1990 Lexus LS 400 Is Junkyard Treasure

·1 min read
Photo credit: Murilee Martin
Photo credit: Murilee Martin

When the very first Lexus LS went on sale in the United States, for the 1990 model year, the price tag was a mere $35,000… at a time when a new Mercedes-Benz 560 SEL sedan bore a sticker price of $73,700 (that's $75,360 and $158,685 in 2021 dollars, respectively). Quite a few car buyers jumped on that deal, but the LS 400 has proven to be so reliable that I've had a hard time finding a first-year example during my junkyard travels. Finally, this Cobalt Blue Metallic '90 showed up in a Northern California yard at a time when I happened to be visiting.

Photo credit: Murilee Martin
Photo credit: Murilee Martin

Full disclosure: I own a 1997 Lexus LS 400 Coach Edition, and no car I've ever had comes anywhere near its levels of reliability and road-trip comfort (this after taking a pair of Denver-to-Milwaukee-and-back trips during the summer). The 1UZ-FE engine (with its six-bolt mains) is a work of art, and I'm sure Toyota lost money on every '90 LS sold (but made it back on all those Camry-based ES 300s a few years later).

Photo credit: Murilee Martin
Photo credit: Murilee Martin

Sadly, my LS lacks the extra-cost Nakamichi audio system, though I have all the components necessary to do the upgrade.

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