You won’t find the McLaren F1 in the showroom of your local car dealership. Unlike the mass-produced vehicles—your Fords, Hondas, and Toyotas—that dominate the roads today, it didn’t roll of an assembly line, just one of a million others like it, with interchangeable parts and snap-together technology.
Chances are, you’ve never even seen an F1. Forgivable, considering only 64 of the standard street version were produced by the iconic British manufacturer between 1992 and 1998, each taking around three and a half months to build. Powered by a 6.0-liter, 627-horsepower V-12 BMW engine that could accelerate from 0–60 in a 3.2 second blink, the two-door coupe set the record for the world’s-fastest production car when it hit 243 mph on a closed course in 1998, a mark of excellence only superseded by a handful of elite machines since.
It’s no wonder the F1 commands millions of dollars on the secondary market, if you’re lucky enough to find one for sale. (Or you can try to get your hands on its successor, the P1, but good luck—McLaren plans to make only 375, which are all already promised to new owners at about $1.2 million each.)
All in all, it’s a reminder that despite the technological advancements that have transformed manufacturing, from cars to appliances to nearly every other product that dominates our daily lives, often nothing mass-produced can match the intricate, superior quality of handcrafted excellence.
So it goes with automobiles, perhaps it goes for humans, too. Because, about the same time McLaren’s expert team of craftsmen and engineers were assembling the F1 in Surrey, England, not all that far away in Swansea, Wales, a certain young bodybuilding phenom was meticulously crafting a high-performance vehicle of his own.
With nothing more than the simple tools of the trade—dumbbells, barbells, and a small selection of machines—James “Flex” Lewis set about engineering a physique like few had ever seen before. First setting foot in the gym at age 15, he started as a powerlifter, relying on the squat, deadlift, bench press, and ancillary moves to create a foundation of strength.
Spurred on by images of the legendary Tom Platz—he of the world-renowned leg development—Lewis would eventually construct a blueprint for a classic set of wheels. From front to back and side to side, Lewis’ legs have set a new standard for excellence, fueling his rise from 2007 British Championships overall champion to his current run as king of the IFBB’s ultra-competitive 212-pound class.
Now, the two-time defending Olympia 212 Showdown champ and inaugural 2014 Arnold Classic 212 winner has a new goal in his sights: the open division, which he plans to roll into in 2016. “My goal is to be a legitimate giant killer onstage,” he says.
A key part of his success will rely on that already formidable lower body. Today, Lewis does something no one at McLaren would dream of: He’s going to share the blueprint. What exercises, tools, and techniques are paramount to manufacturing your own complete lower body, from glutes, quadriceps, and hamstrings down to the calves? Let the following six steps shift your development into gear.
Click NEXT PAGE to see Flex Lewis' first step for detailed wheels! >>