Lexus Frozen In Time

Mon 31st May 2021

Japanese car manufacturer Lexus has gone to extreme lengths to prove that their LC Convertible can perform in all weather extremes, including placing the vehicle in a deep freeze.

The bizarre stunt was performed to demonstrate that the vehicle can be ready to drive for those who might live in some of the colder parts of the globe, though it’s unlikely that too many Lexus customers will be storing their car in an industrial sized freezer overnight.

“Exterior surfaces contract in extremely cold conditions and manufacturers need to ensure their vehicles can withstand this without damage to parts and will still be able to start and get moving,” explained Greg Fleming, senior engineer at the Large Climatic Chamber at Millbrook Proving Ground in Bedfordshire. “With the roof down, the interior components will be in an extremely stressed condition and it will not be a nice place for anyone to be – the hope is that the air conditioning system, the heated seats and steering wheel will still operate as they should.”

The Large Climatic Chamber is capable of reaching sub-zero temperatures as low as minus 60°C, but for the purposes of this experiment was limited to minus 18°C, still cold enough to freeze the rubber tyres. After remaining in deep freeze for 12 hours it was left to professional stunt driver Paul Swift to test the Lexus before it fully thawed out.

Paul said: “I am asked to do a lot of crazy things in my job and this was one of them,” he said. “I wasn’t really nervous about it until I turned up and then I saw the car sitting in the chamber looking through the window and it looked really cold and I thought ‘am I going to have to sit in that?’ Thankfully it was great, I was really impressed.”

The V8 engine fired up straight away, as did the car’s displays and Climate Concierge, warming the interior of the car up, before Paul took the car for a spin on Millbrook’s challenging hill test track.

“I’ve never experienced anything as dramatic as this change from such extreme cold back to normal outdoor temperatures for May in the UK. I didn’t really know what to expect but pressing the start button she started right away. Within three or four minutes the screen was clear and we could continue on to the alpine route,” said Swift.