PH FLEET: LEXUS LS400/TVR CHIMAERA 400


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

Comments (92) Join the discussion on the forum

  • Garlick 21 Aug 2012

    GordonF430 said:
    Great thread, if just to look at some of the ideas!

    I was going to suggest Cayman S as per the Harris video last week, and perhaps follow some of the fettling that that car had done?

    However, i reckon you've pretty much got the perfect 2 for what you want them for?

    Expect the TVR will appreciate or certainly be close.

    Lexus - should just keep going & going , and while nobody likes paying more at the pumps, if you can get 22mpg around London its not THAT bad? Our family wheels are a new 730D and it rarely gets more than 30mpg on average! (much better on a long m-way run)

    Saw a lovely S135R Elise for sale in the classifieds though, which would be more fun for the track (certainly less expensive) but not sure if you track the TVR at all?

    Not a bad shout that 5 pages in to the thread there is yet to be an obvious solution!

    Why not enjoy them for 2012, then see what TVR prices do in 2013, and if bored move it on then? You dont want to miss weekends at this stage of year with the TVR for indecision?
    Good advice there, thanks.

    Lexus is back in the teens as I'm in and around London but hey, I don't drive that far when I'm just running about the place. I think I'll ponder for a bit yet as you say, a nice run to the coast in the TVR last weekend and a waft in the LS reminded me how good they both are.

    2013 will be the year I investigate the most affordable way to run a late 997 for a year or two...

  • foxdecent 21 Aug 2012

    Seems to me the one car that can replace your two for about 15K is an M5, around 2000-2001 model year. Capacious like the Lexus, snort like the TVR, lovely symphony in E from the tailpipes. If you go for the 2000-2001 you get the 5 litre V8 and manual box, probably for under 10K, or you can find 2005-2006 M5s with V10 and I believe only the automatic 7 sp box, around 15K. Either has all the mod cons you would ever want, and the ski pass-through you need. Fuel consumption may also add up to the two you already have! I have almost convinced myself - in my case the replacees would be a TVR Chimaera 500 and an Audi A6 V8.

  • only1ian 20 Aug 2012

    Garlick said:
    School boy said:
    How much for the LS?
    It's not for sale yet hehe
    How about an LPG conversion?

  • ziggy1024 20 Aug 2012

    Keep an eye out for an LPG converted old Jag XJ - plan to keep hold of the LS400 for a while in case you regret it, but my money says you won't...

    & keep the TVR, obviously!

  • GordonF430 20 Aug 2012

    Great thread, if just to look at some of the ideas!

    I was going to suggest Cayman S as per the Harris video last week, and perhaps follow some of the fettling that that car had done?

    However, i reckon you've pretty much got the perfect 2 for what you want them for?

    Expect the TVR will appreciate or certainly be close.

    Lexus - should just keep going & going , and while nobody likes paying more at the pumps, if you can get 22mpg around London its not THAT bad? Our family wheels are a new 730D and it rarely gets more than 30mpg on average! (much better on a long m-way run)

    Saw a lovely S135R Elise for sale in the classifieds though, which would be more fun for the track (certainly less expensive) but not sure if you track the TVR at all?

    Not a bad shout that 5 pages in to the thread there is yet to be an obvious solution!

    Why not enjoy them for 2012, then see what TVR prices do in 2013, and if bored move it on then? You dont want to miss weekends at this stage of year with the TVR for indecision?

View all comments in the forums Make a comment