A quirky Japanese engineer at Toyota by the name of Kenji Tsuji has decided to go against the grain (pardon the pun) with a new two-seater roadster concept car called the Setsuna, designed and built for the upcoming Milano Design Week – a fashion event which showcases the world’s luxury brands, exclusive design trends and luxury culture. You won’t find any exotic materials such as carbon fibre or titanium here, just wood. Lots and lots of wood.
Tsuji selected different types of wood for specific parts of the car based on their properties. For example, the body panels (or exterior cladding, I guess) is built from Japanese Cedar because of the refinement of its grain and flexibility, while the chassis is made from Birch, which is far more rigid. Japanese Zelkova is used on the floor because it is strong and durable, while Smooth Castor Aralia is used for the seats. It isn’t all wood though, as the Setsuna does feature some aluminium accents on the wheel steering wheel, seat frames and wheel caps.
The Setsuna’s body is made up of 86 individual handmade panels and bonded using the traditional “okuriari” Japanese joinery technique, which means there’s no ugly nails or screws visible. The different timbers have also been treated so that their colouration changes over time – something which Toyota believes will add character to the car.
Toyota haven’t released any details about the electric motor which powers the Setsuna, but considering it is designed primarily as a piece of automotive art, does it really matter?