It is probably one of the most distinctive concept cars to debut from Toyota. It is called Setsuna – an electric-powered two-seat roadster crafted almost entirely from wood!
Giving a new meaning to the word “crafted” the Setsuna has been assembled using traditional Japanese carpentry techniques that do not involve nails or screws. “In that sense, the Toyota Setsuna is more of a work of art and artisanship than it is a car” feels an enthusiast.
Indeed, as a work of art, Toyota considers Setsuna as something an owner would want to pass down to the kids — not as a beater first car, but as a family heirloom. “As a family accrues time and experiences together with their car, lovingly caring for it and passing it on to the next generation, that car will acquire a new type of value that only the members of that family can appreciate,” the automaker states.
Toyota’s engineer Kenji Tsuji oversaw the development of the Setsuna, “When we created the Setsuna, we envisaged a family pouring its love into it over generations so that the car gains an irreplaceable value,” said Tsuji.
Measuring 3,030mm long, 1,480mm wide and 970mm tall, the Setsuna’s 86 body panels are made from Japanese cedar, chosen for its grain and flexibility. These are fixed to the car’s chassis, made from Japanese birch, using traditional Japanese ‘okuriari’ and ‘kusabi’ joints that are very strong yet don’t require nails, allowing body panels to be replaced.
Reinforcing the ‘car as heirloom’ theme is the fact that the car’s door mirrors, seats, steering wheel and the banding lines on the bodywork are all hand-lacquered, allowing the material’s colour to change with age. The car also includes a clock that counts the passing years, providing an accurate record of how long the Setsuna has been kept in the family.
Even though it is a concept car, the Setsuna offers basic vehicular performance and is able to drive, turn and stop. Setsuna has comfortable seats that give the impression of being able to kindly welcome and embrace anybody, like a wooden park bench. The castor aralia timber of the seats has been lacquered and the parts that come into most contact with the body have been covered over with leather. The character and depth of the wood, lacquer, and leather in these two seats all evolve with time to gently embrace each member of a family.
The Setsuna uses aluminium to bring out contrast in parts such as the wheel caps, the steering wheel, and the seat frames. This creates a beautiful contrast that is also in harmony with the Setsuna’s wooden parts.As the wooden materials slowly bend over time, the bodyline takes on a more pronounced, beautiful curve, like a boat. When viewed from the front, a heptagonal shape can be seen, and when viewed from the sides or from above, the form can be interpreted as elliptical. With the car’s boat-like exterior, one might envision a family setting out on a trip to the ocean.The Setsuna can actually be driven. However, it cannot be driven on public roads like a normal car. Though this is a concept car, we hope to communicate the joy one might find in driving it. Therefore, we truly hope that a day will come when all of you can have the experience of test-driving this vehicle.
A unique concept, Toyota Setsuna has captured everyone’s fancy and its distinctively unique photographs are going viral on social mediaaround the world.