Toyota puts engineering on show in Kikai concept for Tokyo

Toyota's quirky Tokyo concept 'makes the car’s mechanical parts something to be seen and admired'

At a time when so many manufacturers hide their technology behind layers of plastic and numerous display screens, or eschew internal combustion altogether, there’s something hugely gratifying about a car that puts its components on show.

It’s why we love the sight of an F1 car denuded of its bodywork, and why the sight of an Ariel Atom’s suspension components – and indeed its hard-working driver – is such a spectacle through its tubular frame.

Toyota isn’t the first company you’d expect to create a car whose mechanicals on show – its mainstream products are better-known for isolating you from the action – but the Kikai concept Toyota has unveiled in Tokyo is quite different.

It’s what you might call ‘mechanically beautiful’. Unconventional looks are just a sideshow to its architectural suspension structures, bare frame, exposed mid-engine and polished exhaust system.

The end result comprises elements of several automotive genres, from beach buggies, to hot rods, to the unusual, low-volume bubble cars of the 1950s and 1960s.

The interior too is bizarre, with a McLaren F1-style one-plus-two seating layout, small windows in the front bulkhead through which the wheels and steering components can be viewed, and an array of large, circular instruments similar to those you might see in a vintage aeroplane.

Fuel level is indicated by what appears to be an actual fluid level, while the steering wheel is thin-rimmed in a way unseen (Morgan 3-Wheeler aside) since the 1970s. Look over the aviation-style dials and the liquorice-rimmed wheel and you’ll see the suspension’s upper control arms moving up and down.

Toyota hasn’t released many details of the concept, but does say that Kikai ‘makes the car’s mechanical parts something to be seen and admired, rather than concealing them from view’.

That makes the car’s inner workings part of the exterior – rather than using the exterior to hide them.

Even if a small, pod-like car isn’t itself a particularly evo concept, we’d certainly get behind ideas that make the car’s inner workings something to admire. It joins several other unique concepts on Toyota’s Tokyo stand – including the Mazda MX-5-rivalling S-FR sports car concept.

Head to our Tokyo motor show hub page for more launches from Japan’s international motor show.

Recommended

Alpine A4810 Concept – hydrogen-powered supercar design from IED students
Alpine A4810 – front
Alpine

Alpine A4810 Concept – hydrogen-powered supercar design from IED students

Alpine’s concept has been designed by students completing their master’s degrees in transportation design at Turin’s IED
22 Mar 2022
DS E-Tense Performance concept revealed – Formula E-based concept debuts
DS E-Tense Performance – side top
DS

DS E-Tense Performance concept revealed – Formula E-based concept debuts

Premium French brand DS is leveraging its success in Formula E to create the E-Tense Performance concept
7 Feb 2022
Subaru STI E-RA Challenge Project concept reveals FIA E-GT ambitions
Subaru STI E-RA Concept – front quarter
Subaru

Subaru STI E-RA Challenge Project concept reveals FIA E-GT ambitions

Subaru’s ‘near-future’ concept racing car has been designed to FIA E-GT regs
14 Jan 2022
Porsche Vision Gran Turismo concept revealed
Porsche Vision Gran Turismo concept – front quarter
Porsche

Porsche Vision Gran Turismo concept revealed

Porsche’s design team have entered the virtual world with the newest GT Vision concept
6 Dec 2021

Most Popular

McMurtry Spéirling fan car claims Goodwood FoS hillclimb record
McMurtry Spéirling
Electric cars

McMurtry Spéirling fan car claims Goodwood FoS hillclimb record

The McMurtry Spéirling has dethroned the Volkswagen ID R as the fastest car to complete Goodwood hillclimb
26 Jun 2022
BMW M 50th Anniversary special previewed for the first time
BMW M 50th
BMW M4 coupe

BMW M 50th Anniversary special previewed for the first time

Think BMW M’s M3 Touring, M2 and XM were enough to celebrate the big 50? Think again…
27 Jun 2022
2022 BMW M3 Touring revealed – the Audi RS4 rival we've been waiting for is here!
FOS M3 Touring
BMW M3 Touring

2022 BMW M3 Touring revealed – the Audi RS4 rival we've been waiting for is here!

Wagon lovers rejoice, the new BMW M3 Touring is here exclusively in xDrive Competition specification
21 Jun 2022