How does one celebrate a milestone anniversary? If you’re Lexus, it’s with champagne… glasses in the form of a tower on the hood of an LS. One of the most famous car commercials of the 1990s was Balance, the spot where a pyramid of champagne glasses was stacked on the hood of a then-brand new Lexus LS400. Now, Lexus has recreated the ad with CEO Akio Toyoda himself.
In Balance, a champagne glass structure five levels tall was delicately perched on the hood of an LS. It stayed put even as the car accelerated to 145 mph on rollers, the transmission shifting through every gear. “After years of intense work, Lexus is ready to celebrate,” the voiceover said, “Because even at the equivalent of 145 miles per hour, the Lexus LS 400 is designed to stir the soul… and not much else.”
The spot received multiple advertising industry awards and even has its own Wikipedia entry. Consumer advocate David Horowitz called BS on it, to which Lexus promptly responded with an independent test that proved it could be done. In fact, it was so well-known that it was referenced by Nissan for the first-generation Altima, by Dodge for the Ram 1500, by BMW, and by Lexus themselves on more than one occasion.
Three decades later, Lexus is referencing it again, in a new video in which Toyoda recreates the glass tower himself. He then hops into the driver’s seat accelerates up to 140-something while shouting, “It still works!” The original LS was one of the most solid cars ever built, and the tradition has largely continued with the brand for 30 years. However, Toyoda-san should have probably attempted a slightly different test — one with a 1990 Lexus LS that’s been driven for 30 years. YouTube is now populated with countless balance tests of LS sedans that have clocked six digits’ worth of miles, and guess what? They still pass the tests with flying colors.