Toyota Celsior (F1/F10/XF10/UCF10). 1989–94 (prod. n/a). 4-door sedan. F/R, 3968 cm³ (V8 DOHC). The car that kicked off the Lexus brand in North America, with new levels of refinement and detailing, as Toyota aimed to compete with German and American luxury brands. Exported as Lexus LS 400 first before domestic sales began at Toyopet outlets, separate from where Crown and Century were sold. Development began in 1983 at the behest of chairman Eiji Toyoda; Ichiro Suzuki was chief engineer. No set budget, and the new car would not use existing Toyota components. Considered one of the finest cars in the Toyota stable—excepting the top-of-the-line Century—finding favour not only among VIPs but customizers. More basic models available at home (A, B and C grades, with A being the most basic; C had electronic air suspension rather than coils) than for export, though all engineered extremely well and beat the Germans on refinement. Slightly dull, Mercedes-Benz-esque styling outside, but that never deterred US buyers, who appreciated the Lexus LS’s value for money. Mid-term revisions 1992. Proved to be very reliable, as one would expect, though fuel economy not the best.