Every important automotive show – and are only a handful of those each year – makes a point from having the best concept cars, even though those vehicles will never see light of day.
But glamour and having something that no one else has pushes automakers into delivering prototypes that will never see the production line and nevertheless can remain staples of popular automotive culture. But there’s one place on Earth that usually has the boldest, strangest, craziest, most out of the world concepts – Tokyo Motor Show. Innovation is never enough – the Japanese show has been known for displaying concept cars that could have had other concept cars look at them in amazement.
For example, back in 1970 during the 17th Tokyo Motor Show, Nissan presented the 315X, a grandfather to the Leaf, Tesla Model S or BMW i3. The in 1977 it was time for Toyota to showcase a luxury concept that employed sliding minivan doors – the experimental F110 luxury sedan concept. Toyota again stroke the “right” string two years later in 1979 with the CX-80 concept that catered to the young people of the age – which were mesmerized by the possibilities brought by the Sony Walkman (think about the automakers and iPhone and Android smartphones today). Jumping to 1987, again the largest automaker in Japan found a “simple” solution to the dude’s issue of carrying his or hers jet ski from the garage to the beach – the Mobile Base, a Hilux Surf pickup complete with an automatic loading deck for heavy equipment. 2001 came with some of the first attempts at digital mobile integration, the Nissan Nails concept, a two-seat mini pickup coming with an initial form of built-in connectivity. That year Honda took another approach with the Unibox, a rather massive hybrid van concept – its main highlight were the transparent polycarbonate panels. A decade later Honda tries to mitigate that ages long conflict between cars and motorcycles by coming up with the Micro Commuter concept, an electric city commuter. Toyota in 2013 displayed the FV2 concept, a far off attempt to deliver a mood-sensitive, color changing concept that tapped into the driver’s emotions and then showcased them to the world.