As far as this author is concerned, the news broke a couple of days ago via our own Twitter feed which, in turn, picked it up from the Gmotors.co.uk site. The news in question? The sighting of a “special Tiffany Blue colored LFA spotted testing at (the) Nürburgring!” At first seeming to be nothing more than an LFA Nürburgring Edition in an odd exterior color, the blogosphere soon jumped on a number of differences, most of which were subtle enough: an extra horizontal vent on the hood, exposed black carbon fiber on the hood and roof, larger front lip spoiler, front winglets, side rocker sills and taller rear fixed wing spoiler.
Those subtleties pale, however, compared with what you see above: a significantly reworked rear fascia that trades other LFAs’ signature centrally-mounted triple exhaust for quad pipes stuck two in each rear radiator opening. This, in turn, leads to cascading dominos of further alterations, in essence pushing the rear radiators down and half-hidden by the rear bumper, and an entirely redesigned rear diffuser. Hmmm… is all this hiding more power and showing cleaned-up aerodynamics?
Beyond the obvious, two questions gnawed at this particularly detail-oriented author: What lurked behind the pixellated license plates? And what do those AD-A initials on the Lamborghini Superleggera-inspired side stripes stand for?
The first question may be a picayune or irrelevant detail to most people, but not to this author. The significance of those German license plates first became clear in a my.IS front page story from May 2008, whose subject was a Lexus IS test mule bearing a DAU 0683 license plate. As I wrote back then,
The license plate itself merely indicates that the car is registered in the municipality of Daun, in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate (or Rheinland-Pfalz in German). The red numbers on a white background, and the fact that the number starts with 06, denote that this Lexus bears dealer plates commonly used for unregistered cars going on test drives.
Almost 2½ years later, on October 2010, another my.IS story by yours truly noted the existence of additional Lexus GS and IS-based test mules with DAU 0679 and DAU 0684 plates. And what is the relevance of all this? If the hidden plates bear one of these numbers or thereabouts, it makes it that much likelier that this is an official Lexus test, as opposed to a private owner or tuner project.
Fortunately, the ever-informative Bridge To Gantry Nürburgring fan site quickly enough provided an answer via unpixellated photos (such as the one at right) clearly showing a DAU 0680 license plate. This certainly seems to fit into the broad DAU 0679 / 0683 / 0684 sequence used by previous Lexus testers.
At this point, Bridge To Gantry‘s Dale raises an interesting possibility: Is Lexus preparing to avenge the all-too-quick loss of its previous Nürburgring fastest production car lap record to a Dodge Viper ACR? Lord knows, but, in the meantime, Bridge To Gantry also posted this video of the LFA AD-A in action:
Tiffany Blue or Al Thani Blue?
Sit tight and make sure your 5-point harness is properly fastened, for this story has more unexpected twists and turns than a hot lap of “The Green Hell”. Hence, we’re going off on an…er…colorful tangent before we even address the second question we raised earlier. That “Tiffany Blue” that Kaizen Factor co-editor Flipside909 referred to in our Twitter feed? It’s not a Lexus LFA shade, but the colloquial name for the light medium robin egg blue color associated with Tiffany & Co., the New York City jeweler.
A visit to the ToyotaReference.com Lexus LFA page suggests that either Aqua (paint code 9K0) or Sky Blue (paint code 9J5) is the paint that graces the LFA AD-A. This may well be, but, in post-story commentary for The Lexus Enthusiast‘s initial LFA AD-A story, ForumJapAuto simply and rhethorically asked, “LFA for Al Thani?” and provided a Google images link to a bunch of high-end supercars painted in a similar if not identical shade of robin’s-egg blue.
Curiosity piqued, this author learned that “Al Thani” refers to the ruling family of the ultra-wealthy Arab kingdom of Qatar. The emirate’s current ruler is
Wiz Khalifa Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani. Some of the family’s blue supercars were the subject of a late 2010 YouTube video, while a Koenigsegg CCXR and Lamborghini Murcielago LP670-4 SuperVeloce owned by the clan were famously clamped for improperly parking outside the Al Thani-owned Harrods department store in the swank Knightsbridge area of central London.
Thus, we may simply be seeing the Al-Thani family’s newest ride, a Nürburgring Edition LFA taking advantage of one of its “free” track sessions. If so, with all those unusual touches, this may well qualify as the most expensive LFA of the lot. Or, perhaps, it’s some sort of Lexus test mule whose color scheme pays homage to the unique tastes of the Qatari clan.
So, what does AD-A stand for?
A Google search does not provide any sort of answers, but we do offer up a trio of possibilities. One, suggested by my esteemed colleague Flipside909 on a Club Lexus thread is that it stands for Advance Development – Apex, the latter being what the “A” in LFA stands for.
ADAC stands for Allgemeiner Deutscher Automobil-Club. The organization is Germany’s and Europe’s largest automobile club, their equivalent of the American Automobile Association (AAA) in the U.S. Unlike their American counterparts, however, the ADAC are members of the FIA (Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile), the governing body for motor racing events such as Formula 1 racing; and of the DMSB (Deutscher Motor Sport Bund), which is Germany’s motor racing governing body. The European Grand Prix, the former ADAC Eifelrennen, the 24 Hours Nürburgring and many other races are hosted by ADAC.
A third possibility is hinted at by Alexsmolik’s Supercars Inside blog, in a passage from his entry on the Al-Thani collection:
All the cars belong to a few persons “ANA Al-Thani”, which stands for “Abdulrahman, Nasser, Abdulla”. Probably three brothers or cousins.
Leaving aside the fact that, per Wikipedia, Abdulrahman died in 1930, perhaps this LFA is owned by a different combination of Al-Thani family members whose initials are ADA.