Please remove duplicate log ins As part of an upgrade to PistonHeads, we need you to go to the Classifieds Preferences page and choose your unique login by 31st of October

Hide Do it now

Shed Of The Week

Archive

Friday 18th January 2013


SOTW: LEXUS SOARER

It's a V8, and a Toyota-built one at that - surely that must offset the bork factor a little?


Teeth are funny things. From a pure design perspective, and to do away with the need for flossing, you could argue we'd be better off with just two big, mouth-wide teeth, one at the top and one at the bottom. But the beauty of having 32 or so teeth is that individual replacement is easy and relatively un-traumatic. Plus they look quite nice, as long as you're not the Queen Mother.

Buy this week's Lexus Soarer Shed and you'll soon become very familiar with the sight of your own gnashers glinting back at you from the rear-view mirror. In terms of smiles per pound, this one is hard to beat.

Vendor has spent on it, hopefully you won't
Vendor has spent on it, hopefully you won't
Shed remembers when pre-owned Soarers first started making their way over to the UK from Japan. This Z30 model offered an easy 260hp from one of the smoothest, strongest and most reliable all-alloy quad-cam V8s ever. They were good for 0-60 in six and a bit seconds and a governed 155mph all day long. The cabin was Japanese, so it had wood (sort of), leather (sort of), and more toys than Hamleys.

Back in the early 2000s, the Soarer was a sought-after car in the UK, one that commanded a significant premium over the standard LS. Just look at it now, brought to its knees by the gnawing fear of high fuel costs. It would be tragic if it wasn't so brilliant.

The body on this one looks fresh, bright and rust-free, enhanced by a nicely understated factory bodykit by TRD, Toyota's own accessory arm. There's no service history, but that's not unusual for JDM imports and not as much of a worry as it might be for UK motors because (without wishing to generalise) driving styles in Japan do tend to err on the gentle side. The mileage is believable for the same reason. Who knows how it's been treated over here, life's always a gamble without paperwork etc, but imagine a typical owner and also remember that the normal Shed philosophy applies: you should never lose more than £1,000.

Yep, that's a V8 engine right there
Yep, that's a V8 engine right there
Electrics are potential trip-up points in any 15-year-old car, and particularly so in a Lexus which after all was built to set new benchmarks in comfort and convenience. Fuel gauges sometimes die, central locking gets jittery and headlights can cloud up. The digi-dash has a rep for bleeding or blinking, but this one looks good. The non-functioning CD player is a plus point for traditionalist Shedmen as it allows them to enjoy the evocative hiss and crackle of those Willie Nelson cassettes all over again.

Tyre snobs may sneer at the Barums, but there's nowt wrong with them: they're the pneumatic equivalent of Skodas. The brand of wheels they adorn wouldn't necessarily be something you'd want to shout too loudly about down the pub, but if the hoop we can see here is representative of the general condition of the others, you'd be happy enough. Red calipers won't be everyone's cup of tea, but ten minutes with a rattle can will sort that if you're really bothered.

Gizmos, grey leather, plasticky wood - it's Lexus!
Gizmos, grey leather, plasticky wood - it's Lexus!
Under the bonnet, any new owner should check the Soarer's fragile coil pack connector clips by unscrewing the spark plug cover and having a peep. They may as well replace the plugs while they're in there, and ideally treat the old girl to a coolant flush and transmission oil check. Excessive oil consumption and/or blue smoke on startup is almost certainly going to be valve stem seals. Water and power steering pumps can go, in the normal course of events. It's all fixable.

Any talk about a Z30 Soarer (or the later SC) will at some point come round to the topic of suspension. The range-topping UZZ32 Soarer came with four-wheel steering and a heavy, sensor-laden, expensive to fix hydro-pneumatic active suspension system. It's not clear whether this car is that model: hopefully (and more likely, as the 32 is pretty rare) it's the next one down, the cleverly titled UZZ31, which had the TEMS air setup. It's lighter and less complex, though the airbags can give trouble. There is a 'basic' UZZ30, which had straightforward Tokico coilovers and leather as an option, but that would be unusual. Something to check with the vendor.

Control arm ball joints are a weak link on all Soarers, and poly bushes are a good upgrade. Usefully, it looks like some well-targeted money has already been put into this car. The long MOT brings a warm glow, as do the new battery and alternator. A stainless steel exhaust is the icing on the cake, and probably worth the car's asking price on its own.

On scrap value alone it's hard to see how you can lose. But what a win it would be if - as seems entirely likely - this is a sound car.

Go on, admit it: you're spoilt rotten here. Take your chequebook to Lincolnshire, knock three times, and tell them Shed sent you.


Here's the original ad.

 

LEXUS SOARER V8 (£950)
WELL MAINTAINED V8 SOARER, GOOD CONDITION, LOW MILEAGE, STAINLESS EXHAUST, 5 WOLFRACE WHEELS WITH GOOD QUALITY NEARLY NEW TYRES (5-7K), DRIVES REALLY WELL SMOOTH GEAR CHANGE. T.R.D. BODY KIT LOOKS VERY SMART, A REAL HEAD TURNER. THE REG NUMBER IS VALUED AT £800 AND STAYS ON CAR. OVER £1500 SPENT ON CHANGING SUSPENSION STEERING BUSHES AND GEARBOX ENGINE MOUNTS, NEW BATTERY AN ALTERNATOR. 7 MONTHS M.O.T. 1 MONTHS TAX. STARTS FIRST TIME EVERY TIME. C.D. PLAYER DOES NOT WORK. REDUCED ONLY £950 NO OFFERS