Shed of the Week: Lexus LS400

Numbers. What would we do without them? How could we work out how well paid we are, without small ones? How could our esteemed politicians put across their points without the aid of big ones? And how could Mrs Shed order underwear online without the help of some astronomically large ones?

Another area in which numbers are very helpful, is on a car's service history. That's where you want to see as many numbers as possible. Especially when the history in question belongs to a Lexus LS400 - a very nice number in itself.

A quick glance at the ad reveals a veritable smorgasbord of numbers relating to this vehicle's stringently enforced maintenance schedule. Such a glittering record is a thing of rare beauty on a car like this. Along with a nice long MOT, which is also present, it gives you the sort of confidence you need to enter into a pact with one of motoring history's most accomplished but also most complex creations.

Regulars will know that, as a free reader service, we like to run through the common problems that may afflict the Sheds we describe on a weakly [sic] basis. Conveniently, the vendor of this one has already gone through a list of things that will conk out on an LS400, given time, which means less effort from Shed's end, scribbling-wise. Something of which he is heartily in favour. In addition to that, the vendor is a regular poster who has been running updates on a PH thread, so everything's nicely out in the open.

One thing not mentioned as not not working, so to speak, is the suspension. Old-time PHers will fondly remember Paul Garlick, late of this parish, who ran a lovely old 400 for a while until a sudden attack of suspension heeby-jeebies obliged him to switch to a cheaper mode of transport. Rattling or clunking on bad roads will probably be traceable to worn front strut bushes. The springs themselves can fail, as can front upper and lower wishbone ball joints, front wheel bearings and anti-roll bar bushes. Front brake discs warp.

The V8 motor on this 96,000-miler should be virtually silent, with belt/pump replacements due at 100,000 miles... ah. The transmission is renowned for its amenability and reliability. Anything other than syrupy-smooth changes could mean the annual fluid and filter changes haven't been kept up, but that seems highly unlikely here. Timing cover leaks could signify a need for new cam and crankshaft seals. Check the alternator for dampness. They sometimes get rained on by leaky power steering systems.

The cabin of this one looks very fresh, right down to the leathery wheel and gear selector which can often look tired in less cared-for cars. Unlit instruments can be fettled.

We're assuming that the 'PH thread plus ad' transparency plus the spud-chewingly monumental service history means no nasty surprises lie in wait on this car, which is a 260bhp Mk 3 and therefore most definitely a good one to go for. It was longer and stronger than the Mk 2, with somehow even better sound insulation, comfier seats, dual-zone climate control, a new suspension arrangement, and more powerful brakes.

The Mk 4 went up to 280bhp, but in all honesty you're unlikely to notice the difference, especially as the later car was probably heavier than the earlier one. Shed isn't sure about the PH ad bot's claim of 6.4 seconds for the 0-62mph time. He reckons the reality is closer to 7.5. Whatever it is, it feels impressive from the county-sized driver's seat.

Garlick's wages have gone up since he ran his LS, of course, and we reckon if he were still here he would be crawling all over this one, wondering if he shouldn't go 'all in' one more time on what looks like a very nice example of the genre.

The price of a fiver short of £1500 may seem a bit rich, but interest in nice-condition pre-430 LSs is certainly not waning. You would have to chuck quite a bit more money into a post-2000 LS430 to get any appreciable improvement in the ownership and driving experience. Some might even deem it money wasted.

Of course, you could pick up a running LS400 for £500, but Shed suggests that if you do go down that route, you might also like to have a lend of his highly amusing 'You Don't Have To Be Mad To Work Here But It Helps' sign that hangs above his desk, just next to the lifesize picture of Mrs Shed that she insisted he mount there.

Here's the ad.

Full service history. Car serviced at the following miles:

I have owned the car for 2 years and have regularly updated a 'Readers Car' thread on This website with details of the car. You should be able to find it from my user name. The advert won't allow me to post links.

It has an MoT until 20th August 2018 and the last few MoTs haven't required any work required or advisories.

The car is very low mileage for the year (96,000) and pulls strong. These cars are regularly showing 250,000 miles so this is only just run in by comparison.

It doesn't suffer from some of the common faults many of these cars have (mirror liquid leaking, stereo LCD not working, seats not heating (front and rear), headrests not working, electric seats not working, electric seatbelt height adjust not working) all of these are fine on this car.

If there's any other specifics you want to ask then please let me know.

Please note, this is a 20 year old car and has the odd ding here and there as can be seen in pics. Any viewing and test drive welcome.

Comes with 4 matching Continental tyres as an example of how I like to maintain even my older cars.

Please contact by phone in the first instance. Emails will be ignored.

P.H. O'meter

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Comments (88) Join the discussion on the forum

  • Mark-C 27 Oct 2017

    Bloody Hell ... is it Friday already?

    Possibly a brave pill is needed but I reckon this is proper shedding..

  • Mr Tidy 27 Oct 2017

    Looks pretty good, but with a belt-change due in 4,000 it would soon be way over Shed money!

    And I like most things to work, even on old cars.

    Not one for me, but I can sort of understand why they may have some appeal.

  • SamR380 27 Oct 2017

    Mr Tidy said:
    but with a belt-change due in 4,000 it would soon be way over Shed money!
    Aha- there's always a catch. And I forgot shed has £1500 to spend these days. Still a lot of car for £2k if that's how it turns out.

  • to3m 27 Oct 2017

    Mark-C said:
    Bloody Hell ... is it Friday already?

    Possibly a brave pill is needed but I reckon this is proper shedding..
    Just the one? I thought about buying a P reg LS400... about twelve years ago. It was only 10 years old, and it only cost £800, and I decided against it, because it was obviously stupid.

    If you're thinking of buying a 20 year old one, even for "only" £1500, you'd better take two friends with you, if you ask me. Once you've had enough brave pills for it to make sense you'll be in no state to drive home.

    (But then again, it's only money... what's the worst that could happen? And the seller is a PH member, so maybe it'll be fine. And just think how nice the engine will be!)

    Edited by to3m on Friday 27th October 02:54

    Edited by to3m on Friday 27th October 03:08

  • MadDog1962 27 Oct 2017

    The LS400 is a wonderful machine. They were also sold as the Toyota Celsior in Japan. Well cared for examples seem to go on and on.

    I can still remember riding around in on for the first time back in 1994. Some friends of mine in Southern California had just bought one prior to my visiting. The LS400 had an awesome stereo and the most comfortable seats of any car I had ever travelled in. It was just wonderful. The drive line is super-refined and comes with Toyota reliability.

    If the mileage of this one is correct, it might be one of the greatest bargain barges to ever feature on SOTW. It looks to be in great shape in the ad. If it's really as nice at it looks then it'll be well worth the investment required to change those belts and the water pump. Probably a good idea to change some of the older hoses and all the fluids while you're at it.

    10 out of 10 Mr Shed. More like this please.

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