Tuesday March 2, 2010 00:46

Why the FT-86 concept is so impressive in person (live from Geneva)

As some of you know, I am here at the 2010 Geneva show and was lucky enough to be able to spend some “alone” time (with hardly a member of the press or the public around) around the Toyota FT-86 concept. After some reflection, I can honestly say that this car has impressed me more in person than I had imagined it could. After viewing what seems like hundreds of photos of the two FT-86 concept cars that have appeared at the recent Tokyo Auto Show and Tokyo Motor Salon, from every angle imaginable, as well as tons of racing video and stills from the Gran Turismo 5 clips featuring the FT-86, I didn’t think I could possibly get this excited just by seeing the car in the flesh. But I did. And that’s what emotional and focused designs like the FT-86 does — it stirs some excitement inside you every time you look at it.

I further tried to summarize in THIS THREAD (copied below) why I think the FT-86 concept has been such a hit with all of us:

The Toyota FT-86 concept will impress you even if you’ve been here obsessing for the last few months and seen each image of the car 100 times. And I guarantee that whatever show you see it at, it will draw some of the biggest crowds of any car at the show. I’ve already seen it happening here, and the public hasn’t even been let in yet! Since I spent quite some time at the display I can tell you that I saw many many people just stop in their tracks when this thing comes into their view… I know I did when I first spotted it.

I can see why — it’s an eye catching butt-monkey red (wouldn’t you hesitate if you saw something the color of a baboon’s behind ), but beyond that it’s something fresh and unique in today’s automotive landscape. No large mainstream manufacturer is building small and lightweight sports cars currently, much less one with this stunning a design. Even here at a European auto show where there are proportionally more compact cars (Citroen, Fiat, etc.) than at an American auto show, none have the pure sports car look and design philosophy as the Ft-86. The European-only sporty compact cars tend to be in more utilitarian forms, such as hatchbacks and shooting break designs. So the FT-86 concept stands out here in a crowd of ever-larger sedans and “sports” coupes, bland “green” cars, and utilitarian compact cars.