If there was ever a concept car at the nexus of transportation and technology, it was the Toyota Motor Triathlon Race Car. Introduced at the Geneva auto show in 2004, the MTRC concept was a literal embodiment of a video game universe. And it was virtually drivable. Leaf The twin seater (in a single row, like a fighter jet) had the look of a rogue F1 car, but puffed up and illuminated with the sorts of virtual world fantasy that one would expect drawn in a 12-year-old's math notebook. A flip-open canopy was the closest thing to a door, while magic tires automatically inflated or deflated depending on the conditions. Wheel-mounted electric motors, powered by a fuel cell stack, made the whole thing as green as it was trendy.

Tech went much further, however, than this typical-of-the-times alternative powertrain. The coolest part of the MTRC was the driver's visual interface: a virtual-reality-enhanced helmet (called "mixed reality") provided the driver with a Top Gun pilot's view of the road, complete with up-to-date info on road, traffic and vehicle diagnostics.

Toyota's debut for the MTRC was a chilly morning in Geneva in 2004, but any fan with a Playstation2 had the chance to drive the thing -- virtually. The concept was offered in Gran Turismo 4 as a fully drivable race car. Players couldn't buy the MTRC, however. It was available only after the user leveled up and won it after a series of races.


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