Name: Toyota FT-HS (Future Toyota Hybrid Sport)
Debuted: 2007 North American International Auto Show in Detroit
Specs: hybridized 3.5-liter V6 with a combined 400 horsepower, four-speed automatic transmission, rear-wheel drive, 2+2 layout, 21-inch carbon fiber wheels
Why We Remember It Now:
While the FT-1 concept from 2014 went on to serve as a preview for the Supra's much-awaited resurrection, today we’re taking a trip down memory lane to 11 years ago when Toyota toyed with the idea of bringing back its beloved sports car.
More than just an interesting appearance at NAIAS, the FT-HS was envisioned with production in mind and it even received the stamp of approval from Toyota’s high-ranked officials. Back in the day, it was described by a Toyota Australia executive as being “a vision for a Toyota Supra of the future.” However, plans were ultimately scrapped within a year after the concept’s debut because of the recession.
Much like the aforementioned FT-1 concept, the FT-HS was styled by Calty Design Research, Toyota’s design studio established back in 1973 in California. The showcar was engineered with a backwards-retractable roof made out of a combination between carbon fiber and Kevlar to turn the concept from a coupe to a convertible in just a few seconds. More carbon fiber was used for the rear diffuser and the 21-inch alloy wheels to keep the weight low.
The FT-HS must’ve made quite the splash in the Motor City back in the day with its wedge shape, “floating” C-pillar, and the absence of a B-pillar. 11 years later, the interior cabin still looks futuristic and has that minimalist approach we’re seeing more and more these days.
“What is a suitable sports car for the 21st century?” Toyota rhetorically asked in the press release. The answer would have to be a rear-wheel drive 2+2 model with a 3.5-liter gasoline engine part of a hybrid powertrain with a combined output of approximately 400 horsepower, good for a run to 60 mph (96 kph) in roughly four seconds. The FT-HS was labeled as being an “attainable exotic” taking the shape of a mid-priced, fun-to-drive sports car with high efficiency granted by the hybrid setup. The four-speed automatic transmission was its Achilles' heel, but surely the production model would’ve received something else.
While the FT-HS never made it to the assembly line, the car’s overall shape and some of the styling did make it to production, just not in the Supra. At the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show, the GT 86 was introduced in road-going specification with most of the concept’s design cues. A new generation of the sports car – now known simply as the “86” – is rumored to arrive in 2021.
As for the revived and much-hyped Supra, the fifth generation will allegedly debut sometime this fall after being previewed once again last month at the Geneva Motor Show by the GR Supra Racing concept.