BBC Autos

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Toyota FT-1 gets a stunning new coat

About the author

Deputy editor of BBC Autos, Jonathan was formerly the editor of The New York Times' Wheels blog. His automotive writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times Magazine, Details, Surface, Intersection and Design Observer. He has an affinity for the Citroën DS and Toyota pickup trucks of the early 1990s.

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Never mind that no one beyond Toyota’s inner circle has driven it. In the eight months since the FT-1 concept debuted at the 2014 Detroit auto show, the most radical Toyota design in years has assumed dream-car status – and it just got a whole lot dreamier.

Shedding its original boy-racer red for a bracing, glossy graphite, the second FT-1 concept bowed on 13 August at the McCall’s Motorworks Revival gala, a pre-party of sorts for the collector-car events centred on northern California’s Monterey peninsula. The weekend culminates on 17 August with the Pebble Beach Concours d’Élégance, where multimillion-dollar prewar machines preen on the 18th green. Toyota has done what it can to suggest the glory days of the automobile still lay ahead.

Like the Detroit show car, this second FT-1 came together at the Japanese carmaker’s advanced design studios in southern California. Toyota’s recent styling mojo can be traced directly to the facility, overseen by Kevin Hunter and his band of merry aesthetes, many of them graduates of the nearby Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. Preceding the FT-1 out of the studio was the Lexus LF-Lc, a sinuous vision for a premium sports car that also debuted at Detroit, back in 2012.

Inside the graphite FT-1 are luxury appointments befitting a grand tourer, including tan saddle leather upholstery, metal mesh and carbon fibre trim details, and taut buttresses of aluminium outlining the driver’s cockpit. Such a laundry list may seem to add up to Ferrari, but the execution owes more to Tony Stark.

While Toyota is still mum about the FT-1’s production prospects, gamers can give the concept a shakedown in the Gran Turismo 6 racing simulator. And as TopGear.com notes, a race-ready FT-1 is also in the virtual paddock, under the name – surprise – Vision Gran Turismo.

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