Toyota used the Concept Lawn of the 2014 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance event to show off the latest iteration of its FT-1 concept car. The sports car concept originally debuted at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit back in January, and has evolved nicely for its Monterey showing.
Designed and developed at Toyota’s Calty Design Research studio in Newport Beach, Calif., Toyota stripped the concept of its original red paint and dipped the car in a deep coat of graphite grey paint. The interior received a similar transformation; with saddle-colored leather replacing the Detroit concept’s black leather hides.
“The intention is to bring in a more sophisticated feel and authenticity through color choice, showcasing the versatility of the FT-1 sports car concept. Enthusiasts who desire a more pure high-performance experience might choose the black-red pairing, while others may desire the premium, athletic feel of the saddle leather,” Toyota announced in a press release.
Inspired by classic Toyota sports cars like the 2000GT and Supra, the FT-1 integrates modern design cues like a retractable rear wing and a hood-mounted transparent window that provides onlookers the chance to peak at the FT-1’s powerful engine. But what exactly powers the FT-1 is still a mystery, as Toyota won’t discuss the FT-1’s drivetrain; however, the long hood and cab rearward design implies that power for the sports car comes courtesy of a decidedly long engine – perhaps an inline-6 like the 2000GT and Supra used?
Inside, the FT-1 features a driver-oriented cockpit with thin sports seats covered in leather, a set of gauges located on the steering wheel rim (just like a Formula 1 car) and a pair of large paddle shifters just aft of the steering wheel. A heads-up display unit ensures that the driver never needs to take his or her eyes off of the road to see vital information like engine RPM, vehicle speed and other data.
For those looking to get behind the wheel of the FT-1, Toyota has teamed up with the makers of the Gran Turismo video game series and developed a virtual model of the sports car that Gran Turismo 6 players can race and drive on their Sony PlayStation3 or 4 gaming system. The company also created a racing-specific version of the FT-1 for the game it calls the “Vision GT.” The company notes that this virtual concept car shows “what a full-race FT-1 might achieve on the track.”
While the FT-1 is still a concept car, rumor has it that the FT-1’s design will serve as inspiration for a future sports car that Toyota is developing with BMW. The new sports car, which may or may not dust off the “Supra” nameplate, is rumored to rely on a hybrid-electric powertrain for propulsion. The resulting car is expected to be quick, fast and environmentally friendly.
Plus, if Toyota manages to make its new sports car look half-as-good as the FT-1 looked as it sat on the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance: Concept Lawn, we think the Japanese automaker will have a huge hit on its hands among car enthusiasts, environmentalists and trendsetters alike.
– Gregory S. Fink