Going by the local rules and regulations, the emblematic Lexus LS 400 launched in 1989 now falls under the UAE’s classic car registration rules. Dig in!
Going by the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority and the Automobile and Touring Club of the UAE, anything 30 years or older is considered a classic car, and if it’s in good enough working order to pass an official inspection the vehicle gets special brown registration plates.
That has opened up some interesting prospects for classic car registration in the country as 1989 models enter the picture.
Now that the Detroit show is kicking off, it takes us back to 1989 when the show season began with some big announcements: two new brands emerged that made a huge mark on the car scene in the UAE. Infiniti was one, but even more relevant to enthusiasts in the region, Detroit 1989 gave us the Lexus LS 400. Considering how many of them you see on the UAE’s roads, going around the dial on the odometer, the LS 400 should probably be on a stamp somewhere by now.
Buoyed by a real estate bubble the Japanese economy boomed in the 1980s and blessed the car world with a tech race. Companies like Mazda, Nissan and Toyota were flush, going after the establishment in every segment of the market, including way up at the top.
Mazda was even planning a V12-engined saloon to take on the BMW 7 Series and Mercedes S-Class, but the project never materialised in the end. Nissan went all the way though, and came up with the Infiniti brand to take on the best with a rear-drive, V8-engined luxo-barge.
Toyota took things seriously too, putting 1,400 engineers to work on an S-Class rival, and sinking $1 billion into the project. The result was the Lexus LS 400 that took the stage for the first time at that Detroit motor show in 1989. Thirty years later Lexus is once again stirring it up in Detroit which got us thinking about the whole thing in the first place.
Some quick arithmetic, and this means the beloved LS 400 can finally prance around the UAE’s highways with classic car plates, provided you can find one of the earliest models made as production began in May 1989. And if you’ve only woken up to this, values of the first-gen are already going up so it’s best not to hang around. Hope you like brown!