At least one of the concept cars now appearing at the 2014 North American International Auto Show may look familiar to fans of the "Gran Turismo" video game. Toyota has transported the FT-1 sports coupe concept from the Sony PlayStation game console to the show floor in Detroit — only this one can't be driven with a controller.
The FT-1 (FT stands for Future Toyota) was conceived for "Gran Turismo" by Calty Design Research with the goal of eliciting track-tastic "shock and awe." "Our team was heavily influenced by Toyota's sports car past, especially Celica and Supra, and we sought to capture some of that history," said Alex Shen, chief designer, in a statement. A curved, muscular body features inlets, dramatic fenders, ducting and vents that are intended to drive home its racing influence and provide practical aerodynamic function. At higher speeds, a retractable rear wing deploys and tilts forward for additional downforce, according to the automaker. The rearward-situated cockpit's wraparound windshield and side glass openings are the designers' nod to the Toyota 2000GT.
Inside is a low-slung cockpit with set-back A-pillars to improve visibility. Minimalist appointments help keep weight low, such as padding only at key contact points, while a color head-up display keeps drivers informed without having to avert their eyes from the road (or track). Although the concept car brings the video-game version into the third dimension, its capabilities remain a work of fantasy: No technical specifications accompany the FT-1 beyond it being rear-wheel drive and powered by a "high-technology, high performance internal combustion engine."