Forget the DeLorean; there’s a new time machine in town.

Toyota Motor Corporation’s unique wooden concept car, the Setsuna, debuted at Milan Design Week earlier this month. Although it is just that—a concept—and neither set to go on sale nor suitable for driving on the roads, it is nevertheless a functional vehicle and can perform basic driving, turning, and braking.

Okay, the Setsuna is not advanced enough to whiz you forward to a future where everybody’s using hoverboards and munching on dehydrated pizza, but what it will do is age gracefully over the years, becoming a “time capsule” for the family it belongs to.

▼ This moving animated concept video exemplifies exactly what the Setsuna hopes to embody; a car that becomes a valued part of the family and embodies the memories of its owners from generation to generation.

The wooden beauty was conceived “to embody the affection owners grow to feel for their cars, and to show how cars continue to change and offer new value as they are taken care of with love over time” and every single detail has been designed with this in mind.


The smooth, boat-like form was brought to life using wood because of the way the colour and feel of the wood changes over time, “respond[ing] directly to the love that it is given.” As the car is passed down through generations of the family, it transforms into something personal that embodies the memories of its owners.

The wooden panels are fitted together using traditional Japanese joinery techniques called okuriari and kusabu which use no nails or screws, just like how the famous platform at Kiyomizu-dera in Kyoto was built.


The type of wood was also carefully selected for each section of the body of the car, and the Japanese cedar external panels can be exchanged for either straight grain or cross grain to change up the look. All 86 panels of the main body are completely replaceable so that individual panels can be taken out for repairs if necessary, creating a wooden patchwork quilt of memories.


The Setsuna’s circular emblem expresses the idea of “the accumulation of moments”.


A meter on the dashboard uses rotations to keeps track of time for the next 100 years.


Seats are inspired by a welcoming park bench, with leather cushioning that will age along with the wood.


Lacquer finish has been carefully applied by hand to the mirrors, seats, steering wheel, and body banding lines.


Aluminum serves as a contrasting accent in the wheel caps, steering wheel, and seat frames.


The Toyota Setsuna exhibit was displayed in a stylish booth at Milan Design Week, and we hope to see it on show at other events in the future.


What do you think of the Setsuna? Do you wish it was more than just a concept car? Let us know in the comments section below!

Source: Toyota Global Newsroom
Images: Toyota Global Newsroom