The Cars That Money Can’t Buy – Toyota FT-1

Sun 23rd Jun 2019

Sometimes your wallet won’t stretch to purchasing your dream motor. But don’t worry too much, there are some cars that even the biggest bank balances can’t buy, the dream cars that will forever remain a dream. These are the concept cars that never go into production.

Toyota FT-1
Launched at the North American International Motor Show in 2014, the FT-1 is best summed up with its name FT standing for Future Toyota and the 1 meaning the ultimate one, which for a company that has a long history of producing breathtaking concepts, is perhaps a title a little hard to live up to.

But taking one look at the FT-1 and it is clear that Toyota’s designers had created a sports car to be envied, one which had drawn on the very best of their line-up including the 2000GT, the Supra, MR-2 and the FT-HS concept. There was much speculation that Toyota might have been using the FT-1 as the basis of a Supra relaunch, and though that rumour was neither confirmed or denied, Toyota’s executives were as bold as to suggest that if we ever did see the FT-1 go into production it could expect a price-tag of $60,000, which with those awesome looks might have been a bargain. Alex Shen, the studio chief designer was quoted saying, "It's a Toyota, it ought to be affordable."

So whilst this may be a car that can’t be bought, you can imagine the excitement if it ever did leave the factory floor, here was a sports car that some of the stylings of the McLaren P1 super car, some of the performance, but little of the cost.

Toyota executives labelled the FT-1 as the ‘spiritual pace car’ for future designers to take their inspiration, and with notes of both Supra and Celica, there will be plenty to borrow from.

Back in 2014 we got to see a brief idea of what that future might look like, with a high output petrol engine, a delta-shaped display zone in the cockpit that puts the drivers at the heart of the action, a Formula 1-style steering wheel and leather bucket seats complete what is a melt-in-the-mouth tribute to what may be achievable by Toyota’s design team.
Six years down from that launch and the FT-1 has proved to be the ultimate inspiration for a proposed 2020 relaunch of the Supra, it won’t be as big, bold and brashy as the FT-1, but it will have many similarities, said Kevin Hunter, president of Calty Design Research, the team who initially set the wheels of the project in motion. He said: "If you look at the FT-1 concept car, it's a pretty big car, actually, and we purposely blew it up to be a true exotic," he said. "The reality of the [Supra's] packaging is, it's actually a very good, nice, proper package for a sports car, for a high-performance sports car. So we had to figure out how to capture all the essence of FT-1 but get it down into the compact packaging of the actual engineering condition."