Courtesy of the 25-year rule, a number of desirable JDM vehicles are now legal to import—including some interesting Toyotas. There’s the WRC homologation special Celica GT4, for example, and the rugged 70-Series Land Cruiser. And there’s also some of the Japanese automaker’s luxury models to choose from. Including the car that’s this week’s Cars and Bids bargain buy: the 1995 Toyota Celsior.
The Toyota Celsior is a more luxurious Lexus LS400
To be fair, Toyota sold the Celsior in the US—or at least, a version of it. In the US, the Toyota Celsior is known as the Lexus LS400, SuperStreetOnline reports. But, while the Celsior and LS400 are mechanically almost identical, the former offered a few extra luxury features, Lexus Owners Club forum users report.
Like the rear-wheel-drive LS400, the 1990 Toyota Celsior has a 4.0-liter V8 with 250 hp and a 4-speed automatic, Hagerty reports. It also rides on 4-wheel independent suspension.
However, unlike the Lexus, the Celsior was available in 3 different trims: Type A, Type B, and Type C. The Type C has adjustable electronically-controlled air suspension, something the original LS400 didn’t offer. The JDM sedan was also available with features like rear HVAC and audio controls, massaging seats, and even a rear-mounted TV, Club Lexus forum users report. Plus, while the Celsior offered leather upholstery like the LS400, Japanese customers could get high-end cloth instead.
In 1995, Toyota released the 2nd-gen Celsior and Lexus LS400, Automobile reports. It’s longer than the 1st-gen model, which translates to more rear passenger legroom, Japanese Classics reports. It’s also stiffer and 208 pounds lighter. Plus, its V8 is slightly more powerful, producing 260 hp and 270 lb-ft, Cars and Bids reports. And it’s one of the first Japanese cars to come standard with dual front airbags, Japanese Classics reports.
The 1995 Toyota Celsior on Cars and Bids
The 1995 Toyota Celsior listed on Cars and Bids comes well-equipped.
Like the US-market LS400, it has wood trim, dual-zone climate control, parking sensors, and leather upholstery. Being a Type C, it has the adjustable air suspension. This Celsior also has traction control, self-drying power-adjustable mirrors, power-adjustable front seats and steering column, and even power-raising seatbelt holders. There’s even a sport mode for the 4-speed automatic.
This particular 1995 Toyota Celsior is in very good condition. The odometer reports just 13,600 miles. The interior is pristine and free of wear, and the sedan comes with its factory spare and tool kit. And the few flaws—some scuffing on one mirror, residue on one parking sensor, and some cracking on the passenger-side surround—are relatively minor.
What makes it a bargain buy?
As of this writing, this 1995 Toyota Celsior is listed on Cars and Bids for $8000 with 3 days left in the auction.
Considering its condition, that’s a very good price for this sedan. US-spec Lexus LS400s typically go for about $15,000-$20,000 on Bring a Trailer. And as of this writing, Japanese Classics has a 1995 Celsior available for $12,995.
Not only is this a cheaper LS400, but it’s also just as reliable and overbuilt as the Lexus. And LS400s have been known to withstand hundreds of thousands of miles without issue, Road & Track reports. It’s basically a Mercedes S-Class, but more reliable, Car and Driver reports. Plus, it has the aura of RHD JDM mystique.
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