By on July 8, 2012

 

This coming week is LFA Week. From Monday, July 9 through Friday, July 13, TTAC will run a five-part series documenting the production of the Lexus LFA. Readers of TTAC will receive unprecedented access to the LFA Works in Motomachi. You will receive a behind-the-scene look, exclusive, never before published proprietary pictures, and a glimpse into the future. Here is a preview:

This is not one of those “sponsored content” promotions. It would be silly: The production of the LFA is limited to 500, all are spoken for. Even if you would pay the $375,000 the car costs, you would be turned down. (There’s always eBay.) When this year ends, the production of the LFA will end with it.

During LFA Week, LFA Chief Engineer Haruhiko Tanahashi and his deputy Chiharu Tamura will show you how the LFA is made, from the first strips of carbon fiber to the test drive. You will see the mysterious circular loom up-close, and you will see what is made in that loom.  You will get a peek into Tanahashi’s diary. You will go on the track with test driver Nobuaki Amano.

Monday, July 9: From A Bar To Bar None. How the LFA really was born, how it got is name, and how Tanahashi nearly had a heart attack when he was told to make it out of carbon fiber.

Tuesday, July 10: In The Clean Room. We don protective clothing, we get vacuumed from top to bottom and  enter 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. During a short bus ride, Chief Engineer Tanahashi tells how the LFA really got its name and what LFA really means. Also: What the SR-71 Blackbird spy plane and the Lexus LFA have in common (a muffler.)

Thursday, July 12: Balance Of Power. We watch the V10 engine go into the LFA, we hear about balance, and we show you how 50 years from now, the history of each of the 500 LFAs can be traced to two little rooms in Motomachi.

Friday, July 13: Exam Week. We go on the test track with test driver Nobuaki Amano. And we examine Chief Engineer Tanahashi about how the LFA influences future car, and what will come after the LFA.

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44 Comments on “TTAC Celebrates Lexus LFA Week, And You Go Behind The Scenes...”


  • avatar
    Toucan

    I think the LFA is badly designed as a halo car. It went too much in the direction of “pure” instead of “feasible”.

    It’s too expensive and too limited so it never could become a “long term test car” of many popular car websites, therefore getting little publicity, through short test drives only.

    And because it is so expensive, there are few videos on Youtube with the car cause few were able to buy one. Not much for fans to admire.

    The fact, that it is easily outgunned by supercars costing less yet carying more credit doesn’t help. The fact that it gets CRUSHED by Lamborghini Aventador which also happens to look by a mile better and more dramatic doesn’t help even more: youtube.com/watch?v=m5_AKjDdqaU

    The best examples of a halo car made by a company that never produced a supercar before is the Audi R8 and Nissan GT-R.

    LFA could have become a legend, a milestone.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s a manufacturing exercise, expert.

    • 0 avatar
      yosafbridge

      Considering a highly respected magazine like Evo rated the LFA as a better driver’s car then the Ferrari 599 and Lambo Aventador, I’m not sure the Lambo did any “crushing” other than straight line speed, the most crass and crude measurement of a car’s driving worth.

      • 0 avatar
        yosafbridge

        Besides, didn’t the LFA Nurburgring Edition just break the Nurburgring record for production cars recently this year? Seems like what the LFA lacked in outright straightline speed, it made up for in grip and cornering ability

      • 0 avatar
        01 ZX3

        And then the Viper ACR put it back in its place.

      • 0 avatar
        GT500SVT

        Agreed as Car magazine in comparison (UK magazine) said LFA was a much richer driving experience with a more exciting and responsive engine and the chassis balance, handling were all superior to that of the Aventador that was severely hampered by heavy understeer and too much weight (600 lbs heavier than LFA).

        Regarding the Viper breaking the LFA record, are you kidding me?? Lexus was never going after records of super-slick, high racing compound tire equipped cars (Michelin Pilot Cup tires). They put decently high-grip tires on the car and Akira Iida said since the record for non racing slick tires was at 7:20, they saw that as a standard comparison. Besides, Viper ACR has nothing in it. It is completely stripped out of any amenities while the Lexus LFA comes with all luxuries imaginable in both variants. LFA was not built only to run the quickest lap time, but to not compromise on anything.

        Besides, Ralph Giles who is the Viper chief engineer said Lexus LFA was a bench mark in track testing of the new Viper SRT-10 GTS.

  • avatar
    PintoFan

    “The production of the LFA is limited to 500, all are spoken for.”

    Toyota keeps saying this, even though a mountain of evidence is accumulating that it isn’t true. As if the presence of TWO examples of a limited-production supercar on Ebay isn’t enough to raise suspicion, both of them are being sold on new titles- meaning no prior owners (deflating the “scalper” argument that will inevitably be made). As Jack Baruth himself stated in his review of the Chicago Auto Show (at which no less than FOUR LF-A’s were present), “However Limited LF-A Production Was, It Apparently Wasn’t Limited Enough.” It seems like Toyota is having somewhat of a problem shifting their supercar at Enzo prices- not exactly a major revelation to anyone who understands the market for this kind of car.

    This really is veering towards print-mag material. Even if it won’t help sell more LF-As, it provides plenty of free, fawning publicity for Toyota and aids them in their quest to make the Lexus name mean something.

    • 0 avatar

      Mountain of evidence? All I see is a molehill of innuendo.

      I have asked, and I have seen the whiteboard with the production schedule. If you believe supposition more than research, then you are at the wrong website.

      • 0 avatar
        PintoFan

        Lexus was already caught fibbing by Motor Authority in regards to preorder sales. They had to “correct” their original press release by saying that instead of selling out the entire run in preorder as was originally claimed, there had been a “mistake” and that there were only a “few” cars left for direct sale. Now there’s two of them on Ebay, and I suspect a good deal more are either sitting in storage in Japan or have been shipped off to marquee Lexus dealers to gather dust until somebody decides that they want one.

        Either a major global carmaker couldn’t keep track of preorders for a 500-run car, or somebody lied to cover for an embarrassing sales flub. When you consider that both the Aventador and the FF sold out their first-year runs in preorder, it doesn’t take a lot of thought to consider which is the more likely option. If Rick Hendrick can toss the keys to Kyle Busch and tell him to have fun, then it can’t be in that high of demand.

      • 0 avatar
        Thinkin...

        Lexus says they’ve presold the 500 LFA’s and you believe it wholesale. (Even when two are sitting unsold on eBay.) Tesla has, in hand, 10,000 deposits of $5000 each for the Model S (well past the 8,000 buyers they need to make money on the car) and you report the car as dubious vaporware right up until it is actually delivered to customers?

      • 0 avatar
        Silvy_nonsense

        “and I suspect a good deal more are either sitting in storage in Japan or have been shipped off to marquee Lexus dealers to gather dust until somebody decides that they want one”

        There are hard-hitting, incontestable, fact-based conclusions and then there are statements like the one above.

    • 0 avatar

      I was at the charity preview of the Chicago Auto Show and while taking pics of the four LFAs lined up in a row, started to talk to a guy who was of means enough to have asked seriously about buying one. From what he was told while I was standing there, two of those LFAs on display were customer owned cars, loaned back to Toyota for the show. Of the other two, one was titled to the factory and used as a show car and the remaining LFA (I think it was the yellow one) was actually for sale.

      • 0 avatar
        PintoFan

        Why would they need four supercars for a display at a second-tier auto show? Especially if it required the expense and hassle of leasing back two of them from their owners? Who really wants to lend their nearly $400,000 car back to the manufacturer, just so it can be jostled, scratched and dinged? Even the presence of one car for direct sale is enough to refute Bertel’s contention that “all are spoken for.”

      • 0 avatar
        GT500SVT

        That is correct. One of the LFA owners who displayed his LFA at Chicago was featured on the Chicago news channel when he got delivered with his new black Lexus LFA (#028) and then Lexus asked him to lend his LFA to display in the Chicago auto show and he was pleased to give them the key.

        Never mind the ignorant people who are just here to hate on this masterpiece and would look for any excuse to selectively pick things to bash the LFA. It is sad, but unfortunate.

      • 0 avatar
        gengarClubLexus

        There were four cars at Chicago Auto Show:
        Black – #26 – customer owned.
        Red – #57 – personal purchase by owner of a Lexus dealership, may have recently been resold.
        Yellow – #184
        Red – #144

        Not sure on the status of the last two. I know Lexus USA wanted to buy another one (they also own #32) because they can’t satisfy all their media/display/track opportunities and commitments, and I heard they picked up a Red one, so that may be #144.

        Lexus asked to display my LFA at the show and I would have been happy to, but I had to decline due to scheduling conflicts.

      • 0 avatar
        Silvy_nonsense

        PintoFan?

        Who cares? Who says the cars were delivered and leased back? Why -not- have four cars? The arrangement is between Toyota and the buyers – why should they have to answer to you?

        I could care less if all LFA’s sold in pre-order, after the fact or not at all. It’s by far the least interesting thing to discuss about the car.

    • 0 avatar
      cbishop11

      There is a white LFA sitting in the Lexus dealership in San Antonio that is for sale. It has been sitting there for over a year, as I see it every time I go in for an oil change. It doesnt appear this particular one is spoken for.

    • 0 avatar
      gengarClubLexus

      Just to point out that I’ve never been able to locate an actual Lexus press release or statement declaring the LFA to be sold out – merely media reports and then re-reports of what to me seem to be journalistic inventions, so it’s amazing that this strawman is still being tossed around. As of last month Lexus still had LFA allocations available in the US.

  • avatar
    wmba

    Well, I’m highly UNinterested in what the so-called best and brightest opine about the LFA, almost none of whom could either design any car or afford this one.

    Bring on the articles, Bertel. I’m looking forward to them all, because we may well find out some extremely interesting facts about the design rationale of the LFA.

    Thanks for going to the trouble.

  • avatar
    Bushwack

    I’d rather see the inner workings of an American icon in the industry (i.e. Corvette or Mustang). A car that has contributed to the shape of the modern era sports car. But if I have to settle for an LFA, far be it for me to pass on getting educated.

    • 0 avatar
      28-cars-later

      I agree Corvette or Mustang production would be a little more relevant to those of us in the United States, but this series will probably be very interesting. I say this as someone who would a exhibit significant amount of schadenfreude if Toyota went bankrupt and was liquidated tomorrow, but has a very open mind and is always eager to learn.

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      @ Bushwhack, try: http://www.bowlinggreenassemblyplant.com/home.htm and http://www.makersmark.com/#!/distillery/visit-loretto and/or http://www.jimbeam.com/american-stillhouse; if you so inclined and have the time. Shelby America: http://shelbyautos.com/tours.asp. Kentucky is pretty and Vegas is well, Vegas.

  • avatar
    sudden1

    Bertel,
    For the record: 1: Toyota’s F1 effort was an absymal failure.2: I’m not a real fan of the LFA. 3: Toyota is a great car company that knows how to build great cars. 4:I can’t wait to see this series. I’m sure it’s going to be epic. TTAC FTW

  • avatar
    Trend-Shifter

    Bertel, I am looking forward to this LFA series. I would love to hear about the vehicle dynamics, engineering, manufacturing, and history.

    I have read nothing but great things about the dynamics of the Lexus Fuji Apex. I sure spent a lot of time at the NAIAS admiring this car.

    Probably the price tag is what hurts the LFA. However we must appreciate all of the “one-off” engineering and tooling that goes into this car.

    I define quality as the degree of excellence, not just meeting requirements. I am sure we will witness that from every aspect.

    BTW, I am a Detroit fanboy, but I can fully respect and appreciate what Toyota is capable of.

  • avatar
    SuperChargerHeaven

    Did you get to watch the engine being assembled?

  • avatar
    rnc

    I wonder if toyoda ordered this car out of fear of watching honda implode itself as the engineering master (why I do not know, other than financial reasons similar to GM being bankrupt 15-20 years before it went bankrupt). But Ferrari sure didn’t win many (actually I think any) F1 titles after and before honda entered and exited and sold thier current and next generation engine designs to them.

  • avatar
    KixStart

    I’m looking forward to this week on TTAC.

  • avatar
    Athos Nobile

    I read the brief story on the LS-400 and 1st gen Prius on the “Toyota Way” book and look forward to read and keep in my PDF file this series.

    I found the LS400 challenge quite inspiring. The Prius one required some big cojones from the management. I’m pretty much sure this is another “trip to the moon” type project, one in which the process is as (if not more) interesting as the end product and definitely worth reading.

    Bring it on!

  • avatar
    roadscholar

    Looking forward to it. Just another reason why this is the only auto web site I visit on a regular basis (other than Autotrader)

  • avatar
    pentek

    Er……. Just to be pedantic. No muffler on the SR-71. Muffler on the F-117

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      The most bad-ass plane ever built. I recommend “Skunk Works” by Ben R.Rich and Leo Janos; an excellent read about the Lockheed Skunk Works

      • 0 avatar
        rnc

        Which plane, the SR-71 or the F117, both amazing in thier own rights (other than the F117 leading us down a path that has led to the F22 and F35 disasters). The SR-71 was originally designed to be an interceptor when we thought the russians were going to build the T-4 bomber (SU design, mach 3 speed), while the A-## for the CIA was going to be the recon. version, why the SR-71 had two seats, the phoenix missile system was developed to go with it, but the cost involved made that completely impractical and the fact that the russians developed mach 6 SAMs able to intercept with high rate of accuracy at 80k+ ft. plus made the CIA’s version impractical, so the radar and missile area’s were converted to hold sideways mounted cameras and other electronic gear (mananged by second airman) and could fly the area of the north pole surrounding russia while photographing almost all of russia outside of russian airspace (have never seen pictures but apparantly they exist of mig-25’s* flying at mach 3 and altitude near space and hitting thier ceilings and fallng into dead spins as the SR-71 flew at whatever it’s top mach and altitude were (not declassified).

        *A Completely misunderstood plane**, built to intercept the B-71, gave the west the creeps, finally got one and then we completely underestimated the next group of russian designs until the poles kicked us around a few times***.

        **It’s radar was not intended to guide missiles, but to burn through counter measures as to keep correct angle before ground radar launched/guided missiles. Made with vacuum tubes (which we took as complete lack of tech. development when the tubes were used because they had a much higher survival rate in comparison to IC in relation to EMP from TN bombs that our bombers could drop as a way of dealing with interceptors).

        ***Instead of accepting/dealing with fact that we had problems, we just had the poles destroy all of thier mig-29’s and gave them a bunch of F-16’s in return.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    The inner geek in me wants to see the circular state of the art carbon fiber weaving machine. Or whatever it’s called, I probably wouldn’t be smart enough to run it. The flag waving American in me is kinda sad that the carbon fiber weaving machine wasn’t made/invented in the US.

    • 0 avatar
      rnc

      Imagine it probably was in some way, figuring that the F117 was around in the late 70’s (which means it’s development began in the early 70’s), but like alot of things, we can build the most amazingly expensive weapons/toys but without the ability to transfer to industry that happened in the 50’s and 60’s (what’s called deminishing rate of return or building capital intensive ordnance delivery systems).

  • avatar
    russty1

    I like these “behind-the-scenes” articles, offering a rare glimpse on the inner workings of the industry. Especially with regard to design, an interest of mine. It would be great to see these articles done on a regular basis, each one looking at different car manufacturers around the world, a great way to compare how they do things.

  • avatar
    BlackDynamiteOnline

    Simply the best sports car to come out of Japan, and the most advanced Japanese car to date.

    Doesn’t need steroids (turbos/superchargers) to be great.
    Built to be the best, naturally…..
    BD

  • avatar
    gengarClubLexus

    Fantastic article series, can’t wait to see it. I got to tour the LFA factory last year, but didn’t get to go into the clean room or see the test “track”.

  • avatar
    Oelmotor

    Hats off to Toyota for testing new production technologies and themselves for the long term. I am curious about the future of the Motomichi “Skunk Works” and what the looms will produce after the LFA.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    Looking forward to this, congrats to Toyota, I mean even Daimler failed with the Maybach and they’re considered the kings of engineering.

  • avatar
    daiheadjai

    There will always be critics.
    Toyota generally gets the brunt of the flaming from the “enthusiasts”

    First “they’re boring” for making reliable appliances that the rest of the world (who don’t prioritize driving like we do) buy.
    Then, when they make something that is a marvel of engineering, “it’s too expensive”

    I’m sure there’d be critics even if Toyota makes a $20,000.00, 1,000hp Every-wheel-drive, 2,000lb manual wagon with a turbodiesel engine.

  • avatar
    WildcatMatt

    Could I make a minor suggestion about the TTAC watermark?

    Adding a white drop shadow to it would help keep the black portion from disappearing into dark portions of the picture and stand out a little more.


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