Toyota Previews Sporty S-FR, Steampunk Dune Buggy Before Tokyo Motor Show

Mark Stevenson
by Mark Stevenson
toyota previews sporty s fr steampunk dune buggy before tokyo motor show

Toyota on Thursday released a preview of what to expect on its stand at the Tokyo Motor Show later this month and it’s all sorts of steampunk and futuristic weirdness, but more on that in a moment.

While the Scion FR-S isn’t flying off dealer lots here in North America, the Japanese seem to like their compact sports coupes. The S-FR, according to Toyota is ” a lightweight, sporty concept offering a fun, responsive driving experience” and slots below the Toyobaru twins and go head-to-head with the Honda S660 kei sports that America won’t get because of course we won’t.

According to Toyota, the S-FR Concept will have a front-engine, rear-drive layout, six-speed manual transmission and four-wheel independent suspension with an aim of helping “a whole new generation fall in love with driving.” The automaker also stated the S-FR will seat four — possibly very kei-sized — people.

Joining the S-FR will be Toyota’s latest fuel cell concept, the FCV Plus, which Toyota says “will take on a new role as power sources within their communities.”

(OK. How about we get past making fuel cell vehicles viable as transportation first, then tackle all that pie in the sky stuff after? Thanks.)

However, the FCV Plus does have one major thing going for it. The transparent, wraparound greenhouse is something many of us would love to see as an antidote to ever-growing vehicle beltlines.

Last but not least, the Toyota Kikai will be on display with an aim to “emphasize the fundamental appeal of machines” by exposing many of the mechanical moving parts that make a car work, said the automaker.

It looks like something straight out of “Borderlands” — and I absolutely love it. Toyota, please be weird more often if this is the product of that weirdness.

A central driving position with room for two additional people — one on each side — and analog-style gauges mean you can keep your eyes on the road and the car’s vitals while your two passengers can man the inevitably optional mounted steampunk blunderbusses.

The Tokyo Motor Show begins Oct. 28.

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2 of 16 comments
  • PalestinianChicken PalestinianChicken on Oct 08, 2015

    I was trying to think what the Kikai reminded me of, and it really feels similar to an Ariel Atom: strip away all but the essentials. I wonder how it'll do around a track? In anycase, would much rather buy a Kikai or a S600 than any of those SmartCars.

  • Varezhka Varezhka on Oct 08, 2015

    That S-FR reminds me of the old Toyota Sports 800 in a good way, though the grille can be a little smaller. Didn't really believe it when it was first reported about a year ago in a Japanese car magazine, and am quite glad to see it to be real. Now I wonder if the same rumor of 1.2l turbo powering it will be true as well.

  • Dukeisduke I saw a well-preserved Mark VII LSC on the road not too long ago, and I had to do a double-take. They still have a presence. Back when these were new, a cousin of mine owned an LSC with the BMW turbo diesel.
  • Dukeisduke I imagine that stud was added during the design process for something, and someone further along the process forgot to delete it after it became unnecessary.
  • Analoggrotto Knew about it all along but only now did the risk analysis tilt against leaving it there.
  • Mike Beranek Funny story about the '80 T-bird. My old man's Dart Sport had given up the ghost so he was car-shopping. He & I dropped my mom at a store and then went to the Ford dealer, where we test-drove the new T-Bird (with digital dash!)So we pull up to the store to pick mom up. She walks out and dad says "We just bought it.". Mom stares at the Mulroney- almost 13 grand- and just about fell over.Dad had not in fact bought the T-Bird, instead he got a Cordoba for only 9 grand.
  • EngineerfromBaja_1990 I'd love a well preserved Mark VII LSC with the HO 5.0 for a weekend cruiser. Its design aged better than both the VI and VIII. Although I'd gladly take the latter as well (quad cam V8 and wrap around interior FTW)