Rude awakenings are never good. In Shed's case, the daily vision of Mrs Shed's glistening flesh and veiny legs as she dons her abattoir boots in the 6am half-light makes every awakening a rude one. But how does a car that has been treated with kid gloves all its life handle the rude awakening of suddenly coming onto the open market? How does it cope when some dirty herbert buys it on the cheap and then immediately starts running it up to the redline?
This spotless Lexus GS300 might be about to find out. You'd like to think that Lexus engineering quality, confirmed over the years by thousands of happy J D Power respondents, will take care of it. You want to hope so anyway, because this looks like a beautifully maintained midsized exec and it would be a massive shame to flush years of polishing and primping down the manky U-bend of herbertry.
With just two owners, both elderly and by the sounds of it husband and wife, this GS could be the perfect retiree motor even now, a full 20 years after it eased itself carefully off the production line. It's a second-generation GS, or Aristo as it was called on the Japanese market, which means it has the same 3-litre 24-valve inline six as the one that debuted in the gen-one GS/Aristo of 1991, albeit with slightly less horsepower (225hp compared to the first car's 227hp). This 2J engine will also be familiar to Supra owners, as it's the same one.
We never warmed to the GS in the UK, but two decades on, it seems to have accumulated a certain amount of quiet class. That first GS was designed by Giugiaro, by the way, and the gen-two car wasn't that different from it apart from its adoption of Merc-style headlights, a trick that certainly seemed to work in terms of sales.
Traditionally, however, the GS has always brought up the rear in any UK group tests against the Five Series, E Class and XF, all of them regular five-star motors. The GS regularly scored considerably fewer than five stars in road tests, and these days fails to put in an appearance on Lexus's UK website. As far as Shed can remember, the last GS300 you could buy in the UK was the 2015 gen-four, a 2.5 V6 petrol hybrid saddled with Lexus's hateful CVT transmission. It cost between £35,000 and £45,000, depending on how much deluxery you wanted.
New, our shed would have been around £21,000. Resplendent in Auldgit Maroon with Bingo Pen Red cloth, it's a 122,000 miler with a fully stamped service book and an MOT history cleaner than a frog's armpit. The interior was a special order. You can imagine the snorting as soon as the buyer was out of earshot of the dealership, and by the beard of Zeus, combining two shades of red should, on paper at least, be absolutely minging, but somehow the car gets away with it (quickly dons tin trilby).
The GS is one of those cars where road testers' opinions means diddly-squat to the target market. If you want one, you'll take it for its ridiculously easy driving style and comprehensive cabin spec that stands up well even in 2019. It's heavy and not fast in standard trim, and despite its double-wishbone suspension it doesn't handle, but it'll drop you at your destination with maximum relaxation. The wood might be fake but there's nothing fake about the comfort and multi-adjustability of the seats.
And if you fancy a street sleeper, you can do all the same stuff to the GS's VVT-I engine that you can do to the Supra's. 1000hp GSs do exist. Not much goes wrong with it either. The worst thing Shed knows about is the brake master cylinder which is paired up with the ABS module and given to conking out. The Lexus replacement part is horribly expensive in the UK, though you can save money by getting yours direct from Japan. Other than that, it's just the normal wear and tear of everyday motoring. As noted earlier, the MOT history is the cleanest one Shed's ever seen for a car of this age.
If you were wondering what GS stands for, it's Grand Sedan. In this case it's actually just over a grand, but it still looks like a decent place to sedan (sit down, geddit). Why not throw off your preconceptions, melt down your Zimmer frame (do they still make them?), and trade in some of your pension for this lovely slice of Japanese executive cake? Shed's got one eye pointed roughly in its direction. For marital harmony, he particularly likes the enormous, cabin-separating cubby between the seats.