Toyota FT-1 concept (2014) first official picturesMon, 13 Jan 2014 00:00:00 -0800
By Ollie Kew
First Official Pictures
13 January 2014 15:00
Toyota has stunned the 2014 Detroit motor show with this rakish racecar for the road. Called FT-1, it hints at a new flagship coupe model to sit above the much-loved GT86 in the current Toyota line-up. It’s now eleven years since the Toyota Supra went out of production: long enough for a reboot, we think.
First off, the name. ‘FT’ is code for ‘Future Toyota’: it’s a naming strategy that we saw applied to the FT-86 concepts, which eventually morphed into the GT-86 road car. CAR revealed in 2013 that a potential benefit of Toyota’s partnership with BMW is a new rear-drive sports car – could we be looking at clues to a new Supra?
The FT-1 is the work of Toyota’s California-based design team, ‘Calty’. The studio, which celebrates its 40th birthday in 2014, claims that the main inspiration for the FT-1 is the classic Toyota 2000GT of the 1960s. Details such as the wraparound windscreen and side window shapes are supposed to hint to the 2000GT, of which just 337 were produced between 1967 and 1970.
Racing-derived aerodynamics feature all over the FT-1’s stunning body. The striking nose looks like the front of a Panoz endurance car, while the retractable rear wing and air vents echo the lines of the Toyota-developed Lexus LFA supercar.
Interestingly, the press material for the FT-1 hints the design is supposed to be a deliberately divisive one. Insiders admit: ‘Traditionally, Toyota’s design decisions have been driven by consensus among a large group of people; as part of a company movement to give Toyota products more energy and passion, the process has been streamlined’.
Essentially, the Japanese marque knows it’s seen as rather dull and dumpy among its fresher Korean opposition, and wants to change your perceptions. No more styling by committee, and roll on some Toyotas with sex appeal!
Spec-wise, Toyota is keeping us in the dark about the FT-1, save for the fact it’s a front-engined, rear-drive machine with F1-style ergonomics in the as-yet unseen cockpit. Sure, it’s a tease, but at least there’s no confirmation that they’ve sullied the FT-1 with a Prius-style hybrid drivetrain…
By Ollie Kew