Yamaha to unveil tiny sports coupe in Tokyo

Tokyo Motor Show concept could be a work of F1 car designer Gordon Murray

Smoky silhouette looks to be a small, mid-engined coupe which Yamaha will show to the world at the upcoming Tokyo Motor Show

Smoky silhouette looks to be a small, mid-engined coupe which Yamaha will show to the world at the upcoming Tokyo Motor Show

 

We generally think of Yamaha as a maker of motorbikes and the provider of suitable steeds for the legendary Valentino Rossi. Or, occasionally, we think of it as a musical instrument maker, mostly of pianos (actually a separate Yamaha company – the bike-making side became a standalone firm in 1955).

But Yamaha has been involved in the car business more than once. It often provides parts to Toyota, and has had its hand in engine designs as varied as Ford’s 1.25-litre four-cylinder and Volvo’s 4.4-litre V8. It even once built a supercar – the one-off OX-99, which had tandem central seating and the 700hp 3.5-litre engine from a Jordan F1 car. Sadly, the mid-1990s Japanese recession killed it before anyone had a chance to buy one.

Now Yamaha is getting back into the car-making game, and once again there’s an F1 connection. In 2019, Yamaha will launch the tiny two-seat “Motiv” city car, which will have either electric power or use a 1.0-litre petrol engine. So far, so conventional, but the car will be built using the innovative i-Stream production method.

Simpler build processes

Developed by legendary (and that’s no hyperbole) F1 and road car designer Gordon Murray, i-Stream seeks to strip the cost and environmental impact out of car production by using simpler, cleaner carbon-fibre construction, smaller factories and simpler build processes. The Motiv is the first car to officially announce that it will go into production using i-Stream.

Not the last, either, it would seem. This smoky silhouette looks to be a small, mid-engined coupe which Yamaha will show to the world at the upcoming Tokyo Motor Show. As yet, there is no official word nor details, but it’s more than likely to be a Murray creation for Yamaha.

A few years ago, Murray said to The Irish Times: “Would I do a sports car based on i-Stream? Absolutely. I would love to do one, if it’s the last thing I do, I would love to do an i-Stream roadster. . .”

That was a tantalising possibility when he said it to us, and now it seems to be becoming an even more tantalising reality.