Toyota FT-1My experience meeting the Toyota FT-1
I was at the 2016 Osaka Auto Messe last week and saw a car that stopped me in my tracks. The lines of this car and the pure aggression left me mesmerized and speechless.
The car that had this effect on me you ask? The Toyota FT-1 Concept Car.
Imagined by Calty Design Research in the Sony PlayStation Gran Turismo game environment, the FT-1 which stands for ‘Future Toyota” is the ultimate expression of coupe design building upon Toyota’s rich sport coupe heritage going back to the legendary 2000GT, Celica, Supra, MR2 and Scion FR-S.
The thing that really jumped out to me when I first laid eyes on this car was the curved, muscular, expressive body forms that seemed to be wrapped around the wheels. The inlets, ducts and vents throughout the vehicle exist to channel the wind through the vehicle working to thrust the vehicle forward.
The car had many features that made it appear more like a Ferrari than a Toyota. The hood was made of a clear plexiglass enabling passersby to view the beating heart of the FT-1. This has been done on mid engine supercars like Ferraris since the 360 but I don’t think anybody has done it on a front engine car before. It has a retractable rear wing that deploys and tilts to create maximum downforce giving the car amazing handling characteristics. Another very eye catching feature is the wing mirror design, something I have not seen before.
A front engine rear-wheel drive configuration places the cockpit towards the rear axle for optimum weight distribution. This is a characteristic of classic sports car proportions. The wraparound windshield and side glass openings are characteristic of the classic Toyota 2000GT.
The interior of the cockpit is all business that places the driver behind the Formula-1 inspired steering wheel. The minimalist style of the cockpit appears to be void of any distractions that would direct the driver’s attention from the road ahead. The position of the driver’s seat optimizes the driver’s corning vision and sensation of the cabin’s intimacy.
The Toyota FT-1 is a vehicle that like the future-classic Lexus LFA and Lexus LC 500, have a strong impact upon those who experience it. Whereas the impact of the Lexus’ is about precision engineering and performance as characterized by their sharp angles, the language of the FT-1 is that of raw power and aggression characterized by muscular features.
We have seen Toyota take bold steps recently by coming out with ground-breaking vehicles that indicate a new direction in their design language. Fortunately, Toyota has shown us that they are willing to take risks by putting their most popular concepts into production if they are well received in the market place. Just look at the Lexus LF-LC and Lexus LC 500 being released this year. Let us just hope that they will do the same with the Toyota FT-1 with rumours circulating of it being a possible new Supra. If it is priced like previous Supras then I think they will fly out of the showroom – my son and I will be the first in the queue.