They really don't make 'em like that anymore.
Usually, when you hear the phrase, "They don't make 'em like that anymore," there's often a good reason. In this case, it's the level of development, and engineering Lexus poured into its first flagship sedan. It was a five-year process that started in 1983 with $1 billion spent to roll the first Lexus LS 400 off the production line. That's $1 billion in the 1980s, which would be around $2.5 billion now. There was no specific budget allotted or time constraint given, and the mission was to build a luxury sedan for the international market that would show up its competition. Not only would this be the last car you ever needed to buy, but its a piece of history. The first-generation LS 400 was Lexus's first model and set the bar for what was to come.
This one has popped up on Bring a Trailer with just 34,000 miles on the clock, meaning the 4.0-liter V8 is barely broken in. To say the LS 400 has a reputation for reliability is an understatement, and, in our experience, even high mileage LS 400s around this vintage ride quieter and smoother than many luxury cars that have come since. Add rear-wheel drive and a smooth 4-speed auto, and you have one of the best Rad era vehicles around. A 1990s car you can actually drive every day and not suffer for it. In fact, it's a bold thing to say, but we would preferably daily a first-generation LS 400 than a Mercedes W123.
With a Lexus LS 400 of this vintage, there are a few caveats, though. It's fairly easy to steal, and the gauge cluster will eventually need replacing. Many enthusiasts will point to later generations as being just as reliable but adding more technology. Still, we want our LS 400 to last forever, and more technology means more complications eventually.
This one also comes in metallic gold with a tan interior, which is the correct color for a first-generation Lexus. You can swan around in comfort and reliability while being invisible to just about everyone, including the police. Unfortunately for single people, that also means the opposite sex. Saying that, existing partners will appreciate the refinement and calm nature of an LS 400.