Sakichi Toyoda was born in 1867 to a poor family. Japan was in upheaval as the Shoguns slowly acquiesced to the new Emperor. Looking for a way to provide for his family, he used carpentry skills to build complex looms. Patenting Japan’s first hand-loom in 1891, he was only 24 years old. Weaving delicate tapestries for wealthy patrons, his machines became popular around the empire.
Fast-forward 140 years and his Great-Grandson accomplished the same task. Needing a stronger material for his supercar, Akio Toyoda and his team at Lexus invented the circular carbon fiber loom. Sure, you could build a car out of normal carbon fiber, but what if the final shape could be woven into the material?
After patenting and building a 3D carbon fiber loom, it allowed the Lexus LFA Nurburgring to have a chassis that is still orders of magnitude stronger than any current production car.
Armed with a capable monocoque, Yamaha was brought on board to build an engine unlike any other. Because every Yamaha product is tuned like a musical instrument, the 4.8L V10 can scream from idle to 9,000 rpm in 0.6 seconds. Titanium internals and a 72-degree firing order produce the smoothest V10 of all time, with Toyota engineers calling it the “roar of an angel”
Each cylinder has its own throttle body, fed by a variable-length manifold. At the flywheel, the carbon fiber torque tube is geared to spin faster than engine rpm. Not only does it act as energy storage, it removes any harmonics associated with all rear-mounted transmissions. A six-speed single-clutch sequential is the only transmission offered.
After racing around the world, they decided to build the final 50 cars to be capable of attacking the Green Hell. The Nurburgring Edition cars offered 563 horsepower at 8,100 rpm, and 354 lb-ft of torque at 7,000 rpm. A massive carbon spoiler replaced the active rear wing. The transmission was recalibrated to shift 0.05s faster, and dive planes were added to the front end.
With Akira Lida at the wheel, a 2011 prototype ran a blistering 7:14.64 on stock Bridgestone Potenza rubber. It was 10 seconds faster than the Porsche 911 GT2 RS, being clocked at 185 going uphill. Over a decade of design and development led to Lexus offering one of the fastest production cars of all time.
No turbos, no hybrid assist, just innovation and attention to the smallest detail. Nothing like this will happen again in our lifetimes, so don’t miss this opportunity. Our friends at Pagani Beverly Hills are offering this one with delivery miles only. It is the first Nurburgring Edition to be priced under $1 Million, so call them before I do!
Images and videos (C) Toyota USA and Pagani of Beverly Hills