Stop the press for the Toyota FT-86 Concept!!!

October 9, 2009 in 086a by banpei

You probably already saw many many many many many (did I already say many?) articles and blog postings about the upcoming Tokyo Motor Show debut of the FT-86 concept by Toyota!
Tokyo Motor Salon debut of the Toyota FT-86 concept
Tokyo Motor Salon debut of the Toyota FT-86 concept

I’m sorry if you think I’m hopping on the bandwagon of reposts, because I’m not! ;)
Basically what I wanted to do is to give an indepth review of this beautiful concept. I’ve seen the pictures (I even uploaded them here!), studied the specs and compared it against the good old AE86!

Compared to the AE86 the FT-86 is 130mm wider (1630 -> 1760), 40mm shorter (4200 -> 4160) and 80mm lower (1340 -> 1260) and its wheelbase grew by 140mm (2400 -> 2540). Basically it roughly remains the same size as the AE86, only became a bit wider and the wheelbase increased a bit. This is a very good thing for the handling, so I won’t complain about that! ;)

The Subaru engine is a boxer, so it sits much lower than the inline fours by Toyota. Lower center of gravity is always better, so another big plus for the handling!

Toyota FT-86 concept with 6 speed gearbox and drift button!
Toyota FT-86 concept with 6 speed gearbox and drift button!

The first thing I spotted was this button next to the six speed shifter. Most traction control buttons either have writings on them (DTC, TC, TCS, etcetera) or a symbol of two small skidmarks next to each other. Apparently Toyota decided to give that button a little redesign and chose for the wide skid sign here. Nice little detail pointing to the AE86 heritage?

I tried to sharpen the button a bit with Photoshop, but its text is still unreadable! What do you think it says? First character looks like a T and the last one like a D… TRD?!? Nah, that can’t be! :D

Another thing nice touch is the design of the dashboard:
Toyota FT-86 concept AE86 styled dashboard
Toyota FT-86 concept AE86 styled dashboard

Toyota FT-86 concept AE86 styled dashboard
Toyota FT-86 concept AE86 styled dashboard

As you can see, the design slightly follows the AE86 design: a gauge cluster, sunken deep into a big surrounding with rounded button/consoles at the end of both sides. Too bad they put the light- and wiper switches on the steering column instead of at the cluster itself.

The dash vents on top of the gauge cluster remind me a bit of the AE86 dash vents, however since they got a matching pair at the bottom of the cluster it doesn’t look too much like the AE86 cluster anymore.

Also the steering wheel makes me think of the 3 spoke design used in the GT versions of the AE86.

Toyota FT-86 concept door card design
Toyota FT-86 concept door card design

The design of the door cards is also slightly designed after the AE86.

Toyota FT-86 concept zipper details
Toyota FT-86 concept zipper details

Another lovely dashboard detail next to the gauge cluster: zipper operated dash vents and DVD slot! I have no idea what the zipper on the dash vents would do (increase/decrease airflow?) but I can imagine what the DVD zipper is used for. Makes a very nice subtle detail!

I found another weird thing here:
Toyota FT-86 concept extra pedal?
Toyota FT-86 concept extra pedal?

What is that extra pedal for? I know a lot of older Toyota cars have a foot operated parking brake (the Cressida X7 series and the Prius for instance), but the FT-86 concept already has a handbrake lever next to the gearshifter. So what is this one for then? To double heel-to-toe when conquering the corners of Ebisu?
Edit: All cleared up! It is a footrest! See also here!

All in all the FT-86 doesn’t really follow much the design of the good old AE86, just some tiny little details are pointing to the AE86. I’m quite glad Toyota didn’t walk the retro-look-road like most car manufacturers did in the past few years. Why? Very simple: the car will always be compared to the original and will never stand a chance against its predecessor. Most purists and die hards will say the original was better anyway…

Picture gallery of the FT-86:
Tokyo Motor Show Toyota FT-86 concept

Other articles about the FT-86:
HR Blog
JNC blog
Nikkei Trendy
86ers.og
Impulse
Yahoo news
And the list just keeps on growing! :D