By on February 16, 2013

After Toyota ended production of the Lexus LFA and closed a chapter of supercar history, National Geographic aired its documentary as part of its Megafactories series. “Up until now, no television cameras have ever been allowed inside this top secret facility,” says the film. The words were carefully chosen. You, the TTAC readers, had been there long before the film went on air.

TTAC readers will find many familiar scenes and faces in the National Geographic documentary about the “top secret megafactory” at the Motomachi plant. As the first reporters to receive full access to the running production of the LFA, TTAC published a five part report about the making of the LFA in July of 2012.

Who are the masked men?

On December 15 2012, the last of 500 LFA, a white Nürburg Ring Edition, left the assembly plant in Motomachi. After that, the plant was shut down. Most of its 170 workers were assigned to other tasks at Motomachi. A small team is taking care of the 500 LFA customers.

This is the man whose insistence and persistence had made the TTAC story possible: LFA Deputy Chief Engineer Chiharu Tamura. Here, we catch him in a private moment at the Bridgestone booth of the Tokyo Auto Salon. The lifelong chassis man says good-bye to his work and the street-spec Bridgestone Potenza tire fitted to the LFA. Chief Engineer Tanahashi and Tamura had insisted on using the standard tire during the LFA’s attempt on the Nordschleife in September 2011. They refused to fudge with racing slicks. With seven minutes, 14.64 seconds, the LFA clocked the fastest Ring time among the bona-fide production models. A week later, the record was ruined by a Dodge Viper ACR . Its alleged slicks and splitter keep discussion forums buzzing to this day. Don’t worry, the LFA won’t be back.

Domo arigato gozaimasu, Tamura-san.

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8 Comments on “Remember This Top Secret Facility? You Have Been There...”


  • avatar
    tresmonos

    That series was one of the best of this site. Very informative and interesting.

    • 0 avatar
      Athos Nobile

      Indeed, now if they open the doors to a Corolla or Camry factory, that would be great.

      But I reckon a Camry or Corolla would not provide the TV eye candy a supercar does.

      • 0 avatar
        tresmonos

        Toyota utilizes some interesting approaches to the moving assembly line when it comes to ergonomics and work station design. I’m sure they have some cool queuing systems between body, paint and final.

      • 0 avatar
        Athos Nobile

        Some of the Europeans too, did you see the Golf line Bertel published 2 days ago? One supplier also gave me a copy of a promotional video from BMW’s 3 series plant. Robotized body warehouse is full of WIN.

        That said, I still would like to go into Camry or Corolla land to see how they get made.

  • avatar
    cargogh

    Great video. I have a greater appreciation for the LFA now. The engine music experienced by the driver must be bliss. BMW should watch this and can their canned. I bet Hiromu Naruse was smiling seconds before he went out.

  • avatar
    Mrb00st

    That was one of my favorites features on this site, among many. It was fascinating.

    What’s crazy to me is they only made 500 LFA’s. That’s such a miniscule number for a car they spent SO MUCH money on. Makes me feel all warm & fuzzy about Toyota actually having a soul… which the GT/FT86 reinforces.

  • avatar
    jco

    like you said in your interview with the engineers, Toyota didn’t make the LFA to make a profit. like the Prius, it was sold at a loss on purpose to further the development of future technologies. in this case, carbon fiber manufacturing.

    so much is made about how it isn’t the fastest supercar out there, or the that it’s too much money. but that’s missing the point entirely.

  • avatar
    Ryan Knuckles

    While I was an engineer at a Tier 1 supplier to Toyota, we visited their plant in Indiana. As an enthusiast, it was a pretty incredible experience.


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