I’ve written a fair bit about my 1967 Cadillac but I haven’t said much about my daily driver. Every day, I drive a 1992 Lexus ES300 to work and back. The car actually belongs to my wife, but since she’s usually home with the kids the van stays with her. The Lexus is actually quite rare since it has a manual transmission. They only put 5 speed manuals in the Lexus ES300 for a few years, and only a very small fraction of the production numbers were offered this way.
This car has been relatively trouble free, in the nearly five years we’ve owned it I’ve had to replace some leaky valve cover gaskets, install a pair of rebuilt cylinder heads due to leaking valve stem seals, replaced a clutch, water pump, battery and power steering pump. For it’s age that’s pretty good.
However the tires (which we bought when we bought the car) are getting to be just about bald, not to mention that they’re starting to crack due to age. Worse than that, the suspension bushings have been subjected to oils and other agents which have caused them to break down. There are also a number of other little issues which need to be addressed just to dress the car up a bit and make it more usable (and safe) as a daily driver.
So, thus begins project “late model restoration”. I’m going to address all of the serious mechanical issues, as well as make a few improvements so I can take pride in the car. That last part is key, because I keep entertaining the idea of selling the car, but if I’m being honest we can’t afford to replace the car right now, and there isn’t really anything wrong with it that can’t be easily remedied!
The first step was to wash the poor thing for the first time in many months, and repair the broken power antenna. Stay tuned here to watch the progress. You can consider the image above the “before” picture.