By on July 12, 2012

In the preceding chapters, we followed the Lexus LFA from raw fiber to body, paint, and assembly. Today, the LFA gets its engine. Tomorrow, we’ll test it, and then, we’ll say good-bye to the LFA Workshop in Motomachi. 

On its slow road to completion, the LFA travels down a main line, where it is met by components that come from smaller sidelines. One such subassembly is the LFA’s V10 engine. Covered by a thick sheet of plastic, it comes from Yamaha where it was built and assembled. The engine was a balancing act, in more ways than one.

Slowly, the LFA nears final completion

The engine sits behind the front wheels. The transmission, or rather transaxle, sits in the rear, balancing out to an ideal 48:52 front/rear weight distribution. Engine and transaxle are connected by a torque tube for a balance of lightness and durability.

The engine arrives pre-assembled from Yamaha

Through generous use of aluminum, titanium, magnesium and brain matter, the LFA’s engine is light. How light? I am unsuccessful in prying the engine’s weight out of the otherwise very forthcoming engineers. It will remain a secret until someone weighs the thing.

Mating ritual

“It makes no sense to save all that weight with composites, only to waste it on a heavy engine,” says Tanahashi. The LFA’s V10 is as small as a traditional V8, it is as light as a conventional V6, and yet delivers the power of a V12. The engine is light, but at 560 hp and 480 Nm (354 lb ft) of torque it certainly is no lightweight.

Here comes the power

The torque band of some engines is so peaky that it can do double duty as a Jayne Mansfield look-alike. Dyno the LFA, and it will draw a diagram as flat as a Japanese beauty: 90 percent of the LFA’s peak torque is available from 3,700 rpm all the way to the rev limiter. In this case, flat definitely is the sexier choice.

Chain of custody.

Speaking of the dyno, every LFA goes on one, not just to check the engine or the brakes, but even for such prosaic exercises as checking the accuracy of the speedometer.

How much torque?

One instrument appears to be banned from the LFA’s philharmonic symphony. There is no staccato sound of the pneumatic torque wrench. It would be too imprecise, I hear. Instead, each bolt is torqued with a digital, however manual torque wrench. After each bolt, the worker stops and makes notation on a sheet.

Mountain of evidence

To my bafflement, I learn that the torque for every bolt in the LFA is recorded on what is called an “evidence sheet.” Not just the torque of every bolt. Everything that is touched, assembled, hand-laid, bonded, adjusted, or checked in each and every LFA made receives an entry in an evidence sheet. The sheet is signed by the person that enters the data, and then it is signed again by a foreman.

50 years from now, the evidence will still be there: Miyoshi and Tanahashi are checking the files

Whenever one of the each of the 500 LFAs leaves Motomachi, administrator Mami Murofushi puts four heavy file boxes, filled with a collection of thousands of evidence sheets, on a shelf in an archive room a few steps away from the LFA Works. Aligned by build number, the file boxes will sit there at least for the next 50 years.

FRP is forever.

Why will the evidence be kept for more than 50 years? For one thing, because the LFA likely will last longer than that. Honestly, Tanahashi does not know how long the LFA will last.

“I feel the material could live permanently,” says Tanahashi. “To be safe, let’s say semi-permanently.” Looking at a semi-eternal service life, Tanahashi is not worried about end of life issues. Some people are. They paint a picture of rust-resistant carbon fiber bodies that will pile up on landfills half a century after they can be made in an affordable way. Tanahashi has thought of that as well and says that if and when the time comes, the carbon fiber LFA can be “crushed and the material can be used for building reinforcement.”

A week’s work, lined up for inspection

7:14.64

With that in mind, we travel to another hall at the northeastern end of the Motomachi complex. This is where cars receive a very intrusive physical before they get delivered. A full week’s worth of LFA production, all seven of them, are lined up for inspection.

One of the LFAs awaiting a physical is a Nürburgring Package version. The package is a $70,000 extra, and only 50 are being sold. I would not have noticed it, would Tanahashi not have pointed it out. It is the white one on the right.

Insert $70,000 right here

Those $70,000 buy you 11 additional horses. “That is the main difference,” says Tanahashi. The suspension has a different adjustment. There are little winglets on the side, and “slight changes inside of the engine room,” I hear.

Asked what those changes are, Tanahashi grins, he pops the hood and shows a silver oil filter, and a red-on black plaque that says “Handbuilt by Lexus LFA Works” instead of the regulation champagne-colored oil filter and plaque. If I had to ask …

Oil filter, special Nurburgring edition

“It is expensive, but it shaved 8 seconds off our Nürburgring lap time,” says Tanahashi, referring to the 7:14.64 Nordschleife lap time achieved on August 31, 2011.

Ignoring the lap times of three cars of dubious provenance, the LFA on regulation Bridgestone tires was the fastest production, street-legal car around the ring. For two weeks, it was. On September 14, a Dodge Viper ACR on Michelin Pilot Cup slicks came in two and a half seconds faster, and this is where things stand ever since.

I ask Tanahashi whether he will try again. He does not answer, and looks the other way.

Stay tuned for the final installment of The Making Of The Lexus LFA:

Monday, July 9: From A Bar To Bar None. How the LFA was born, and why it is made from carbon fiber.
Tuesday, July 10: In The Clean Room. Where the LFA is made from the strongest and most expensive type of carbon fiber available.
Wednesday, July 11: Call Me Names. How the LFA really got its name.
Thursday, July 12: Balance Of Power. We watch the V10 engine go into the LFA.
Friday, July 13: Exam Week. We examine Chief Engineer Tanahashi about how the LFA influences future cars, and what will come after the LFA.

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70 Comments on “The Making Of The Lexus LFA Supercar. An Inside Report, Chapter 4: Balance Of Power...”


  • avatar
    Trend-Shifter

    Was the Yamaha engine specially developed and manufactured for the LFA or is it a variation on an existing engine?

    Before many comments were made that the selling price is too high, myself included. Seeing this series makes you think “How can they sell it at such a low cost!”

    It is a very special vehicle if you look beyond just the performance numbers. Industrial art at it’s finest.

  • avatar
    Robert Gordon

    “One instrument appears to be banned from the LFA’s philharmonic symphony. There is no staccato sound of the pneumatic torque wrench. It would be to imprecise, I hear. Instead, each bolt is torqued with a digital, however manual torque wrench. After each bolt, the worker stops and makes notation on a sheet.”

    Given the depth of your previous questioning, I’m quite surprised you didn’t ask them why they use a manual torque wrench? Why wouldn’t they use a DC Electric tool which can be automatically phased to allow for relaxation? Seems a silly choice of tool.

    “To my bafflement, I learn that the torque for every bolt in the LFA is recorded on what is called an “evidence sheet.” Not just the torque of every bolt. Everything that is touched, assembled, hand-laid, bonded, adjusted, or checked in the LFA receives an entry in an evidence sheet.”

    That is not actually very remarkable, virtually every every manufacturer would employ recording of Critical and Significant Characteristics which include critical torques. They are all recorded and stored for at least 10 years (actually the aforementioned DC tools record this information automatically)

    “Ignoring the lap times of three cars of dubious provenance, the LFA on regulation Bridgestone tires was the fastest production, street-legal car around the ring.”

    How are the other three of dubious provenance? You can buy them register them and drive them on the street. It’s not like there are lots of LFAs around either. In fact the Radical SR8 is relatively numerous and relatively cheap.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      Torque is a poor predictor of clamping force in screws/bolts. It varies significantly with lubrication, surface finish, tolerances, etc. There are methods of measuring the strain in the screw/bolt directly, and thus you torque it to whatever is necessary to generate the required force.

      Also, CF composites can have problems with moisture absorption which reduces their mechanical properties. (They can also be susceptible to UV, but I don’t see that as a problem here.) Also, the composite may have heat/creep problems depending on the matrix epoxy’s properties. It’s very difficult to say that the material will still be good 50 yrs from now without past data.

      • 0 avatar
        Chicago Dude

        CF composites are the same thing as fiberglass. You’ve got carbon instead of glass fibers and your epoxy is slightly different. But basically it’s the same. There are 50 year old fiberglass yachts still sailing the world’s oceans. In the realm of military aircraft, actual carbon fiber products built in a vacuum environment have been around for at least 30 years.

        As Bertel mentioned earlier in the series, Lexus got their CF composite production up and running in less than a year. They didn’t achieve that by inventing a brand-new and unproven production process. I’m sure that there are quite a few innovations present in their process, but there is no doubt at all that they are building components that will be around in 50 years.

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        Often, the long-term success or failure is based on small, trade-secret nuances of the manufacturing process. For example, just the right additive to a plastic/composite can protect it from UV, but good luck getting them to tell you about it.

        Batteries have been around seemingly forever, and GM has been using them a long time, but they completely missed the decharge process to prevent the Volt from catching fire after an accident. (That’s not a knock on the Volt, but it is an example of a small, but important, piece of info that a company with experience catches and a company new to the game misses.) I don’t doubt that manufacturers who have extensive histories with the materials know how to make/protect a product to last, but even some of the military CF planes can’t be flown in the rain without damaging them. I don’t know if Toyota knows all the tricks of CF, so I can’t assume that they have the same level of product knowledge as military contractors or even boat manufacturers. Time will tell.

    • 0 avatar
      NMGOM

      Hi Robert,

      1) Absence of Pneumatic Torque wrench? I think it’s a spiritual, philosophical and craftsmanship sort of thing … so that the reality of “hand made” goes all the way through. It’s not silly at all. Ferrari uses a similar philosophy. So does Pagani and AMG making it’s V-12. And actually, if I were buying an LFA, I would enjoy the drive much more thinking of the human endeavor that actually went into every nut and bolt.

      2) Evidence sheet? I doubt that very many ordinary car manufacturers record the torque of every nut and bolt that goes into their vehicles, much less preserve those records for 50 years instead of 10. This may be more characteristic of some super-car manufacturers.

      3) Cars of Dubious Provenance? Regardless of claims that things like the Radical SR8, Gumpert Apollo Sport, and Dunkervoort D8 RS, are “production” cars, the fact remains that they do not meet international standards and cannot typically be sold outside of their home countries (yes, there are some exceptions). So these vehicles are indeed dubious, and do not have the same “legitimacy” as, say, the Dodge (now SRT) Viper or the Porsche 911 GT2 RS.

      —————–

    • 0 avatar
      espressoBMW

      Although data collection of the torques is not remarkable in and of itself, I think the fact that they record it by hand and store it in paper form is. I maintain and configure our data collection system and recording this data manually on paper is our last-ditch disaster plan which I doubt will ever be used. Of course, production numbers alone make this hardly possible while the LFA shop’s schedule allows for this attention to detail. The difference in cycle times also obviously takes into consideration the use of manual torques instead of electronic torque controllers.
      I wonder if an owner can request a copy of the reams of paper compiled during the build of their car.

      • 0 avatar
        schmitt trigger

        “I wonder if an owner can request a copy of the reams of paper compiled during the build of their car.”

        For an extra $34,999 it can be provided. Add $1, and we’ll include a CD. :-)

      • 0 avatar
        NMGOM

        espressoBMW,

        Thank you for that affirmation. I think you are making my point. The manual recording of manually tightened bolts with a manual torque-wrench is all part of the manual craftsmanship mystique. It’s refreshing to see that once in a while. Even at my old age, it makes me want to go to Motomachi to ask if I can at least wash their floor…. Do I appreciate good manual work? You bet!

        ——–

    • 0 avatar
      probert

      I agree with Robert. Now if only I could get my Neon to start – any suggestions?

  • avatar
    cdotson

    Robert Gordon,

    I had the same initial thought about DC Electric vs. digital manual, but then I realized that the extremely low production throughput probably drove this decision. DC electric torque drivers are quite expensive costing several thousands of dollars for two tool ends. If you have multiple torques that you need at each tool position this can be done but typically will involve either programming in a prescribed bolt tightening sequence (that the operator can forget or screw up) or scanning a UPC code to program the tool for the bolt you need to tighten (which the operator can also screw up). And that’s only possible if they’re all the same socket size.

    I’d be more than willing to bet that it was less risky (from a PFMEA standpoint) and more cost-effective to use manual torque wrenches with changeable tool ends and paper records given that they’re only going to perform each operation once per day. Twenty-four hours is a heckuva TAKT time.

  • avatar
    Oelmotor

    I like the entry on 11-2-2005 in Tanahashi-san`s diary.

    TTAC, the LFA articles are fantastic! I hope more Japanese manufacturers open their doors for you to give us a glimpse into their future.

  • avatar
    bills79jeep

    First off, this has been a great series. Limited access or not, most of the readership doesn’t have access to any auto mfg plants, so like many others have mentioned, I’d love to see more of this in the future.

    The technological prowess of this car is beyond question, and I don’t even really have a problem with the fact that this car is so expensive/loses money for Toyota/isn’t really that much better than its competition.

    However, I think there is a fine line between innovation and perfection, and nonsense. Recording the torque specs for every nut, having someone else sign it, and then recording it for posterity? I think that safely crosses into the nonsense category. Just because we revere the engineers for the great things they’ve done here doesn’t mean we have to give them a pass when they wander off into OCD territory.

    I get the feeling that because it’s a supercar, and not a Camry, some pretty ordinary auto mfg process are getting some pretty nice treatment so they sound special. “Each grip, each part, each turn of a wrench has its set time and purpose. The orchestra has its sheet music: Placards at every station list what needs to be done when. One can feel the rhythm, even hear the distinct melody of the line.” I’ve seen How It’s Made, this could be said for any assembly line.

    What makes this car unique and special is the hand-made aspect. The real fun is in the hand laid carbon fiber, the 12 hour bake in the autoclave, and the non-robot paint booth. I think it is an interesting interplay between a highly technical car, and the people that build it. The car that has been said to have no soul likely has a lot more individual human contact and attention than 99.9% of the vehicles on the road.

    Enough from the peanut gallery – great series Bertel.

    • 0 avatar
      racingmaniac

      I think aerospace industry does that though. Its probably more important to keep track of something with lots of manual input in the manufacturing process in low volume to make sure everything is done correctly. Not just from a record keeping stand point but also I think it affects how worker’s psyche operates at the plant. On planes every AN/NAS fastener can be tracked back to when it was made, what batch, where material came from…etc(part of the reason why they also costs more)…

      • 0 avatar
        mcarr

        Having worked for an aircraft manufacturer I can confirm that this is how business was done. The paperwork followed the aircraft through the plant. Weights, torque numbers, test numbers were all recorded and hand signed. As the plane finished testing, the book was placed in cold storage.

        My job as an IT professional was to get rid of this onerous and opaque paper process and replace it with a faster, more transparent, more reliable, easier to access electronic documentation system. We used handheld scanners, electronic signatures, bar-coded the composite parts. The result was that we suddenly gained a wealth of information about the manufacturing process, and were able to incorporate new efficiency’s. We could pull up data on any aircraft, whether in the field, or on the line and trace all the parts back to their origin in a few mouse clicks.

        So, I’m not really that impressed with the paper system that Lexus is using with the LFA. It sounds impressive and diligent to those who have likely never manufactured anything, but in the end, it’s really quite useless.

  • avatar
    NN

    phenomenal series…this type of excellent insight and reporting is part of which separates TTAC from the others. Thanks Bertel. After having read this series, I have a new sense of respect for the LFA and for the people behind it at Toyota.

  • avatar
    mitchw

    When I opened the door of an LFA, it struck me that the carbon fiber frame around the door was beautifully made. It was made as cleanly as any part you’d see on the dashboard. This sent a signal about the boundless craftsmanship and rigor of everyone making the car. It’s just a shocking car to be up close to.

  • avatar
    lon888

    I’ve been in the aircraft business 32 years, and when I look at that beautiful V-10 engine it reminds me so much of the Allison/Rolls Royce Merlin aircraft engines. What a magificent piece of engineering.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert Gordon

      Surely you mean Packard/Rolls-Royce Merlin engines. The Allison V-1710 it must be said was also aesthetically pleasing, however it was not related to the Merlin.

  • avatar
    Alexdi

    Wonderful series, Bertel. I wonder if the LFA engine undercuts the 530 pound weight of the rather more pedestrian LS9 in the ZR1.

    If you fancy a followup, a much smaller boutique operation like Pagani would provide an interesting foil. Is a Zonda any less special than the LFA? Some of the commentators suggest that what first appears to be fetishism might be common to most manufacturing lines, but few of us are in a position to know either way.

    • 0 avatar
      doctorv8

      The LS9 may be “rather pedestrian” based on its Chevy roots, but it’s far more powerful, and its torque curve is far flatter than the LFA. And if it is heavier due to the blower/intercooler, the naturally aspirated LS7 certainly is not.

      I’ve tracked both the LFA and the ZR1/Z06, and while the Lexus handled beautifully and sounded amazing, I don’t think it was any faster than said Vettes around MSR Houston.

      Also, while I appreciate the craftsmanship of the CF structure, it has to be pointed out that the weight of the Lexus supercar is still halfway between the lighter Z06 and heavier ZR1. How can Lexus be so fastidious on weight savings and still end up with a 3250 lb car? Or was the 3130-3200 lb Z06 built on an AL chassis designed a decade ago for a $70,000 car just that ahead of its time?

      • 0 avatar
        juicy sushi

        Build quality. The Corvette has some nice engineering, and Chevy quality control with Chevy panel gaps and quality of materials. The Lexus has been overbuilt to match the fetishism of the engineering team.

      • 0 avatar
        doctorv8

        Panel gaps and build quality are all fine and dandy, but why does an LFA still weigh more than a 2006 Z06? Both cars have very similar levels of luxury equipment, and their performance is very close as well. The only CF on the Z06 is the front fenders, and it was sporting huge conventional steel rotors and heavy runflat rubber to boot……

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        http://www.corvetteblogger.com/images/content/071911_5.jpg

        Yes, this was a hard top.

      • 0 avatar
        doctorv8

        CJ,

        Not that it matters, but that’s a Grand Sport, which is a targa top. Regardless, Corvettes meet or exceed all the federal crash standards, as do all production cars, for that matter. What was the point of that picture?

      • 0 avatar
        Alexdi

        I actually agree. My take on the LFA motor is that it sounds glorious, but were I buying crate engines for a project car, I’d choose an LS9 even at the same price.

        Toyota’s literature suggests this car has unrivaled focus and attention to detail. The rest of us are wondering, as you do, why the specifications undercut the rest of the supercar league. I don’t think we’d be nearly as critical if it were $175K.

  • avatar
    SteveMK2Rio

    Actually – the comment on the paperwork is similar to Food Manufacturers working in GMP/HAACP/FSSC environments. We have to record every spec of information, sign it and it must be reviewed and signed by another member of management.

  • avatar
    orick

    “ideal 48:52 front/rear weight distribution”

    I thought this was always an issue up for debate. I hear a lot about 40/60 or 45/65 being better.

    • 0 avatar

      You can bet 48:52 is the ideal

    • 0 avatar
      espressoBMW

      “ideal” would be in consideration of the other parameters of the car, particularly suspension.

    • 0 avatar

      45/65? Now that would be some accomplishment. Yeah, I know it was a typo and you meant 35/65.

      But seriously, I don’t think you want to have 2/3rds of the weight being on the back wheels. The DeTomaso Mangusta might be an extreme example at 32/68, but it’s notoriously a handful.

      It’s interesting that Toyota ended up using the same layout as the current Corvette: Front midengine connected to a rear transaxle via a torque tube.

      • 0 avatar
        ...m...

        …if a car is designed for nimble handling when driven fast, 40/60 or even 35/65 weight distribution are better-suited, depending upon how aggressively the car is tuned: as always, it’s a tradeoff against other design parameters…more weight on the rear wheels when stationary translates into more-even weight distribution under hard braking when turning-in, at the expense of understeer in less-aggressive driving conditions…

        …moment of inertia can have as profound an affect on agility as simple weight distribution, though, as can suspension and tire design, all integral components of the total handling system’s balance for its intended usage scenario, and more-relevant to the mangusta’s shortcomings…i suppose that’s a long-winded way of saying that it’s never as simple as X:Y weight distibution being objectively ‘better’ than any alternative; the car companies trumpeting their 50/50 models are selling an empty specification point to an ill-informed audience…

  • avatar
    sudden1

    The engine is built and assembled by Yamaha and not in-house? Seriously? In your cost-no-object halo car you out source the engine construction?? Shock, dismay, and profound disappointment. Even if Toyota did design the thing. LS9s: in house; GT-Rs:in house.
    Vipers: in house( Mexico, I think, but still a Chrysler plant.) Even McClaren the small manufacterer that it is: Totally in house.
    What Toyoda, you got cheap, or Yamaha can do it better (now wouldn’t that be an admission), or you had to (translation: We don’t have the skills or the talent.) Well, Toyoda-San, which is it: Door number one, door number two, or door number three?

    • 0 avatar
      lon888

      Yamaha has always been the go-to guy for low volume, high perfomance engines for Toyota. This goes all the way back to the 1960′s Toyota 2000 GT.

    • 0 avatar
      stuntmonkey

      > The engine is built and assembled by Yamaha and not in-house

      The two companies are intertwined, with each owning a small stake in each other. And outside of Ferrari, the rule of thumb has always been that the best naturally aspirated car engines are usually made by the great motorcycle engine powerhouses… Yamaha, Suzuki, Honda and BMW.

      • 0 avatar
        Robert Gordon

        So how come the dominant players in F1 are Renault, Cosworth, Ilmor and Ferrari?

      • 0 avatar
        stuntmonkey

        > So how come the dominant players in F1 are Renault, Cosworth, Ilmor and Ferrari?

        Because F-1 engines specs are now basically frozen so there’s no challenge. Whoever was in F-1 before is still in, and there’s not much of an incentive to go in now. If Porsche is such a great sports car company then how come….. oh, never mind…

        Yamaha and Suzuki sell motorbikes, so there’s no marketing connection, and Toyota and Honda have been, um, preoccupied the past year and a half. It’s not like how it used to be, where the engines went up 50hp every season… the engineering competition was intense. Outside of competition like that, a project like the LFA keeps some of the same creative juices flowing.

    • 0 avatar

      FWIW, Ford had Yamaha build the engines for the original Taurus SHO. I can’t find a reference offhand, but I’m pretty sure that one of the big three had OMC (Outboard Marine) build one of their high profile engines. [Edit] According to one forum, it was Mercury Marine that built the Lotus designed LT5 in the original ZR1.

      Big car companies aren’t set up to make short runs. I think that GM’s engine shop where they hand assemble the LS9 and other hi-po LSx variants is fairly unique among large automakers.

      • 0 avatar
        doctorv8

        Yes, Mercury built the Lotus designed LT5 in the C4 ZR-1. The current ZR1 and “original” 1971-72 ZR1′s had no dashes. ;-)

      • 0 avatar
        sudden1

        Ok, all the doors are the correct answers. It was the principal of it that I responded to. Simply, I wouldn’t accept a Yamaha engine in my LF-A. In my mind, it’s a cheapening, compromising, part of an essential element of the car. Just my opinion. On a more rational level, I considered all the in-house investment in CFRP creation; they can set up for any kind of run they want. I just thought that this being the LF-A all previous bets were off. Didn’t mean to jack the thread. Excellent series.

    • 0 avatar
      James2

      McLaren doesn’t build its own engines. I believe Ricardo makes the MP4-12′s motor for them.

      • 0 avatar
        sudden1

        In partnership with them. But you made a valid point. I just used a bad example. My belief on the LF-A engine program doesn’t change. To me, nothing on this car should have been outsourced.

  • avatar

    “I ask Tanahashi whether he will try again. He does not answer, and looks the other way.”

    Suspecting this is not a shame thing, and that they just don’t care.

  • avatar
    Morea

    Question 1: Looking carefully at the photographs, it appears that the engine comes without the accessory belt installed. Why?

    Question 2: Why is this car branded a Lexus and not a Toyota? I thought the Lexus nameplate was USA only.

  • avatar
    icemilkcoffee

    This is a fascinating series. But the more I read, the less impressed I am with Toyota’s brute force, wasteful approach to everything. As somebody already pointed out- writing everything done on paper is a huge waste of everyone’s time and not easily retrieved or compiled into any kind of useful data. The carbon fiber body maybe unique- but it broke absolutely no new ground in composite manufacturing. They just made a bigger autoclaves and bigger looms, etc. It also doesn’t weigh any less than a Corvette ZR1 with all its exotic technology. And it got stomped on the Nurburing by a dumb ole Dodge Viper with a pushrod truck engine.

    A wasteful project that teaches Toyota nothing useful and loses money on each sale. What a disaster. Beautiful disaster to be sure- but the only lesson Toyota ill learn from this, is to retreat even further away from building any more sports cars.

    • 0 avatar
      sudden1

      +1 for having the guts to say it, it nothing else. ( Remember the International Rule that states: Passionate dissenting opinions are not permitted on the interweb.). This is a car that I desperately want to like, but can’t. (See above)

    • 0 avatar
      Silvy_nonsense

      “writing everything done on paper is a huge waste of everyone’s time”

      You are so right. Everyone who knows anything about ensuring consistent quality in manufactured goods knows that the best system is to just give it your best shot, crack a beer and call it good. Tracking processes and procedures, double checking results, inspecting finished goods – those are all just wastes of time that don’t have any impact what-so-ever on obtaining consistent results.

      Doing a good job consistently just isn’t that important. It’s overblown. No one really cares, especially when they’ve spent a bunch of money. Quality is stupid.

      • 0 avatar
        mcarr

        The KEY word in that statement is PAPER! That makes the statement absolutely true. Paper records make it nearly impossible in this day and age to do anything to “ensure consistent quality”. What metrics can you generate? The only thing paper gives you is a way to stall an investigation by claiming you “have to find the data in stacks of paper”.

      • 0 avatar
        stuntmonkey

        > Quality is stupid.

        You weren’t the guy who did my plumbing by any chance, were you? Cause I know an insurance agent who would like to have a word with you. ;-)

    • 0 avatar
      juicy sushi

      How did a project which taught Toyota real world composite manufacturing and led to the creation of a circular loom no one else has accomplish nothing ? Toyota gained significant corporate knowledge from the LFA. What you in particular, or the world at large, gained is irrelevant. You’ve been quite vocal in your LFA and Toyota antipathy in every article in this series with the same thing beikg repeated each time. If you have nothing new to say, why bother posting?

      • 0 avatar
        icemilkcoffee

        It taught Toyota what all the race car teams already know about composites. Toyota broke absolutely no new ground in making composites. In other words, carbon fiber remains completely useless for mass manufacturing. In fact it is completely useless even for limited production cars- Lexus lost money on a $375k car.

        Sorry for being negative. It’s just that with every new article I find more to be negative about, and nothing to change my opinion that this is the automotive equivalence of Bill Gates ordering a tree to be moved 5 inches.

      • 0 avatar
        MBella

        You’re right, carbon fiber cannot be used in mass produced vehicles. That is why every Mercedes Benz ML, GL and R class have carbon fiber floor panels in the front to separate a compartment where some of the electronics are stored.

      • 0 avatar
        juicy sushi

        Toyota already owns race teams with CFRP knowledge. Race teams don’t have knowledge of how to build with CFRP in this way. They can build tubs with aluminum honeycomb cores. That’s not the same thing. With the exception of the McLaren MP4-12C and possibly the Ferrari Enzo, no one has built a production run of cars using this much CFRP in these numbers. Whatever efficiencies they have learned about the production process would be proprietary, so this actually is very useful to Toyota. The LFA is much more a form of cost effective R&D on production methods than a commercial product.

      • 0 avatar
        Robert Gordon

        “How did a project which taught Toyota real world composite manufacturing and led to the creation of a circular loom no one else has accomplish nothing ?”

        By the way Toyota’s claims concerning that whole unique carbon fibre loom thing (it’s actually a Biaxial or triaxial braider) is just pure and simple lies, no other way to put it. There are hundreds of these machines around the world from many manufacturers. Toyota’s is not even a particularly big one.

        eg
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zOhj7X1-x10
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IeST0vfDuhw&feature=related

  • avatar
    juicy sushi

    Everyone on here whinging about paper record-keeping is trying very hard to look intelligent, but simply revealling their level of cultural ignorance. The Japanese prefer paper record-keeping to computers, partly out of a cultural preference for manual work, and partly due to the significantly higher burden that comes from trying to type in Japanese.

    Try to understand Bertel is translating an awful lot here for you, and you’re semiotically-loading the text with your own meanings.

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      No, not when your car is supposed to be bleeding edge state of the art technology. Ok, say I have total buy in on Japanese culture. Can’t they scan the paper? Imagine the awesome techno geek factor of being able to pull up you scanned build sheets on the GPS screen. Oh, and I’m pretty sure Bertel writes in English for this blog.

    • 0 avatar
      icemilkcoffee

      I don’t buy that. What’s so hard about clicking a few check boxes or typing in a few numbers? Nobody is asking anyone to type out an essay in Kanji.

      Now the bit about a culture that values manual work is probably true. Too bad it falls into the category of working ‘hard’ instead of working ‘smart’.

      • 0 avatar
        juicy sushi

        What’s the point in buying computers for all the work stations on a 500 car production run? Or scqnning everything? I think people are thinking about this like mass production. This is a 500 car batch in which each car will get continuous attention for the next 50 years. They don’t need to digitize things because the amount of data isn’t that big.

  • avatar
    mcarr

    “Everyone on here whinging about paper record-keeping is trying very hard to look intelligent, but simply revealling their level of cultural ignorance. The Japanese prefer paper record-keeping to computers, partly out of a cultural preference for manual work, and partly due to the significantly higher burden that comes from trying to type in Japanese.”

    You’re right, the paper record-keeping is cultural, traditional, etc… What it’s NOT is indication of quality, which some might take it to be.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    Not to sound too negative, but this car will lose $85K just driving it off the lot.

    In 25 years, it’ll be on a BHPH lot for $7,995. Now that’s some serious depreciation, but seriously, Toyota should’ve put their efforts into a $100K Supra we could all afford.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      “In 25 years, it’ll be on a BHPH lot for $7,995. Now that’s some serious depreciation, ”

      Low retail on a 1968 2000GT is $245,000. I’d expect the LFA to do at least as well.

  • avatar
    tkmedia

    What’s wrong with paper? Nothing. As long as there is digital data to go along with it for ease of distribution. Being purely digital is awful without hard copies. Most of my 20 year old data files no longer work, heck a lot of my 10 year old files no longer work. My paper copies are still around.

  • avatar
    benders

    It will be interesting to see what Toyota does with all this equipment after the 500 car LFA run. Could mean some cool additions to the Toyota “parts bin”.

  • avatar
    oldyak

    I would much rather see a Ferrari engine…

  • avatar
    felix

    I wonder why they won’t disclose the weight of the engine.

    1) They don’t know. They never measured it.
    2) Disclosing the weight would expose secrets about the construction and materials that are commercially sensititive and competitors could reverse engineer the whole thing if they just knew the weight.
    3) They are giving a free iPAD to anyone who can correctly guess the weight.
    4) They’re too embarassed to tell you

  • avatar
    BlackDynamiteOnline

    Building an LFA comes down to one word: Craftsmanship
    BD


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