PH Fleet: Lexus LS400/ TVR Chimaera 400

A year is a long time, though it never feels that way when the MOT comes around again. What is it that makes us unable to settle until we get 'the call' from the testing station to tell us the news too? Despite my outward confidence I was worried about the LS400 getting the all important pass as the now departed Merc, and more recently the TVR, had both passed without drama. So would it be third time lucky?

My, haven't we travelled
My, haven't we travelled
I needn't have worried, but I did get a couple of advisories. One was for too much travel in the foot operated parking brake (but still works) and the other was a note that one rear tyre was approaching the legal limit, leaving me wondering if that contributed to the spin I had in December. Tyres aren't cheap for the Dynamic Handling Pack equipped LS due to their odd size, so I'll probably put the spare on for now as that has a decent amount of tread left while I prepare to spend £250 on a new Pirelli.

My, haven't we travelled
As I put the newly issued MOT certificate into my history file I glanced at the 2011 certificate to check the annual mileage. I was expecting in the region of 6,000 and so was very surprised to see I have actually covered over 11,500. I knew I enjoyed driving the big Toyota, but didn't realise we had travelled quite so far together. Wonder how much that has cost me in unleaded? But it does go to show how easy it is to cover distance in the LS without realising and I genuinely wonder what could replace it other than another, more recent, LS.

Silencers ready for reversing into garage
Silencers ready for reversing into garage
In other news, the TVR is back on the streets after being put away for the winter that never came. Two months under a dustsheet in an unheated garage had killed the battery, largely thanks to the foolish owner never getting around to connecting the charger as he intended to before Christmas. For those familiar with TVR entry you will know that access to the cabin is by pressing a button that activates a solenoid to pop the doors. No battery means no access but I was 90 per cent certain I had left the bonnet on the latch when I last parked, so I could at least access the engine bay to jump start it. Fingers were crossed as I took the cover off and sure enough the bonnet was not fully closed ... what a relief!

Keeping the peace
Using one 4.0 V8 to power another, I positioned the LS and as soon as the battery was connected the alarm of the TVR beeped as if to alert me to the fact it was awake again. I was about to start it when my Mrs reminded me to attach the track silencers I have agreed to use at the garage to appease neighbours less enthusiastic for unsilenced V8s than your average PHer. Silencers on, I turned the key and it started first time, quietly rumbling through the additional silencing I left it running as checks were made and the roof lowered. Naturally, it had no fuel in it so I ran back and bought a five-litre can of fuel. This was enough to carry me far enough to charge the battery again but, note to self, next time you leave the car, prepare it for storage.

Time to go away again
Time to go away again
Time to go away again. From time to time my almost Zammo-like addiction to cars (I can handle it, it's just a bad cold) makes me consider swapping what I have, most recently considering a 911 in place of the TVR. After a couple of hours driving the Chimaera I looked at the Mrs and said "I think we'd miss this car if we didn't have it. Would a 911 be as much of a giggle to drive just for the hell of it?" And therein lies the problem with fibreglass cars made in Blackpool, they just get under your skin. Every time I drive it I love it a bit more, and were I to sell it I fear I may instantly regret it.

So, the TVR went back into the garage with a refreshed fondness. This time though, I don't plan to leave it static for so long ... but just in case I attached the solar battery charger and made sure it had some fuel in it.

Fact Sheet:
Car: 1997 Lexus LS400
Run by: Garlick
Bought: Jan 2011
Purchase price: £1,800
Last month at a glance: MOT pass, tyre needed, many miles

Fact Sheet:
Car: 1999 TVR Chimaera 4.0
Run by: Garlick
Bought: December 2009
Purchase price: £12,995
Last month at a glance: Awakening, flat batteries, changed minds

A costly month and goodbyes
Noisy TVR upsets the neighbours
Summer fun with the Garlick fleet


Comments (31) Join the discussion on the forum

  • Adrian W 23 Jan 2012

    When I had an LS400 the cheapest tyre supplier by miles was the Lexus main dealer, you should give one a call

  • Garlick 23 Jan 2012

    Really? I'd never have even considered making that call, but I will now.


  • SpecB 23 Jan 2012

    Having just bought my Chimaera two weeks ago, I cannot imagine life without it any more! cloud9

  • gforceg 23 Jan 2012

    Not trying to be funny but, does a solar powered charger work in your garage? I use a trickle charger that gently "massages" the battery between 95% and 100% charge. Works a treat (if you've got a mains supply).

  • McSam 23 Jan 2012

    I'm trying to surpress my incredulity that you had no idea about the state of the tyres on your very heavy V8-powered winter hack.. hehe

View all comments in the forums Make a comment