This isn’t the Toyota we’ve known for the past few years.
For almost 15 years, Toyota has had trouble when it comes to adding some sport, enthusiasm, and fun in their lineup. Instead of the Supra, Celica, and MR2 that made the company exciting, they became known for their robust, appliance-like reliability and driving quality. The past few years, however, the Japanese automaker has been trying to inject some testosterone into its lineup with cars like the FR-S, LFA, IS-F, and others. The Toyota FT-1 Concept unveiled at the North American International Auto Show in January was the next step, but now they have a more sophisticated version dressed in Graphite with an all-new saddle leather interior.
The sculpted exterior with its muscular, curved lines and athletic proportions builds upon the sporty foundation laid by the 2000GT, Celica, Supra, and MR2. Instead of the bold, sporty red that the Toyota FT-1 originally debuted in, the company shifted their focus to a more cultured and cosmopolitan graphite grey. This color was developed by Calty Design Research in Newport Beach and made its global debut at Gordon McCall’s Motorworks Revival gala on the Monterey Peninsula.
But the biggest changes occurred inside the Toyota FT-1. The second concept sports a more premium feel dominated by a new natural leather that was inspired by the costumes worn by today’s superheros. Instead of the cold, driver-oriented sporty black leather cabin with red trim shown on the first FT-1 concept, the second boasts an all-natural brown leather grain with blended brown edges.
“From the start of the FT-1 project, we wanted the driver to have a feeling of flow while at the wheel – to be able to focus on the road and nothing else,” said Sellene Lee, the Calty creative designer who proposed both color concepts. “In the color studio we help create the atmosphere of the vehicle, and our aim was to ensure everything supported the driver through efficient choices. The saddle leather maintains that same ‘in the zone’ driving intention, while bringing in a more premium feeling.”
The design team compared different leathers, their thickness, and grains before they settled on the perfect combination to provide that sophisticated, premium feel inside. Raised metal mesh gives both seats optimized ventilation and complements the metal accents found throughout the cabin. A new embossed three-dimensional pattern on the instrument panel further adds to the more modern, confident interior design. Even the edges of the seats were painted brown instead of using traditional stitching or piping to create a high-end feel.
“From color and trim standpoint in the FT-1, there was a laser-like focus on staying true to function,” said Wendy Lee, studio chief designer at Calty. “This project was very special, as the FT-1 standsapart in its performance-driven, authentic purpose.”
As an added bonus, two new versions of the Toyota FT-1 Concept will be available for download in Gran Turismo 6 for a limited time. The graphite FT-1 Concept will be available alongside a special high-performance race version of the FT-1 designed by Calty dubbed the FT-1 “Vision GT” to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the Gran Turismo series.
Graphite Toyota FT-1 Concept Gallery