BigDaddyDeek
BigDaddyDeek New Reader
6/27/20 2:14 a.m.

Hello, I'm Derek, President and resident Japanese Land Barge Enthusiast for Georgia Tech's $2000 challenge team Wreck Racing. More of my counterparts have recently started getting involved on the forum so I figured it's time I stopped lurking and told some of my stories.

Short Story Long: Let's start with something about the fun cars. I came to college knowing nothing about cars, but well versed in hobby electronics and high school robotics. The rigid college robotics team that I was eager to check out quickly turned me off, but the dudes pulling up to the lab in loud, rad cars to work on the Frankenstein Honda Insight immediately grabbed my attention. I joined Wreck Racing, bought my first project car at the challenge from SVreX that October, and I haven't looked back.

My first love:

1992 Subaru SVX, manual swapped. $1000 at the challenge, been sitting with a blown motor for several years, junkyard motor and delivery to Atlanta included.

Upon receiving delivery to a friend's driveway near campus, an immediate overnight engine swap commenced. All night engine swaps with the boys on a freezing November night is what it's all about. I don't have a lot of pictures from that night, hopefully some of the guys on here who were there can share some.

Unfortunately, after sitting for a couple years the car wasn't reliable enough for my schedule, money, and skill level at the time. After about a year, it made a surprisingly quick sale on facebook to a guy who put it up on stands for a couple months, refreshed it like it deserved to be, and it's running well last I heard. I sold it for what I had in it and it went to a good home, I'm happy. I'll definitely try to own another one of these another day.

Bavarian-Curious:

As often happens in the Wreck Racing group, I was relentlessly peer pressured several months after selling the SVX to buy another project with cash from my new internship. I held off for as long as I could, and a week later I bought a half caged, stripped interior E30. Everyone experiments in college, and I got a little bmw-curious for my second project. 

1986 325e coupe, originally auto, converted to manual somewhere along the line. Spec e30 suspension and lots of new rubber bits installed recently. Purchased for $3500 from a family in a nice neighborhood outside Atlanta. The car had been  a highschool project for their son. It was supposed to be a spec e30 car, but they ran out of time before he went away to college and it was only halfway there. They had lots of money and new parts thrown at it, but it was suffering from some wiring issues and general sketchiness. The selling point was the super clean underside and straight, clean panels all the way around. That's getting rare for e30s at that price point around here.

This little thing was awesome around town. It only had the 4.5k redline ETA engine, but with no interior it was plenty zippy and had just enough power to have fun. Bucket seats, 5-points, and stiff spec racer suspension added to the enjoyment. But, I also flipped this project about a year later for what I had in it. Once again, this car made it to a good home. A local guy who had dumped thousands into a rusty chassis bought my car for a cleaner starting point. It's already got a built turbo motor and plenty of other goodies now.

I learned a lot from both of these cars, but most of all I learned I don't have steady enough cashflow or motivation to keep a second car afloat during college. Lexus content next.

 

 

 

 

 

BigDaddyDeek
BigDaddyDeek New Reader
6/27/20 3:27 a.m.

Enough about the side pieces, they're not what's important. For me, it's all about the daily class.

While the project car shenanigans featured above went on, I was making my way around town in the Honda Fit very graciously purchased for me by my parents after the hand-me-down Odyssey blew it's auto transmission. The Fit was a great appliance, but the soulless CVT left much to be desired and I jumped on the opportunity to sell it back to my parents to serve as my younger brother's first car. With a couple thousand in my pockets, my parents were terrified of what kind of sporty, manual, Regan-era death trap I would use their money to buy.

Much to their surprise and confusion, I opted for a Grandpa-spec 2004 LS430. They had a hard time arguing with it until I excitedly showed them how easily it could do a burnout soon after.

Slight lowering springs and a roof rack turned it into an amazing daily and road trip machine. I took the car on a trip to Colorado a week after buying it, and fell in love with the comfort and the stealthy back roads shenanigan potential. I bought the car at 165,000 miles and proceeded to put over 30,000 miles on it in the next year. Two drives to Florida, two drives to Maine, and many weekend hiking trips on top of daily duties added up quick. 

This car ate anything like a champ. The V8 was tons of fun on th highway, with the stiffer springs it could keep up with friends in the mountains, and it absolutely ate up gravel roads with the upmost comfort and ease. All this while you're sitting on leather couches in a perfectly quiet cabin. To top it off, the only item of maintenance I had to do during my ownership was a singular oxygen sensor. 

I rolled over 200,000 miles on the car during a trip I took to Texas this last winter break. Unfortunately, the car didn't make it back and was totaled at the Mississippi/Alabama line after I hydroplaned in the left lane. It hadn't rained for several hours, and the tires still had plenty of tread left, the only thing was I had cruise control on. The tow driver that picked me up said that stretch is known for having an abnormal amount of hydroplane wrecks after heavy rains. He said the same exact thing happened to his grandma on the same stretch a couple years earlier in an e-class Mercedes.

I walked away extraordinarily lucky to be alive. Short of some painful bruising, I was alright. Unfortunately, the Lex didn't fare so well.

But from the ashes, reborn, comes new life. All of the comfort and 100% more rad, the 1999 LS400 enters the family. I opted to go for a more VIP/gangster color spec on this one, but grandpa spec is still king. I went for the older gen in an attempt to keep myself from buying another second car. The slightly older LS400 will hopefully have enough maintenance items to tickle my sadistic need for broken cars that are older than me in my life.

So far my only modification is a quickly thrown together single exit exhaust. I've got just a resonator on there right now and it sounds divine. The 1UZ absolutely sings. It's endless fun watching people try to figure out where the sports car noises are coming from when all they can see is the stock grandpa sedan.

I put my daily Lexi through hell. The last one took it like a champ, and this one is doing very well so far. Hopefully, this thread will be a chronicle of my further abuse and any maintenance necessary to keep the car in one piece.

True to my hopes for a little more spice in life, the alternator recently went out on the LS400. This catches the story up to present day. So, I'll leave with one last picture that ends this part of the story in the same place it all started, underneath a 90's Japanese barge that's jacked up on the streets of Homepark, Atlanta.

 

 

 

trumant (Forum Supporter)
trumant (Forum Supporter) Reader
6/27/20 6:50 a.m.

Quite the automotive journey so far. The difference between the E30 and Lexus luck-barge is massive.

mr2s2000elise
mr2s2000elise SuperDork
6/27/20 1:34 p.m.

We had a 97LS400 and then a coach edition 

 

we then had a 05 LS430 with sports package (best Lexus LS  ever built 05-06 MY) -rare black cherry 

 

we currently have ls600hL . Short of a toyota century, the 750k miles we put on our 3LS has been glorious. My lexus love started with my sc300/sc400 

both of my LS400/LS430 were vip on SSR Viennas, full wald and static ride. Been on club lexus for 21 years, best LS sight on the planet 

 

of course back then we would hunt vip parts and source them in containers from importers 

today I walk into central line store in 30 minute and build a full VIP LS in half a day 


I particularly don't like e30, short of a M3 guise, but always loved SVX, and actually two days ago emailed with member svrex about 2 clean mint local ones for sale . If they all weren't gimpomatic, I would have one in my garage 

 

Shadeux (Forum Supporter)
Shadeux (Forum Supporter) Dork
6/27/20 4:01 p.m.

The LS400 is one car I hope to own eventually. I almost bought a cherry one with 130k on the clock. From what I know now I would in a heartbeat.

neverendingprojectgarage
neverendingprojectgarage New Reader
7/13/20 6:45 p.m.
mr2s2000elise said:

We had a 97LS400 and then a coach edition 

 

we then had a 05 LS430 with sports package (best Lexus LS  ever built 05-06 MY) -rare black cherry 

 

we currently have ls600hL . Short of a toyota century, the 750k miles we put on our 3LS has been glorious. My lexus love started with my sc300/sc400 

both of my LS400/LS430 were vip on SSR Viennas, full wald and static ride. Been on club lexus for 21 years, best LS sight on the planet 

 

of course back then we would hunt vip parts and source them in containers from importers 

today I walk into central line store in 30 minute and build a full VIP LS in half a day 


I particularly don't like e30, short of a M3 guise, but always loved SVX, and actually two days ago emailed with member svrex about 2 clean mint local ones for sale . If they all weren't gimpomatic, I would have one in my garage 

 

Would you happen to have a link to any build threads of yours on Club Lexus? I'm shopping 2nd or 3rd-gen LS's now and I'd love to see the GRM perspective on them!

neverendingprojectgarage
neverendingprojectgarage New Reader
7/13/20 6:46 p.m.

I prefer the 2nd-gen's looks to the 1st-gen, but now that you've owned both, which do you prefer?

BigDaddyDeek
BigDaddyDeek New Reader
7/14/20 10:47 a.m.

The 430 was an awesome car. Dead reliable and just a car that feels rock solid all the way around, but at times I felt that it lacked personality to me. It did everything really well and I loved it, but nothing about it made me super excited.

The later model 400(98-00) that I own now feels like a smaller version of my 430 with a little spunk. It's just about as fast as the 430 and I personally like the smaller size, the 430 felt a little big for me at times but this one feels perfect. I do miss some of the bells and whistles and the massive trunk from the 430 and the 400 doesn't have the same tank-like feeling of heft. But, it is also a super solid car and I think that the overall design and the more classic gauges and controls of the 400 aged much better than the early 2000s screen systems in my 430. This generation, in my opinion, also has the most timeless design. It blends the 90s Japanese luxury sedan styling of the earlier 400s with more modern, rounded edges, and manages to not become over inflated like how the 430s look from some angles and how subsequent LS models are. The subtle sweeping lines juxtaposed with the flat hooded, 90s style is just too good.

The early model 400s(90-97) feel like a very sophisticated crown vic, in the absolute best way possible. These are the ones that people talk about feeling like the floaty cloud. In these you feel 100% insulated from the outside world, it's just going on around you and you can choose whether or not to care from your pillowy barge. The interior, floppy steering, and limp transmission all serve to make these models feel quite dated compared to the 98-00 400s, but what the ealry models lack in modern tightness they make up for in kick ass 90s aesthetic and in the way it makes you feel at the helm. Everyone should take a good drive in a well maintained stock 90-97 ls400 and experience the car that had Germany quaking in its boots. It really is a cut above and you can tell the thought that went into every part of the experience.

If you want the best car, get an 05 or 06 430. If you want the coolest car, get a 90-94 400. If you want the best of both, get a 98-00 400.

 

papamilad
papamilad New Reader
7/14/20 11:17 a.m.

In reply to neverendingprojectgarage :

They do great burnouts, would recommend

neverendingprojectgarage
neverendingprojectgarage New Reader
7/16/20 9:50 a.m.

In reply to papamilad :

Does a muffler delete help?

neverendingprojectgarage
neverendingprojectgarage New Reader
7/16/20 9:52 a.m.

In reply to BigDaddyDeek :

Thank you for all the info! That squares with what I've read, I think for what I want an 05-06 is probably the best blend of features, reliability, and longevity. This won't be a DD, mostly a highway car and something for trips where I don't want to take the Land Cruiser (my personal favorite for long trip comfort) and don't want to drive one of the impractical cars for hours. I'm not looking for perfect paint, the most options, etc, just a great comfy cruiser that I can keep for 10 years and still enjoy. I have plenty of sporty cars that are fun to rip around in, but I've found on long trips even modern cars like our MK7 GTI aren't comfortable because I'm big and the seat bolsters and seating position are more aggressive than I enjoy for 3+ hour trips. 

SawzallSurgeon
SawzallSurgeon New Reader
7/16/20 10:58 a.m.

In reply to neverendingprojectgarage :

 Muffler-ectomy is almost required to hear the glorious 1UZ

neverendingprojectgarage
neverendingprojectgarage New Reader
7/22/20 1:29 p.m.

In reply to SawzallSurgeon :

On the LC or LS? For the LC I considered it when the muffler got a hole, but I decided I'd rather have quiet.

The holey muffler did sound awesome for a while!

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