With the MOT due shortly & autumn almost upon us I’ve decided to take the Cappuccino off the road for a while to do some overdue work on the sills. As the Capp has always been my daily driver I needed a replacement for the commute and my new 1995 Lexus LS400 (see the previous post) is stepping into the breach. If you’re interested in why I chose an LS400…

… well here’s the short answer: it’s a V8.

The long answer begins 12 months ago when the Cappuccino had some initial sill work done to pass its MOT. The tester showed me where previous repairs were beginning to “go bad” and it was obvious that replacing both sills would be the only long term solution to this problem. However, with a new 12 month ticket there was still plenty of time to enjoy the Cappuccino & make the modifications to it that I wanted;  there was also time to ponder what type of car I should get whilst the Cappuccino was off the road.

I’m generally quite excitable and slightly obsessive over cars so it would be hard to explain exactly what led up to the decision to go for an LS400. Lets just say that the following factors – in no particular order – all held sway over the decision buy an LS:

  • “I miss my Jaguar XJ6 a little…”
  • “… but I’ve always said I’d never buy the same car twice.”
  • “A big, comfy car would help me shrug off those miserable winter days.”
  • “Something huge would be the perfect antithesis to the Cappuccino.”
  • “I need super-reliability to keep cash free for the Cappuccino”
  • “Maybe I should get a V8 before fuel prices & circumstances mean I can’t.”
  • [After a ride in my friend Chris’s V8 Grand Cherokee] “OMG, NEED V8!”
  • “I really wouldn’t suit a German saloon – I’d feel too pretentious”

And of course, the list wouldn’t be complete without: “Japan FTW!” too.

Once I’d confirmed that in general LS400s could be found in budget and that the insurance costs were bearable I spent a couple of months looking into which of the three LS400 generations – the UCF10, UCF20 and UCF20 II – would be the best buy given my budget constraints. Unsurprisingly the 290hp VVT-engined, HID-lit, satnav-equipped UCF20 IIs were a little beyond what I could afford to pay, and with so many of the UCF10s looking a bit long in the tooth I soon began to concentrate on finding a decent 1995-1997 UCF20. I won’t go into details about the search for the “perfect” LS (you’re most likely bored enough already) except to say that – unsurprisingly, given the cost – it was quite hard to find one for sale who’s mileage didn’t happen to be bumping up against one of the recommended cambelt change intervals…

Despite the expensive 20 IIs, ratty 10s and many cambelt-weary 20s I managed to pick up my very own LS400 after around 6 weeks of serious searching – and for over £1000 less than the cost of my Cappuccino, if that can be believed! Having had it sitting on the drive for a month or so while I enjoyed the last of the good weather in the Cappuccino I’ve had time to sort a few little things out like fixing the headlight washer system, removing the old car-phone aerial and equipping it with a decent set of floor mats, but as of today the LS400 is now my “daily driver”. Exciting stuff!