Toyota have a rather impressive stand at this years Detroit Motor Show and one car is arguably stealing the show, the Toyota FT-1 Concept. FT-1 stands for “Future Toyota,” and the number “1” represents the ultimate, Toyota’s words not ours! According to its designers at Calty Design Research, the FT-1 Concept is the defining expression of a Toyota coupe design, building upon Toyota’s rich sports coupe heritage dating back to the 2000GT, Celica, Supra, MR2 and most recently Scion FR-S/GT 86, all fantastic cars in their own right.
“Function-sculpting” design language have resulted in a curved, muscular and expressive body the clearly seems to have been shaped to be as fluid and flowing as possible. Inlets, ducts, and vents are features of the exterior design that help reinforce its race–ready nature with elements of purposeful airflow management designed to keep the car at its optimum temprature. At higher speeds a retractable rear wing deploys and tilts generating yet more downforce and helping to keep the car planted.
The result of the radical design mean that the FT-1 is not only a very dynamic shape but one that is a feast for the eye, a real stunner that commands attention and further inspection. Alex Shen, Calty’s Studio Chief Designer echoed this when saying, “Our team was heavily influenced by Toyota’s sports car past, especially Celica and Supra, and we sought to capture some of that history. It is an aggressive, track-focused sports car concept with a presence that has been amplified for shock and awe.”
The front engine rear-wheel drive configuration locates the cockpit far rearward within the wheelbase to improve weight distribution whilst adding to the visual drama. The cockpit’s wraparound windshield and side glass openings are a distinct design element that instantly remind us of the Toyota 2000GT.
Toyota describe the FT-1’s interior as a “place of business”, a focused minimalist cockpit that is centered around a F1 inspired steering-wheel. A “delta-shaped display zone” surrounds and integrates the driver to provide an exhilarating sense of being connected to the vehicle, something that is rare to find in today’s age where cars are littered with switches like the cockpit of a commercial airliner!
As with the majority of concepts there are no hints as to the performance of the car, assume that the FT-1 represents an ideally balanced front-engine, rear wheel-drive layout that is likely to be linked to a small but potent internal combustion engine. Beneath a transparent glass hood, an ambiguous engine cover hides a powerplant left to the imagination of the onlooker.