While the Yotahachi-inspired S-FR Concept is getting all the attention, Toyota is actually bringing several other concepts to the Tokyo Motor Show at the end of the month, two of them with throwback styling.
The first is the Toyota Kikai, which means “machinery” in Japanese. Toyota says, “As the products of human creativity, dedication, and knowledge, machines should be objects of admiration. The concept was designed to explore and emphasize the fundamental appeal of machines: their fine craftsmanship, their beauty, simplicity, and their fascinating motion.”
The Kikai takes all the stuff that’s usually hidden under body panels and exposes it. By doing so, it forced designers to make suspension components, the engine, and exhaust system works of art.
There are even windows in the footwells so you can see the front suspension and steering components articulate.
The result is a rear-engined hot-rod that looks like it sprang from the frames of a Miyazaki anime. Rather than reference a specific model from Toyota’s past, like the S-FR did with the Sports 800, it harkens back to the days when cars were mechanical, not driven by wire.
The interior sports an array of analog gauges and a classic three-spoke steering wheel. The driver sits at the center in a 1+2 seating arrangement. The interior is red because the driver is the “heart” of the car.
It even features an Japanese license plate written in a very old school Japanese font. The tires are throwbacks too, but in a subtle twist the whitewalls are on the inside.
Of course, there’s virtually no chance this whimsical concept will see production, but the Kikai is still a welcome reprieve from the madness of plastic engine covers.
Last but not least, if the Kikai was a Miyazaki contraption come to life, then the Kirobo Mini is a Tezuka creation incarnate. Toyota calls it a “partner robot,” which basically means it acts like an assistant, communicating with you verbally and reading your facial cues like the world’s smartest golden retriever.
In 2013, Toyota even launched Kirobo Mini’s predecessor into freaking space. Ever since Astro Boy debuted in 1952, cute, spacefaring robots have been a dream of the Japanese. Toyota actually went ahead and did it. Who wouldn’t want their own talking Toyota-bot? The Tokyo Motor Show begins October 28.