Greetings From Amarillo


They are calling it “Winter Storm Iola”, and I’ve spent 36 hours in the belly of it.


For reasons that I will make plain to you as soon as they are plain to me, I’m driving a Lexus LS400 with 902,700 miles from Los Angeles to Columbus,OH. My co-driver is the infamous Alex Roy. Our plans to cover a thousand miles a day have been undone by closed interstates and worse travel conditions than anything I’ve ever experienced on the East Coast. Nevertheless the big Toyota is running strong and sure.

Tonight we’re having dinner with the cops who almost caught Alex and ruined his attempt at the so-called cross country record. Should be interesting. In the meantime, we figured out that the CD changer works, and I just happen to have the Rudy Van Gelder remasters of those four brilliant Miles Davis single -take Prestige records. If only the roads would clear!

19 Replies to “Greetings From Amarillo”

  1. Tre Deuce

    Snow in Amarillo? Who’d a thought? January…High desert. It is snowing even farther South in Ft. Stockton and Nogales, where it will be about 10 degrees tonight. My route in a few days to Austin on I-10, has been pretty icy for several weeks, but looks to be warming up by the time I leave, but who knows for sure in the high desert.

    Matt’s project ‘Million Mile’ LS400 should get you through in great degree of comfort, especially if the CD player keeps on giving up those great road tunes . I use to make road tapes, back in the day of Super-Tuners, for those long cross country trips. Wish I still had some of them, but always recorded over them for the next trip.

    I see a lot LS and SC400’s with very high mileage still putting it down the road, so Matt’s ride will probably persevere for a few more miles, unless you put it in the ditch.

    Keep it safe and fun.

  2. Athos

    Does it feel like a tired POS or like a proper car at that mileage?

    I’m curious. I’m a fan of the early LS/SC cars, and the V8s sound AWESOME with a proper exhaust.

      • Tre Deuce

        Winter storm names were started by the Weather Channel and are now also instigated and used by Triforce Weather. The NOAA/NWS do not use Winter storm names, and officially don’t acknowledge their use by other sources.

        Looks like you guys are going to follow this storm, or parts of it, East.

  3. DeadWeight

    907,000 miles.
    I love both the Lexus LS400 & Lexus LS430 beyond words because they are such supreme examples of VALUE.

    They weren’t CHEAPLY PRICED when new, even if they undercut the Germans by 25% or more for equivalent sized sedans, but given their reliability & DURABILITY, they’re absolutely some of the highest VALUE FOR $$$ vehicles ever produced.

    It’s a shame Lexus has backslid a bit in these aspects regarding their largest sedan offering in the LS460 – even if Lexus still makes the reliability & durability of Cadillacs a running joke.

    • Tre Deuce

      Recently/last month we tore down a 340,000 mile LS400 engine for inspection prior to installing in a Miata a few months from now. Could have left it alone and saved the work and cost of very expensive gaskets. Engine showed little wear, we touched up the valves a bit and reassembled. The engines are a work of technical art. Reminded me of the Citroen SM, 3L Maserati engine, I rebuilt many years ago.

      • Jack Post author

        The irony here is that the car that Alex and I initially planned to take was his Citroen SM… and we’ll probably be driving that somewhere in the future.

        • Tre Deuce

          The SM.

          It was one of my ‘got to have’ cars of the early seventies, and planned to get one when I moved to Portland in the Spring of 74′. Unfortunately, Citroen pulled the car from the US market and it wasn’t to be.
          For years after, a large billboard sign for the SM was still up at the NE Broadway freeway exchange, reminding of my missed opportunity.

      • DeadWeight

        I didn’t know a Lexus big V8 would even fit in a Miata.

        I would LOVE to drive the final result.

        This makes me inclined to think it’d fit in a RX-8 (though I’d have to do LS Chevy V8 manual in 6MT?).

        • Jack Post author

          It’s so hard to beat the LS in a Miata (or a Ford 302) because the center of gravity in those engines is so much lower.

  4. Mental

    Ya know the the fact a few people are inspired to prose by your take seems to indicate there is a nice original folk song hidden somewhere in this adventure.

  5. Pingback: » The thing about used cars

  6. Tre Deuce

    The 1UZ transplant has been going on in a variety of vehicles for quite a while, Deadweight, I’m late to the game on this one. The 1UZ is a better fit then either a 5.0(I recently completed a 5.0 swap) or an LS, though, stock, delivers no where near the power, but in my opinion, it is quite enough.

    As for putting one in an RX7, I picked up a 90′ GTU for just such a project, it will get a 1UZ and the Lexus automatic for a very inexpensive swap, that in the end will probably only cost me my time. I paid $600 for the busted GTU and $400 for the 94′ LS400 and drove it to the shop. When I sell the unused RX7 parts and the LS400 parts, I will probably make money on the swap. By using the automatic, you save about $3,000 over the Manual conversion and it will be an easier swap, though, probably not as much fun for some.

    The fact that 1st and 2nd gen RX7’s and early LS400’s can be had for a years worth of a kid’s lunch money, has to make this one of cheapest and most satisfying swaps, ever.

    I will let Matt sing the praises of the 1UZ/Miata swap>

    Painful to watch, but it makes a point against some typically hotted up MX5’s


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