Toyotaʼs Solid-Wood-Body Roadster Goes Against Grain

The Setsuna incorporates several Japanese joinery techniques employing Japanese cedar for the 86 exterior panels, Japanese birch for the frame, durable Japanese zelkova for the seats and smooth-textured castor aralia for seats.

Paul Myles, European Editor

April 8, 2016

1 Min Read
Toyota envisions Setsuna concept as family heirloom
Toyota envisions Setsuna concept as family heirloom.

MILAN – Giving new meaning to the term “car buff,” the latest concept car Toyota is polishing up has a completely wooden body.

The open-top Setsuna 2-seat roadster officially will be unveiled during Milan Design Week, April 12-17, to showcase a design the Japanese automaker claims could become an heirloom.

The Setsuna (which translates as “moment”) appears as the antithesis to today’s throwaway culture, benefiting from a natural-wood body shell whose looks, Toyota assures us, gradually will improve with the patina of age.

Traditionalists will enjoy the 100-year clock in the dashboard designed to record not only seconds and minutes, but also the passing years up to a century.

And, fittingly for the Italian event famed for its presentation of cutting-edge furniture design, the Setsuna incorporates several Japanese joinery techniques employing Japanese cedar for the 86 exterior panels, Japanese birch for the frame, durable Japanese zelkova for the flooring and smooth-textured castor aralia for seats.

“When we created Setsuna, we envisaged a family pouring its love into it over generations so that the car gains an irreplaceable value,” says Kenji Tsuji, the engineer responsible for its development.

“While we used wood as the main material, we also poured lots of time and passion into the car itself with our colleagues, creating a prototype and evaluating it so that the car would offer basic performance in the form of driving feel and comfort.”

Not yet intended to be road-legal, the Setsuna is powered by an electric motor and measures 121 ins. (3,030 mm) long, 59 ins. (1,480 mm) wide and stands 39 ins. (970 mm) tall with a 39-in. wheelbase.

About the Author(s)

Paul Myles

European Editor, Informa Group

Paul Myles is an award-winning journalist based in Europe covering all aspects of the automotive industry. He has a wealth of experience in the field working at specialist, national and international levels.

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