The Lexus LS was first introduced in 1989 but it took a few years before buyers were willing to accept a S-Class sized offered from a Japanese manufacturer. Ironically just as the second generation LS was getting into production, Mercedes was going into the dark era of Daimler-Chrysler when quality went out the door like scruples on Wall Street. As Mercedes mortgaged its extensive history of building bulletproof sedans with plastic and poorly assembled junk, Toyota was paying it forward with a line of maintenance free luxury automobiles that have stood the test of time. Find this 1998 Lexus LS400 currently bidding for $3,950 in Effers, PA with 4 days to go via ebay.
The LS400 is an obese pig of a car tipping the scales at 3900 lbs, but if you are looking for a big luxury cruiser, it really packs some decent credentials. MSRP when new was just a bit over $50k, but today you can find them for less than $5k with plenty of life remaining.
Under the hood is Toyota’s fantastic and underrated 1UZ-FE, a 4.0 liter DOHC over-square 6-bolt crossmain V8 that puts out 290 horsepower and 300 ft-lbs of torque. The post 1997 examples feature variable valve timing, 10.5 to 1 compression and will last for decades with simple maintenance.
The engine & transmission might be a worry free part of the LS400 experience, but you will find little failures with common electrical components like power seats and radio buttons. However, if you want a car that is cheap and luxurious to just drive, drive, drive and you can ignore the constant illuminated idiot lights on the dash, an older LS is a great way to go.
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