2014 Pebble Beach car show: Toyota shows off tweaked FT-1 concept

In a move that will fuel intense speculation about a future sports car from Toyota, the automaker debuted a second version of its FT-1 concept Wednesday night in Monterey.

The two-seat coupe’s eye-catching design didn’t change from the brilliant red model that debuted at the Detroit Auto Show in January. This time around, however, Toyota aimed for a more sophisticated palette to match the well-heeled car fans that are in town for Monterey car week.

The automaker coated this latest FT-1 in graphite gray paint on the outside and lined the cabin with natural-grain leather.


“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, a creative designer at Toyota’s Newport Beach Calty design studio.

“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,” Lee said.

Few other details about the concept have been confirmed. Toyota is mum on whether the car will reach production, though the automaker is keen to link the FT-1’s ethos with its previous production sports cars like the 2000GT, Celica, Supra and MR2 and Scion’s FR-S.

It’s also telling that Toyota would show the same concept to two disparate but important groups of sports car buyers. Detroit was aimed at the hard-core enthusiasts, while the Monterey debut is geared toward the wealthier clientele who would pay more for a premium version.

Toyota is also targeting the video-gamers of the world by introducing two additional models of the FT-1 for download in the Sony PlayStation game “Gran Turismo 6” in September. The gray model and a track-only digital model will join the red version that’s been available for download since January.

There’s also no word on what a production version of the FT-1 might cost, though Toyota has indicated that since it’s an affordable brand, the sports car’s price would be within reason, possibly around the $60,000 mark. Toyota’s luxury arm Lexus has been touting a two-door coupe concept called the LF-LC that could be the upscale iteration of the FT-1.

The graphite gray FT-1 debuted Wednesday at the Gordon McCall Motorworks Revival gala, a ticketed event that serves as the unofficial kickoff of Monterey’s car week, which is highlighted each year by the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance car show on Sunday.