18K Mile RHD LS400: 1996 Toyota Celsior – Sold!
December 9, 2021 Update – We confirmed the seller of this “Classifind” deleted their listing, so we’re now able to call this one “SOLD!” While this one got away, please reach out either by email or call us directly if you’d like to be informed when we come across something similar.
The invasion of right-hand drive Japanese imports shows no sign of subsiding, nor should it – we’ve seen some incredible specimens come stateside in recent years. For example, take this exceptionally low-mileage 1996 Toyota Celsior sedan with just 18,000 original miles and originally listed in December 2021 on Craigslist in Deer Park, New York with claimed extensive servicing and the plastic still on the seats for $15,500. Comparing this price against the NADA Price Guide confirms this private seller has added a suitable premium to the “High” estimate of $7,025, which seems reasonable given the mileage and the desirability of overseas models.
The opportunity to buy a Japanese market model is certainly appealing to enthusiasts who love the idea of owning a piece of forbidden fruit. However, it’s not just a passion play in terms of justifying the purchase, as these are often highly reliable vehicles that come with the added benefit of being incredibly low mileage, a condition of the driving environment in Japan, which had to be frustrating to navigate while driving a large sedan such as this Celsior. Therefore, American consumers can get access to a vast roster of highly reliable cars, trucks, and SUVs for the price of a new econobox here in the states. It’s a better deal than many consumers realize, but the barrier to entry is typically the right-hand-drive steering. If you can get past this, there are lots of great options on the Japanese auction sites.
On the Cool Stuff in Weird Cars YouTube Channel, the author compares the differences between his JDM Toyota Celsior to a similar vintage LS400:
This Celsior looks identical to a standard LS400 and likewise comes with an extremely reliable V8 powerplant. However, the video confirms there are a number of differences beyond where the steering wheel is located, like the cloth upholstery. This would never have flown in the U.S., where customers initially purchased Lexuses solely for the indulgence of being swaddled in the leather and mahogany wood trim. But much like buying a Buick with mouse-fuzz seats and no Bose stereo system, a Lexus is simply a Toyota back at home and it doesn’t necessarily carry the same expectation of being loaded up with high-end features. Still, you get electric seats and power-folding mirrors in the Celsior, along with the wood trim around the shifter. If you found a standard LS400 with under 20,000 original miles today, you’d likely pay well north of $20,000 – so get used to driving on the right-hand side and save a few bucks in the process.
Here’s the seller’s description:
“All ORIGINAL – still have original plastic from when it was NEW.
4 speed automatic 18,000 verified miles 4.0l IUZ-FE V8 Engine
cruise control, Factory alloy wheels and radio, Rear seat cup holders, Electric Seats
Power Folding Mirrors. Known as the Lexus LS400 Stateside this car is the epitome of a luxury sedan. This UCF10 was designed so Toyota could compete with it’s European counterparts BMW and Mercedes in the luxury car market. The Celsior exceeded all expectations. This particular example has only 18,000 miles, robed in eye catching 2 tone paint and features the OEM wooden interior trim we associate with all VIP JDM cars. A prime example of a luxury vehicle the Celsior was the gold standard for Japanese Luxury back in the 90s. Powered by the ulta reliable 4.0L 1UZ-FE. Sitting inside the cockpit of this spacious 90s VIP is a real treat. The Tan cloth trim has been excellently maintained, the A/C blows cold, heats works good.
Legally Imported US Title. Can be registered and driven legally.
This is a one of kind car and drives like dream machine. Also, just did all new brake pads and Rotors as well..“
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