Known internally as Circle F, the mission to create a new luxury flagship vehicle to rival the slickest automobiles on the market was given the go-ahead in 1983. It would be six years - and 100 prototypes - until the birth of the LS 400, in a public unveiling that would divide critics across the world.
The brief itself was simple: do what you must, no expense spared. And so it was that this project consumed 60 designers, 1,400 engineers, 2,300 technicians and 200 support workers. During its evolution, each car underwent an additional 300 inspection procedures on top of those already imposed on any other vehicle produced by the company.
It was a process so robust that it helped Lexus's new Tahara Plant in Aichi Prefecture, Japan - a facility that now creates 675 Lexus models a day - earn the reputation as "the most fault-free production facility in the world." Perfecting the tanning methods alone - ensuring the perfect grain and texture of the interior, which was finished in wood by the piano makers at Yamaha - took a full two years.
Finally, in May 1987 the company's executives signed off on the body shape. And it was at the 1989 Detroit auto show that, to almost universal media acclaim, the LS 400 made its impressive debut.
Representing nothing short of a revolution for the Japanese automobile industry, the LS 400 showcased supreme engine-building skills, progressive technology and fantastic fuel efficiency alongside sleek design. This shiny new model helped the LS 400 earn its place in automobile history.