Monday, July 9, 2012

Inside Lexus LFA Works - online exclusive by

Lexus LFA Nürburgring Package from Goodwood last year
Throughout this week, TheTruthAboutCars will run a 5-part series on the inner goings on of the Lexus LFA Works - that's the birthplace of the awesome LFA halo car in Japan. TTAC got exclusive first-hand access to the Motomachi plant in Japan to check out how the car is made. It's no secret that I love the LFA. This article is a must read, even if you don't have such passion about the car as I do. Part 1 was just published. Here's a short extract. Have a read for the full article here.

Until today, this door was closed to the media. One magazine, Japan’s Car Graphic, was lucky to be invited in 2010 when the workshop still geared up for work. After series production started in December of that year, access to the LFA Works was limited to a privileged few. To be admitted, serious amounts of money had to change hands. The buyer of a $375,000 LFA was offered a tour of the premises – strictly without camera. Today, this veil is about to lift. In a five day series, we will show how the LFA is made, who makes it, and most of all, why.

At the door, I am greeted by Haruhiko Tanahashi. Tanahashi is Chief Engineer of Toyota Motor Corporation’s Lexus Division, and he is the proud father of the LFA. Ever the proud father, he likes to talk about the birth of his child.

It started in a bar.

The Lexus LFA was born where many great ideas come to life:

In a bar.

“My boss and I sat in a bar in Hokkaido,” remembers Tanahashi, “and I told my boss about the dream I had. I wanted to make the ultimate sports car.” At this point, bosses usually call for the check, or the submitter’s personnel file. Tetsuo Hattori, at the time the top vehicle engineer at TMC, replied “why not” – and ordered another round in celebration.

“February 10, 2000. – In Shibetsu, Hattori approves study of a real sports car.” So reads the first entry in Tanahashi’s diary that until this day chronicles the development of the LFA. In sparing sentences, kept on an Excel spreadsheet, Tanahashi follows the incubation, birth and first steps of his life dream.

After receiving a nod from his boss, Tanahashi did not waste time and did not want to risk a change of mind at his superiors. A month after the bar visit, the diary shows the first meeting of a quickly assembled working group.

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