So it’s quite a trek to the Makuhari Fair in Chiba, but we couldn’t resist sticking our noses into the biannual Tokyo Motor Show 2007 for a great display of concept cars. Every year the giants of the automotive biz gather in Makuhari to show how our future vehicles might look. Here PingMag presents some sleek ones, and even those of you with no clue about cars can admire their racy shapes.
Written by Verena
‘Booth babe’ #1 and her blazing red dress – nice wheel patterns!
First, PingMag went for a wander through the huge halls – as did nearly one and a half million other car enthusiasts. Enormous booths filled vast halls, with usually just a couple of cars on display – and the few booth babes posing were clad in elegant evening gowns to highlight the cars’ luxurious looks.
At the motor show, apart from the casual hybrid sign, there’s no great discussion of eco matters (it’s “greenies on your bike”, we guess) and still we don’t see any point in having a sports cars at all… However, they had nice cotton tote bags for the visitors, and an overall ad campaign that looked inviting [see main pic].
The Electric Rider
Yamaha’s “Bobby”, dressed in black…
…and in elegant grey. These dog-ear handlebars: so cute!
Just one glimpse and he won our heart: “Bobby,” an “experimental vehicle” – meaning prototype – by Yamaha. According to the info, it has “lots of big parts on its small body.” I was more impressed by its cute dog ear-like handlebars. You can fold it, flip its seat and twist the handlebars for easy commuting or storing on your balcony. Lock and unlock it with your FeliCa enabled mobile (for those of you that keep losing keys) and – it has internet access. What for? Maybe for listening to your favourite podcast while getting a traffic update?
What elegance! A wheel of Mazda’s “Taiki.”
Mazda’s “Hakaze” stands for ‘flying leaf.’ Oh my! Only slightly heavier than a leaf and resembling a teeth-baring cartoon shark on wheels. However, this is more about the “Taiki” flowing right out of a wind tunnel. The carmaker referred to ‘taiki’ as ‘flow,’ but we’d translate it as ‘outer space.’ In this sense, the “Taiki” is an extravagant spacecraft floating through the Tokyo cityscapes. And watch those wheels…
Revealed: Akira’s Chopper
The “Biplane” by Suzuki, as in ‘plane’ as in ‘inspired by the Wright Brothers’ flying invention’ once more looks like a wild road beast that just jumped out of a futuristic manga. Its sunny yellow colour gives it even more a cartoonish feel. Wait, this could also be an upgrade of Tron… And its rounded figure might be comfy for ageing bikers who still want to feel the breeze in their greying streaks.
Minority Report Finally For Real!
We knew it: watching TV is inspiring. And the designers of Toyota’s i-REAL must be real sci-fi geeks. This thing has three wheels and floats around comfily. As it’s not exactly a car, you can use it in on pavements, sitting straight. But on the road its rear wheel extend and you lean back in it as though on a Harley (sans Cowboy boots).
Barbapapa On Wheels
This must be the automobile of the Barbapapa family! Finally they found something perfectly fitting their voluptuous proportions. Honda’s “Puyo” is also a touchy-feely creation, with a surface consisting of gel (exact specs unknown), people are encouraged to fondle it and accidents are supposed to be less severe. On top of that, its body is a luminescent colour. Yay! A glowing Barbapapa on wheels!
Where are the laser cannons?
“Tesseract”! Again, Yamaha comes up with something sci-fi looking: a scooter with a liquid-cooled V-Twin engine that transforms into a robot plane (only when you’re not watching), and you can use it for your next Halo shoot out. Now I see what the manufacturer wanted to say with this ‘four-dimensional cube’, hence the name!
Category: Cuddly Buddies
A toy car? Wrong! Toyota’s “RiN” concept is more a rolling tea house with astroturf flooring! The “RiN’s” appearance is “based on the image of the mystical, towering Yakusugi tree,” hence the green colour we guess. A floating tree, including humidifier (for the cold, dry Japanese winters) and a mood enhancer that senses your stress level through your hands on the steering wheel and will display a matching colour (how about smoking red…?). Gas and brake pedal come in a nice leaf-shape (!).
There’s more: It adjusts the oxygen level inside, and you can see through the transparent doors down to the concrete. What a natural sight! If only this wasn’t a gas-fueled car – which we assume, since there was no info about its power sources.
Wet Chrome Dreams
When we passed by the Yamaha booth, we saw glistening chrome machinery at the far end: a metallic insect out of a Philip K. Dick nightmare…? No, it’s called “VMAX” and the surrounding gear (note the protruding cables from the back) are supposed to be its hotbed. It is “about to be born out of the mold of rider-machine communication,” as the info most dramatically put it. This looks more a product emerging out of a cyborg entity as in Tetsuo: The Iron Man.
Raging Bull – Playmobil Version
The dream of every truck lover that can’t afford one! Front view of the “HI-CT.”
Our penultimate find was Toyota’s hybrid “Hi-CT.” This compact cubicle has a front resembling either a bulky truck grill or a pit bull’s mug, we couldn’t decide. Not so when looking at its rear: space for lots of junk in the trunk.
Bringing Retro Future Back
The “1/X”, also by Toyota is a plug-in hybrid just like those for ’60s visions of the future. This special one aims to “exist harmoniously in society” – by being polite: Meaning its narrow wheels try to reduce their noise on the road and do less pedestrian splashing. Your ’60s plastic dress will thank you for this protection.
‘Booth babe’ #2: Here without a booth and sharply attired, is dapper ad character Mr. ETC, representing the Electronic Toll Collection System.
Chrome! Machinery! But few roaring engines in this rather quiet Tokyo Motor Show 2007… Next year, we want to see a Transformer car!