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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Real Toyota Car Originally Designed For A Video Game

Yet another instance of life imitating art as Toyota Motor Corporation's FT-1 Concept sports coup was actually designed for the Sony Play Station Gran Turismo driving game.

Designed initially for the PlayStation system by Calty Design Research Inc. for use in the video game, the FT-1 made its debut this week at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, USA.

Calty is a Toyota design studio established in 1973 with two facilities: one in Newport Beach, California, and another in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

The Calty folks primarily focus on exterior styling, providing advanced design, production color and wheel design concepts for Toyota's product development operations.

According to its designers at California facility, the FT-1 Concept builds on Toyota’s sports coupe heritage dating back to the 2000GT, Celica, Supra, MR2, and most recently the Scion FR-S. In addition, the concept draws inspiration from Calty’s more recent sports car concept work on the FT-HS and the Lexus LF-LC.

"The FT-1 is a dream-project for a designer and car enthusiast like myself," says Calthy chief designer Alex Shen. "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."

Shock and awe? Maybe folks in Baghdad will not want to go anywhere near this car.

The goal of this ideological shift is to develop future generations of products that better connect emotionally with Toyota’s global consumer base. (But maybe not in the Republic of Iraq, if Shen's comments are to be taken literally.)

Traditionally, Toyota’s design decisions have been driven by consensus among a large group of stakeholders.

Under Toyoda Akio, president and chief executive officer of Toyota, he wants to invigorate Toyota products with waku-doki (translation: a palpable heart-pounding sense of excitement), which means that the approval process has been streamlined to produce cars that generate a more satisfying ownership experience.

And that's the direction the folks at Calthy have taken to a pulse-pounding next step with 'function-sculpting' design that provides a curved, muscular, expressive body forms seemingly shaped by the wind.

Geez... if I was a woman, I would now be horny.

Calthy continues. noting that the inlets, ducting and vent features of the exterior design reinforce the Toyota FT-1's track–ready nature with elements of purposeful airflow management.

At higher speeds a retractable rear wing deploys and tilts forward to create additional downforce.

The front engine, rear-wheel drive configuration moves the cockpit far rearward within the wheelbase to improve weight distribution and create classic sports car proportions. The wraparound windshield and side glass openings are a distinct nod to the design of the legendary Toyota 2000GT.

The interior features an F-1 inspired steering-wheel in a low-slung cockpit with A-pillars set far back
to optimize cornering vision and the cabin’s intimacy.

A delta-shaped display zone surrounds the driver, focusing on light-weight components such as composite seats covered with just the right amount of padding in only the areas that come into contact with the driver. A heads-up color display keeps the driver’s attention on the road ahead, with vital information projected just above the steering wheel within the driver’s line of sight.

It's all very exciting and sexually stimulating if you are a gearhead - but how much does it cost?

The question is moot. It's a concept car and it's a one-off... though it is possible that you will see some of the technological elements make its way into Toyota's cars in the future. Or at the very least in the next generation of PlayStation's Grand Turismo video game series.

Okay, okay... while all admit that the FT-1 is a car designed as an exercise, the Calty group was instructed that it should have a real-world pricetag of between US$50-60,000... which seems like a great price considering the cars good looks.

But... considering I enjoy speed, how fast is the car... how big is the engine... how much torque and horsepower? Blah-blah-blah. 

Well... we have no idea... and neither does Calty or Toyota... that engine contained within the FT-1 Concept is a prop. It's not real.


For your amusement, here's a list of the other cars that Calty has helped design the exterior for:
Cheers,
Andrew Joseph
Photo of the Toyota FT-One by Alexandra Straub of www.Driving.ca

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