PH Fleet: Lexus LS400/TVR Chimaera 400

Garlick's TVR is running - ahem - perfectly...
Garlick's TVR is running - ahem - perfectly...
We all have a tried-and-tested book of excuses, full of trusty one-liners that are guaranteed to get you out of trouble. Today I will dip into mine more than once as I tell my first tale.

At the car wash....
It was late, I was tired, the Lexus was dirty, I was feeling lazy, it was convenient and the dog ate it. It was for all of these reasons that I found myself relaxing, listening to music as the … wait for it …. roller car wash took away a few days worth of bird poo from the LS's flanks. Half way through I realised that listening to music and getting a car wash wasn’t a great idea and, looking through the rear window, I saw my electric aerial snapped in two. Serves me right I guess and, as I broke off the remains upon exiting the wash, the LS looked at me as if to say ‘look what you’ve done, happy now?’ Karma?

Nobody mention airport runs....
Nobody mention airport runs....
My paintwork lived to tell the tale and Chris at Mill Auto Supplies got another order from me and duly despatched £20 worth of replacement electric aerial. I’ve yet to get around to fitting the new mast, but as I was a little annoyed by the original one being discoloured I’m looking forward to having a shiny new one.

These issues aside it has been another trouble free month for LWE, still uber-reliable, completely rattle-free and excelling in getting me around the country in swift comfort. The girlfriend has started to use it since the MX-5 left us, and annoyingly she is falling for it too. This means I find the keys missing more often than not as she ‘borrows’ it for the day ... fortunately the weather means the TVR is back on the roads again.

Talking of TVRs
The last time I told you about the TVR I mentioned how I’d left the battery to go flat, meaning a new one was fitted and all was well once again. Only it wasn’t, as a week later it was static once more, just as we planned to head out for the day in it. I was annoyed, tweets and Facebook posts were made threatening to buy an M3 and local cats were found to kick.  

Access was tight to say the least
Access was tight to say the least
The battery was my fault; leave a car for six to eight weeks and what do you expect? But once that had been sorted I expected all to be well, especially as I had never experienced any reliability issues during my two-and-a-half-year ownership. This time I was stumped. The immobiliser was deactivating, the starter model was strong, battery was good and the fuel pump was priming but it wouldn’t fire. Being a mechanical idiot, I looked under the bonnet to see if there was a handy neon sign pointing to the broken bit (it also impresses the Mrs when I look like I know what I’m doing), waggled a few leads and voiced what we both already knew; I had no idea what was wrong.

A call to Adrian Flux Rescue and a Costa Coffee later, a man in a van arrived to take a look. A (beautifully sunny) hour later and it was agreed that he had no idea either and a recovery truck was needed. To be fair to the chap he tried all he could and we had a good natter about cars too, but I liked him largely thanks to his constant compliments regarding the condition of my car. We arranged for a flatbed to come and get the car on Monday (this was Saturday) and went out in the Lexus instead, ignoring all the convertibles on the road as we drove windows up with air con on ... grrr.  

A brief but satisfying affair
A brief but satisfying affair
When my car needs attention it always goes to Fernhurst Motor Company, so once the Chim was loaded onto the truck I waved it off and had a week-long love affair with a certain Morgan in its absence. Fernhurst had the car fixed by Tuesday and all it needed a new coil and amplifier. Job was indeed jobbed. I collected the car the following weekend and handed over £170 in return for my keys. While it was there I also received many emails and tweets telling me that my car had been ‘spotted’ outside of Fernhurst that week - I must admit that I never knew the car was so well known!

Once again all is well in TVR land and the car has been used more often than not over the past two weeks without issue. The sun is shining and life is good. Swap it for an M3? You must be joking. But I must get around to fitting that aerial to the LS.


Fact Sheet:
Car: 1997 Lexus LS400
Run by: Garlick
Bought: Jan 2011
Purchase price: £1,800
Last month at a glance: Washed, broken aerial, being stolen by the Mrs

Fact Sheet:
Car: 1999 TVR Chimaera 4.0
Run by: Garlick
Bought: December 2009
Purchase price: £12,995
Last month at a glance: Recovery, sunshine, all is forgiven

Previous reports:
TVR lives once more, Lexus carries on regardless
MOT time for the Lexus and a reawakening for the TVR
Christmas car purchase comes back to haunt Garlick with an expensive month for both cars


Comments (35) Join the discussion on the forum

  • mackie1 30 Mar 2012

    Ok, so not all fun and games. Hopefully the low mileage 2000 car I'm looking at will be ok.

    ETA. He sold it to his mate. frown

    Edited by mackie1 on Friday 30th March 19:54

  • martynr 30 Mar 2012

  • mackie1 30 Mar 2012

    richardxjr said:
    There's a PHer's excellent 2000 on ebay wink (not mine! - Item 200734453027)

    Garlick's is a mk3: MY97-00 are mk4. Differences are:

    Vvti engine with another 20-odd horses (290)
    5-speed gearbox
    Xenons and restyled front end

    Road tax is std PLG of course. I'll average over 30mpg on my trip up to Scotland again tonight smile

    These are all about silence, comfort and ride quality (as well as peerless reliability). So no loud pipes please wink

    Edited by richardxjr on Thursday 29th March 09:33
    I did see that one but this one is so much closer to me (only 30 miles or so away).

    Just going to find out a few details from my insurance co and hopefully will go and see it this afternoon or tomorrow morning. It doesn't have the DHP but it's a very tidy looking Mk4 IMO. Anything in particular to look for apart from thing like leaky power steering, dodgy header display and suspension creaks and knocks?

    Edited by mackie1 on Friday 30th March 13:23

  • Garlick 30 Mar 2012

  • martynr 30 Mar 2012

    mackie1 said:
    I didn't realise you paid so little for the LS, that's super bargain (and reliable!) barging!.
    You missed the topic re its first service after purchase...

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