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.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

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

  • avatar

    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

        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

    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

    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

    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.

Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Subscribe without commenting

Recent Comments

  • Re: Chapter One: The Repo Man And The Lexus

    Steven Lang - I love your handle! Remind me to use it should I ever become a professional wrestler. My VW mechanic actually lives out in Carroll County. Douglas and...
  • Re: Chapter One: The Repo Man And The Lexus

    LeMansteve - Nice story. A couple nit picks: The southern border of Haralson county may be shaped like an angry copperhead, but the rest of the county is shaped...
  • Re: Chapter One: The Repo Man And The Lexus

    David C. Holzman - even the name sounds like it should really be Tappaloosa rather than Tallapoosa. I believe you, but the most real thing about it to me is the...
  • Re: This Is Why Nissan Isn’t Bringing The Micra To America

    cdotson - The Elantra GT is a fundamentally different vehicle than the sedan on a substantially if not entirely different platform. The GT is...
  • Re: Junkyard Find: 1998 Audi A8

    dal20402 - I think the F-150 (and upcoming Super Duty) will de-exotify aluminum repair. Bob’s Collision will need to figure it out to stay in business, particularly in...
  • Re: Chapter One: The Repo Man And The Lexus

    Steven Lang - It’s real. In fact, I have found it be one of the most genuine places I have ever experienced. I live about 45 minutes away.
  • Re: Junkyard Find: 1998 Audi A8

    28-Cars-Later - Corey I thought you would enjoy this tidbit on German over-engineering which highlights my amazement with your former A8: “The Panther was a German medium...
  • Re: Junkyard Find: 1998 Audi A8

    PartsUnknown - Well here’s the thing – the tank is held in place with three 10mm bolts – easy peasy. I got the tank free, it is just so oddly shaped and...
  • Re: Junkyard Find: 1998 Audi A8

    dal20402 - That is one clean car, especially at 135k. I would have been scared away anyway, though. Maintain it fastidiously and still replace the engine at 60k? And that was...
  • Re: Chapter One: The Repo Man And The Lexus

    indi500fan - Great story man. The van pic is heartbreaking. Can’t wait for installment #2.

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote


  • Contributing Writers

  • Jack Baruth, United States
  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Vojta Dobes, Czech Republic
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, United States
  • Cameron Aubernon, United States
  • J Emerson, United States