New Toyota canopy not for Hilux

Toyota Canopy Patent

No doors for this new Toyota.

Toyota has filed a new mechanical engineering feature at the American patent office, with wildly exciting possibilities.

Amongst the flood of new patent applications received each month, a new articulated canopy design was delivered by Yasunori Hirozawa last week. 

The application sketch clearly shows a supercar vehicle design, which is clearly relatable to the GR Super Sport project. Toyota’s mid-engined hypercar is to feature a 2.4-litre twin-turbocharged V6 and hybridized power augmentation, promising to deliver 745 kW.

In his patent application, Hirozawa details how the vehicle’s canopy can be opened from either the left or right side, by direct mechanical intervention or remote control. There are also knobs inside the cabin, for opening the canopy.

Why would Toyota be bothering with a very complex new canopy system, which has nothing at all to do with any of its double-cab bakkies? The company’s aerodynamicists want to have a small central cabin architecture for the GR Super Sport, which make conventionally hinged swing doors nearly impossible.

Like other mid-engined supercars with an extremely low aerodynamic profile and compact packaging, door design is a challenge for Toyota’s GR Super Sport project.

Although many consider gullwing- or scissor-doors to merely be elaborate instances of industrial design, they are very real engineering solutions to the problem of getting people into and out of a car with a compact cabin.

The forward articulating canopy is in many ways the simplest solution. Gullwing doors are top-hinged, which negatively impacts any supercar’s centre of gravity. By the same margin, scissor-doors add hinge complexity.

A forward-tilting canopy would appear to be the design that Toyota has chosen for its limited-edition GR Super Sports. It is also an indication that the company is following a no-compromise design philosophy with its future supercar.

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