Toyota once again proves that the auto industry is pure art through the Setsuna concept car, which challenges the notion that cars have to be purely industrial products loaded with the latest technology.
Wood was the material used to shape this sports convertible as a way of expressing the idea that love grows with the passage of time. The color and feel of the wood change as it is cared for and thus responds directly to the care with which it is treated.
Despite being a prototype, the Setsuna offers basic vehicle operation and can ride, turn and brake like a conventional vehicle. To achieve this, Toyota selected different types of wood for each specific application, including one specially selected for use in components.
“When we created the Setsuna, we envisioned a family giving it their affection for generations, so that the vehicle would acquire an irreplaceable value. It can be developed continuously with the bonds that are created between the vehicle and the family, like the rings that are growing in a tree. To develop it using the character of wood, we spoke directly with experts in a wide variety of fields, from carpenters specializing in temple and shrine construction to ship carpenters, ”said Kenji Tsuji, engineer responsible for the development of Setsuna Concept.
“With the use of wood as the main material, we invested a lot of time and passion in the vehicle itself with our colleagues, creating a prototype and evaluating it so that the result offered a basic operation in terms of touch and driving comfort. ”Added the engineer.
For the exterior panels, Japanese cedar was chosen, for the liveliness and refinement of its grain and its flexibility as a material, for the frame, Japanese birch was selected for its great rigidity, for the floor, Japanese zelkova was chosen, taking into account its resistance and excellent durability, and for the seats, japan fatsia, for its soft texture.
Its body is made up of 86 handmade panels. Considerable time was taken to think about the design and creation of each panel from the ground up, and each of those panels will develop and change differently as the vehicle ages. In the long run, when repairs need to be made, individual panels can be replaced rather than having to replace the entire body. Looking at a panel that has been repaired, owners will be able to see the trace of the work that has been done by hand, and think about the memories that have been passed down.
As the pieces of wood change over time, the body line takes on a steeper and more beautiful curve, like a ship. When viewed head-on, the heptagonal shape can be seen, and when viewed from the sides or from above, the shape can be interpreted as elliptical.