Toyota Celsior UCF-10 Body Type
Handsome. Very handsome. A handsome, muscular, luxury sedan. That’s the Toyota Celsior. Especially, to my mind, the first series Celsior, the UCF-10 body type, like this beautiful black 1993 unit that we recently exported to the USA.
The Celsior (meaning “higher” in Latin) came out in 1989 and comes from the time of Toyota’s greatest, and certainly most beautiful, designs. The stunningly gorgeous MR2 (SW20) came out in the same year (here is a nice one that we exported to America), as did the ST180 series Celica, another striking beauty. The Soarer (Lexus SC300/SC400), with its ravishing long nose design, reminiscent of the Jaguar E-Type, is also from the same group of Toyota designers. They were working with a level of freedom and sense of beauty in line and form which is no longer (under modern legislation) permitted to car designers and makers. Which is why so many cars, including many luxury sedans, are all looking very much the same these days. (But there are still striking exceptions among the cars that we export from Japan, like this Maserati luxury cruiser here, from 2006; or this muscular, beautiful 2001 Jaguar XJR here, or this striking 2011 AMG CLS63 here.
These are all newer luxury sedans that still have good looks and elements of uniqueness. (I would also point out the Toyota Crown Majesta V8, which runs the same excellent engine and transmission as does the Celsior but is, over all, a slightly smaller and lighter vehicle, yet with finely understated, smooth, flowing body lines. Here is one we recently exported.)
A Winner From Day One
The first series Celsior was sold as the Lexus LS400 in the States, where it was a consistent top seller in its class. It was also sold, again as the LS400, in the UK, in Europe, in Australia, and in a number of other countries as well. It was Toyota’s take on the luxury sedan concept at the time that Toyota was designing and building its best. And best not only in beauty of design, but in build quality, too. The Celsior, as with all Toyota iron from the 1990s, is very well put together and very reliable. I have never seen a tired or worn out or saggy looking Celsior here in Japan. They all sit high and tight and, quite frankly, don’t seem to age. So if you’re looking for a good, clean used Japanese luxury car that is 25 years old or older (that will clear the easy import regulations for America or Australia), then the UFC-10 Celsior/Lexus 400 should be top of your list. Top.
And if you’re in Australia or the States, and you look at it as importing a Lexus LS400 direct from Japan, you can be assured that getting your used LS400 from Japan means that you’re picking up a car that will be in better condition and have fewer miles on it than one that you would find in the USA or Oz, generally speaking. (I mean, look at the very low mileage on this Celsior we have here, and look at our photos: this is a really nice used car. A couple of scuffs on the bumpers at the corners, typically found on full sized cars, and that’s it. Otherwise super clean and even with those delightful lace seat covers that, to me here in Japan, always indicate a well loved car.)
Let’s look at some specs and you’ll see that, not only does the Celsior come from the time of high design freedom and high build quality, it comes from the time of generous and unabashed power and performance, too.
And He’s Quick
The Celsior is a quick car (sub eight seconds 0-60) with its 4.0liter DOHC V8 putting out 260ps at 5,400rpm and 36kgm of torque at 4,600rpm. (I’m working with Japanese specs here, of course, since, if you want to import a Celsior from Japan, you’ll be getting the Japanese power outputs for a Celsior, which are just a bit higher than the claimed power ratings for an overseas LS400. So if we take the base model, A spec, having an all up weight of 1,690kg / 3,725lbs (not too heavy at all for a luxury sedan), we get a nice juicy power to weight ratio of 6.5kgs to every one ps of power. Quite respectable, to say the least. No wonder the car is no slouch. And, with that power going through a robust four speed automatic transmission, you get that smooth, stepped thrust, jet takeoff feel that guys of the old school, like me, relished when it came to putting the pedal down (and holding it down) in our V8 muscle cars of past times; like my old Cutlass Supreme with its very unrestricted four barrel carb. Those were the days of “liberal” power, and the Celsior gives just that feeling when you floor it.
There were three grades, A, B, and C, of specification for the Celsior, but even the “base model” is very luxurious. Some guys say that the suspension is better on the B and C, but on the other hand, there is a slight uptick in weight for the higher spec versions, and the suspension on any Celsior is very good indeed, quiet and compliant, but with precise balance that makes the car’s handling feel……tight, certainly for such a full sized luxury cruiser. And, when you want to import a Celsior, or any luxury car from Japan, I tend to say: “Don’t over look the base models, they are often the best value in luxury cars when buying second hand.” Although, having said that, I can’t imagine you being disappointed with any grade of clean used Celsior from Japan, A, B, or C, and here at Japan Car Direct we can find you a good unit of Toyota Celsior of whatever grade you want to target, whether we source your car from the Japanese used car auctions (where the best deals are to be found), or from one of the Japanese used car dealers here that we work regularly with. Nice examples of used Japanese luxury cars come up fairly regularly these days and, especially with a Celsior, you get a lot for your money: Build quality, power and performance and handling, flat out luxury, and a very handsome machine.