ed; A point of Lexus trivia. Conventional wisdom might suggest that the correct syntax is, one Lexus, many Lexi. Linguistically this makes sense, but because it’s a name, many people believe it to be one Lexus, many Lexus’s or Lexuses. According to the company themselves though the answer is much simpler. One Lexus. Many Lexus. It actually has NO plural form.

Being an old-school petrolhead today is very difficult. Especially being a young old-school petrolhead. Electrification is everywhere. Online iRacing has more cars and drivers than actual club racing. And Formula One drivers do more social media influencing than actual driving.


That’s not to say the passion for cars in the world is dead entirely – rather just evolved. I for one enjoy online racing, for instance. My wife prefers it too. Specifically, because I don’t blow our monthly budget on race fuel and tires and end up taking up the entire weekend. Instead, I go into the study where my rig is set up. I do a couple of practice laps, then a race with 25 other drivers around Monza for 20 minutes. Then have dinner with my wife shortly after. A standard Tuesday evening. Is it real racing though? Well, no. Not if you were to compare the GT3 Cup Porsche on my Playstation to the real thing. But I would never get to drive a GT3 Cup Porsche around Monza in the first place as a 29-year-old accountant in Cape Town. So, I’ll take what I can get.

My mind might change

That’s not to say I don’t enjoy real cars. Can I justify owning a race car at Killarney? In my heart, always. But financially, with the cost of racing and the amount of effort required to be competitive, probably not. My mind might change. But, for now, I’ll stick to road cars, thank you.


Now as a 29-year-old entering the world of responsible choices, what car do you buy that scratches the itch of gasoline under your skin without putting yourself into financial ruin? And here is where the problems begin.

For starters, the days of basic, yet exciting family saloons are gone. The image of a V6 Ford Cortina that you worked on yourself on the weekends and diced BMWs with during the week is just a distant reminder of the past. Heck, the amount of fun young people had with the likes of Alfasuds back in the day was commendable. Today, you just don’t hear people in the pub argue about whether the Ford Kuga would be able to pull a Mazda CX-5. And for good reason. There just aren’t any exciting affordable blue-collar cars for sale these days.

Japanese brands are still saving the day

In terms of actual sports cars there is some choice. The Japanese brands are still saving the day with affordable hero cars like the Mazda MX5, Nissan 370z and Toyota 86, and Supra. But even these are beyond the reach of many young petrolheads if you want to buy them newish.


That leaves us with a conundrum. Either settle for a scruffy hot hatch like an older Polo GTi or Fiesta ST. Or get something much older in the hopes of it being more exotic and exciting. It’s there where the likes of the BMW E46 M3, Nissan 350z/370z, Chev Lumina, Audi RS4, and Megan RS pop up, to name a few. All brilliant cars in their heydays. But as a 10-15 year old car, bloody hell they can be tiring.

Scrubbing through classifieds along with owners’ forums is minefield of “look out for this”, “make sure this has been replaced at xx km”, “watch out, this needs to be replaced at some stage and costs a million Rands”. It’s bloody exhausting and frankly ruins the whole dream of an affordable blue collar speed machine. Don’t even get me started on older Subaru’s. I’d rather drive a 2009 WRX on the Playstation than in real life, constantly dreading that the engine is consuming itself.

Nothing is just “get in and drive”

Yes, some of these are worse than others, but there is no denying that any of these kinds of cars have some manner of Achilles heel that needs to be taken into account in the buying decision. Nothing is just “get in and drive”.

Which in a very weird segway, brings me to a 15 year old Lexus RX350. Specifically, one my wife purchased for herself after being tired of her Alfa 159 ti. Which, while pretty, was highly impractical and would scrape its underbelly if you drove over a moderately sized snail. I never believed the Lexus reliability talks, until I actually took the car for a service last month (which cost less than the wiper blades on some BMW’s) and spoke to the mechanics. Nothing strange about seeing 500 000’km cars on the workshop floor with no major breakages. I heard one story of a guy that had to get his IS250’s clutch replaced at 430 000km and nobody knew how to do it because they’ve never had to in the past.

others make their engines out of papier mache – not Lexus

It immediately cured my maintenance fears of older cars and gave me some hope. Its also not like the engine is bland. It’s 3.5L V6 is used in pretty much every Lotus in the last couple of years. So why is it possible that some carmakers can make an engine that good with minimal issues, while others make their engines out of papier mache?

Blame the accountants or the underlying business model of cars needing to be redundant in 5 years, or whatever. The point is, things won’t be getting better. I can’t imagine a 2020 Toyota Supra still being on the road in 20 years from now unless you have a team of computer scientists and covert engine specialists to keep it alive. Especially in an age of electrification and hopefully hydrogen. While there will always be a place for the hypercars and supercars, the blue-collar cars of yesteryear don’t have much room. For now, please excuse me while I argue with my co-worker about why the VW T-Roc will clearly floor the Haval Jolion. God (insert any gender neutral deity of your choice here), help us all.

To see exactly how reliable a Lexus can be, check out the Million Mile Lexus on YouTube