The Setsuna concept, scheduled to debut at Milan Design Week April 12th-17th, defies all notions that cars are solely industrial products that boast the latest innovations in tech. This car’s lacquer-finished body is made of all wood—86 handmade panels including Japanese cedar for the exterior, Japanese birch for the frame and Japanese zelkova on the floors.
Toyota engineer Kenji Tsuji and his team designed the wooden roadster to change over time, offering new value as it’s passed down generations—just as the color and feel of wood changes as it is cared for. To capture the essence of time and family, the short hand in the meter’s aluminum case displays the time of day (one circuit is 24 hours), the long hand shows the passing of days (one circuit is 365 days) and the counter meter displays the passing years. Traditional Japanese techniques like okuriari and kusabi were used so that the wood could be joined without nails or screws, increasing the strength of joints. So even though it’s a concept car, the Setsuna offers basic vehicular performance and is able to drive, turn and stop.
The whole idea here is that every nook and cranny of this thing will be reminiscent of some familial memory. So we’re not totally endorsing graffiti to the body of this car, like you’ll see in the animated concept video below, but we’re not not endorsing it, either.