PH Fleet

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Friday 17th August 2012


PH FLEET: LEXUS LS400/TVR CHIMAERA 400

Garlick tries to save fuel on his all-V8 fleet and Petrol Ted's legacy lives on


Life with my all-V8 fleet is as trouble free as ever, but for the first time since buying them I am starting to resent giving a large part of my salary to various petroleum companies. Sad but true. I don't really have an issue with the TVR as that is used mainly for fun so the fuel can be justified and, in all honesty, it's not that bad in terms of consumption thanks to the manual box, lots of torque and the fact it is a light car.

Paul suffers some barge envy
Paul suffers some barge envy
The Lexus, however, is a bit thirsty as you'd expect. And as the main car for the Garlick household I have recently been attempting to eke out the most mpg possible. Two things are needed to do this, a very light foot and relaxed driving style coupled with leaving the excellent hi-fi switched off as I end up playing music at silly volume and drive faster as a result.

Has it worked? I think so, and setting the cruise for a touch under 70 on the motorway has resulted in me covering some big miles using relatively little fuel, and being smoother in London has seen my city figure rise from 17 to 22mpg. That'll do me, and I quite like the relaxed pace too. OK, so it's far from frugal but I'm surprising myself with the effect small changes can have.

Generosity of fellow PHers astounding
Generosity of fellow PHers astounding
No news is good news
As you'd expect, the LS has been trouble free for another month. Yes I need to tweak a few things here and there, but it still gets used as a turn-key car without drama. A few thousand miles have been added in silence, and I genuinely don't think I have owned a more comfortable, more reliable car in my life.

A kind person has scraped the front bumper leaving a visible mark on the bumper and paint, but that's the hazard of SW London on-street parking for you. The dreaded MOT test looms, as does a service, so let's see if the love continues after I see the bills.

As for the TVR, well I need a good telling off really as it has not been used as often as it should be. A mixture of busy home life, and being fortunate enough to have had a few of the PH test cars thrown my way by Mr Trent, has meant it languishes in the garage far too often. Not that it complains and since I fitted the new battery it is happy to sit there for a couple of weeks and will still start strongly when required.

Cracked headlamp acquired en route to Le Mans
Cracked headlamp acquired en route to Le Mans
You may recall I cracked a headlight lens on the way back from Le Mans earlier this year? Following my last update PHer Quentin1 emailed from Germany offering me a replacement lens for free. Amazed at the generosity I accepted and offered to contribute the postage costs, only to be told he would cover it all. Don't you just love the PH community? We really are a great bunch of enthusiasts.

PH parts services
A few days later a large box arrived containing four immaculate reflector units and four equally nice lenses. To say I was pleased would be an understatement. Turns out this kind PHer has imported two TVRs to Germany (one Chim and one Cerb) and had converted both to continental spec headlights leaving the RHD units spare. The Chimaera was bought from PH founder Petrol Ted, so in a strange twist of fate Ted's Chim lights have left the country only to find their way back onto my own car years later! I hope to pass them down to another PH team member one day, or maybe I'll keep them as a reminder of the PH TVR connection.

Lexus bears the scars of on-street parking
Lexus bears the scars of on-street parking
I'll finish with a question for you. You know that I love the TVR and am continually impressed with the Lexus, but I have had both for a while now. Do I keep my perfect pair or sell both to get one car that does the job of both? If I do sell, what could I buy at around £15K, or do I consider leasing something more modern and more expensive like a 911?

It's a question I ponder a lot, but then I drive the TVR and cover a few thousand miles in the LS and the thought seems ridiculous...what to do.


Fact Sheet:
Car:
 1997 Lexus LS400
Run by: Garlick
Bought: Jan 2011
Purchase price: £1,800
Last month at a glance: MPG, parking scrape, relaiabilty, more miles

Fact Sheet:
Car:
 1999 TVR Chimaera 4.0
Run by: Garlick
Bought: December 2009
Purchase price: £12,995
Last month at a glance: Old PH connections, not driven enough

Previous reports
The perfect pairing for reformed car buying addict Garlick
Why reading up on your car's history is most definitely a good thing
TVR lives once more, Lexus carries on regardless
MOT time for the Lexus and a reawakening for the TVR

Author: Garlick