Toyota Setsuna (3)

Toyota has released more photos of its Setsuna wooden roadster concept, which will make its debut at the Milan Design Week next week. Made primarily out of wood, the boat-shaped, open-top electric study 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, with wood being the material that best represents that movement.

The Setsuna – which measures in at 3,030 mm long, 1,480 mm wide and 970 mm tall, with a 1,700 mm-long wheelbase – derives its name from the Japanese word meaning “moment,” which was chosen to reflect that people experience precious, fleeting moments together with their vehicles.

The car is a result of joint development with Sumitomo Forestry, which shared its knowledge of wood construction and selection as well as its expertise in processing techniques and assembly methods with the automaker.

A variety of wood types are to be found on the two-seater. For the exterior panels, Japanese cedar was selected for the vividness and refinement of its wood grain and its flexibility as a material, while the frame is made from Japanese birch, chosen for its strong rigidity. The floor, meanwhile, is constructed using Japanese zelkova, and the seats feature the smooth-textured castor aralia.

The Setsuna’s body is composed of 86 handmade panels, and when repairs become necessary, individual panels can be replaced rather than needing to replace the entire body. They’re put together with a traditional Japanese joinery technique called okuriari, which allows the exterior panels to be fitted and taken off without the need for nails or screws.

To bring out the grain of the wood, wipe-lacquering was used for the door mirrors, seats, steering wheel and body banding lines, with the process applied by hand. It’s not just a complete wood show, of course – aluminum features on items such as the wheel caps, the steering wheel and the seat frames to provide contrast.