PH Fleet: Lexus LS400/TVR Chimaera

Interesting times for the fleet. Two have left the fold, one has had money spent on it and is being pampered and the other is auditioning for Dancing On Ice. It's been a changeable few weeks to say the least

Garlick is Merc-less for the first time in ages
Garlick is Merc-less for the first time in ages
Let's start with farewells. The Mercedes E220 estate has left me and I am without a Merc for the first time in a while. I was using the Lexus more often than not and it's hard to justify paying to have a car sitting there doing nothing these days. Similarly, the Eunos 1.8 S Special has been waved off too after my girlfriend started to commute by train for work. Weekends would be spent in the Lexus if wet and the TVR if dry so the Mazda had also become a static exhibit. Both are now in the hands of loving enthusiasts having a happier life ... we miss them.

Christmas spending
On a happier note it was time for the TVR to enjoy its annual pampering session while I enjoyed the (surprisingly decent) Fiesta loan car offered by Fernhurst TVR. Foolishly I bought the TVR just before Christmas two years ago, so annual service and MOT time takes place when I should be saving money to buy Christmas gifts for friends and family, but hey times are hard so the family can enjoy unwrapping a variety of items I found lying around in the office.

Fixed, fettled and tucked up for winter.
Fixed, fettled and tucked up for winter.
MOT testing means emissions testing and that means I need to replace the catalysts to pass. Being lazy I left this job to Fernhurst and added the fitment of two new Toyo T1-R tyres to that list and a temperamental OSR brake light was fixed (a loose connection) before heading for the test bay. It passed of course, and immediately the cats were removed and put back on the shelf to restore full noise and Prius upset.

Firing on all cylinders
It was also time for the annual service (interim) and while that was carried out the 4,000rpm misfire was finally fixed. It was all plug and lead related along with a few loose suppressors too, and now it finally revs cleanly and smoothly once again. Not that I could sample it upon collection mind you as I went to pick the car up after hours on a wet and foggy night and pottered along conscious of the fact that I was running fresh rubber on the rear wheels along with new brake pads (the only other non-routine part fitted). Fast I was not, but the car felt great as they always seem to after a service has been carried out ... unlike my wallet, but a tax rebate from HMRC was waiting for me when I got home that more than covered the near £800 bill. Result.

Not long after that I decided to tuck it in the garage to save it from the salty nastiness that is UK roads in winter. I am especially conscious after a valet company helpfully cleaned all the Waxoyl from the chassis thinking it was road dirt a year or so ago. I have had it reapplied since, but it doesn't look as thick as the original application so care is being exercised. As I type it is in the garage under a cover waiting for better weather, with a flat battery and a sad owner.

Lexus suddenly got unusually exciting
Lexus suddenly got unusually exciting
Slip sliding away
The hibernation and recent fleet culling means the LS is piling on the miles as it is now the main car of the household. My short inner London commute sees average fuel consumption starting with a 1 and I am pretty sure new front discs and pads will be needed early in 2012 along with an MOT as that expires in January. Once again the car expenses are less than perfectly timed, and a new tax disc is needed too.

Oh, I mentioned ice skating? Well you can read more about that here where I detail my first ever road pirouette.It seems P-Zero tyres are not great for winter use, a fact I didn't know when spending £250 a corner on them earlier in the year. Despite the slip the mighty LS remains the most comfortable and relaxing car I have ever owned, and I even think I'd keep it over the equivalent S-Class. What's happening to me?

1997 Lexus LS400
Run by: Garlick
Bought: Jan 2011
Mileage: 115,000
Purchase price: £1,800
Last month at a glance: Thirsty, slippery, comfy

Car: 1999 TVR Chimaera 4.0
Run by: Garlick
Bought: December 2009
Mileage: 56,000
Purchase price: £12,995
Last month at a glance: Service, MOT, hibernation


Noisy TVR upsets the neighbours
Summer fun with the Garlick fleet
Bargain barge not quite a bargain



Comments (38) Join the discussion on the forum

  • R60EST 03 Jan 2012

    I too have had to slim down my fleet this year. I've also kept the LS400 over the more efficient Corolla I bought for the wife. There's something about the LS400, despite it's thirst on the cold morning commute, which is stopping me selling it. I don't think there is any other car in the price range that offers so much refinement and utter reliability. It's not been totally faultless though I've had to replace one part so far due to failure ...... A brake light bulb £2.99, oh and fill the washer bottle up twice

  • Garlick 03 Jan 2012

    I tried to buy over Xmas. I failed.

    I also enquired after a Rolls-Royce, but fortunately (for my wallet) that fell through too!

  • pSyCoSiS 29 Dec 2011

    Garlick said:
    I do, cars are always a factor when moving house. Last place had a drive, now I'm back to on-street so I've rented a garage locally for the TVR at a very good price. The rest are juggled between the two permit free streets near home, with the one I use the most (LS) parked on a street where restrictions are in force between 10.00-17.00 Mon-Fri.

    If I get the Rangie (Vogue LSE/ late classic) that will be on street too. As long as the TVR is protected I'm happy enough.
    Do it - I just bought one yesterday! 3.9 V8 Classic LPG, 94k Genuine Miles, Trocadero Red. Beautiful woofle from that V8.

  • splitpin 29 Dec 2011

    VPower said:
    I say old chap - tut tut!

    My RR was a 1990 Vogue SE 3.9 that I purchased in 2000 just to spite Gordo!
    Kept it for 5 years and nothing ever went wrong and I did a lot of miles in the old girl!

    Took said old girl to Le Mans and a fella on our crew had a "Dash" across the car park in it, which dually impressed himself!

    But a typical whimp (accountant!) he bought a Landcruiser instead of one of Blighties best!

    Toyota problems included a blown gearbox (don't ever use low he said) and the engine (3ltr 4 cylinder oil burner) blew up twice!
    And don't you know he has gone and got another one (Red) to replace it (Blue)!
    Think he may have taken it in place of cash payments!
    You kow what these accountant types are like when you owe them money!! winklaugh
    One can always rely on an accountant to make the wrong decision ...... they know the cost of everything and the value of nothing laugh

    I used the word Amazon, meaning the proper job (not that 90 Series pale copy that the bean-counter had/has) that totally demolished RR Sales in seriously hostile environments like Oz Bush Territory because people's lives depended on it. No wimpy 4 cylinders/3 litres in a proper job, just largish I6s or V8s.

    My own recollection of the old RR is/was a nice place to be/sit, but an utterly appalling thing to drive (like steering a boat) and horrendously unreliable and expensive to run. Many came off the production line as Friday Cars and unlike fine wine, the passage of something like 20 years probably won't have improved the quality/experience.

  • BigTom85 29 Dec 2011

    Thanks for the update Garlick, a good read as always.

    I have to say your garage is enviable. An old RR would be fantastic, but then would you get out and about in the Lexus?

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