to rust, but they’re a whole ‘nother can of worms mechanically. Equally prone to headgasket issues as the Cressidas at higher mileages, add to that biodegradable wiring harness nightmare and some other Benz quirks, god forbid you own an old 4matic or one with the rear hydropneumatic suspension.

            I will give the nod to either of the Europeans for community/forum/DIY/parts support, a HUGE part of old car ownership if you do repairs yourself on the cheap.

          • 0 avatar
            Ryoku75

            Toyotas had good build quality back then yah, however, 20 years of aging and ownership will takes its toll on any car.

            With W24s it varies on the engine, you could get them with diesels that weren’t half bad. The biodegradable wiring harness’s though…yea, good point.

            For those that drive older Japanese cars I really wish parts were easier to find. No car should be put off the road due to parts scarcity.

            Even my Volvo 240s getting difficult without resorting to ebays ludicrous pricing, the car all the fans rave about.

          • 0 avatar
            Crabspirits

            Falling into the hands of a drifter is the best thing that can happen to a Cressida.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    So what actually made a “Coach Edition” a coach edition other than the money paid in licensing fees to “Coach.”

  • avatar
    Polishdon

    Well, there is a Westside Lexus still in operation in Houston, TX – http://www.westsidelexus.com/. That might explain the body damage. Someone from Houston driving in Denver might have issues with ice and snow.

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    The 1st – 2nd gen LS400 GS400 are pretty simple compared to newer cars. But far better built and of far better materials, esprecially interiors. Many were pampered for most of their lives, so you can still find pristine examples. I’d say $5-6000 spent on a nice LS400 and another $3-$4000 spent on suspension, shocks, bushings, brakes would give you an amazing car for $10K.

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

    I find J30s and sometimes early Q45s on the west coast all the time. Hell, I recently had a pretty clean M30 Convertable saved to my favorites list, although its gone as of this morning (keep in mind, most everything I look at is under $2k…seems to be where the most interesting cars are).

    Ive thought about having another J30, I enjoyed mine for the short time I had it. I was thinking of picking up one with a bad transmission and attempting a 5 speed swap (parts sourced from a 300ZX I guess). Wouldnt mind an M30 coupe with the same idea in mind. Id probably have to go ahead and convert them to JDM Nissan Leopard status, save for the RHD part.

  • avatar
    MWolf

    All the interesting cars are MY99 or older to me. After 2000, things just seemed to get very boring in the land of mass-produced cars (unless you get into things even moderatey wealthy people gasp at when they see the price). They started killing off interesting vehicles then. There are some nice exceptions…but definitely not the norm. That goes for American and Japanese cars.

    I’m becomming a bigger fan of older cars these days. Though, things are starting to get better design-wise.

  • avatar
    SoCalMikester

    A lot of the time these things end up leased and well taken care of for the first 3/36.

    Next buyer buys it as a CPO, probably has a sales job and drives a lot but also takes relatively good care of it. When it gets close to 200k, they get rid of it.

    Then it ends up at a buy here/pay here and the cycle of destruction starts in earnest.

    Best bet is to find a 1 or 2 owner car.

  • avatar
    InterstateNomad

    So based on one of the photos, it was possible that the last owner obtained funds through a loan shark (whether for the car or for something else). That could explain why the car ended up getting towed as opposed to repaired… (edit: they were scraping by financially).

  • avatar
    amca

    The original LS400 is the only Lexus I’ve ever liked. It just radiated exquisite construction from every (exterior) angle.

    What I want to find is one of the vanishingly rare cloth upholstered ones – I’ve only ever seen one, at a dealer back in ’87, or whenever they came out. The boucle cloth looked fluffy as a cloud, and a mile deep – like you could have lost yourself in the seat.

    Unfortunately, Americans preferred nasty, cheap leather and Lexus obliged with some fairly egregious stuff in the early Lexus cars.

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