Can a company known mainly for building motorcycles successfully transition into building cars, too?
It's been done before, most notably by Honda, which began its car production with the chain-driven S500. This time around, though, the company in question is Yamaha, and the car is called the Sports Ride concept.
Like the Honda S500 of yore, Yamaha's first foray into car design is small, light, and sporty. How light is it? According to the press release, 1,653 pounds (750 kilograms). That's only slightly more than a Series 1 Lotus Elise and more than 500 pounds lighter than an ND Miata.
It's also really, really, ridiculously good looking.
For such a light car, though, the interior doesn't look nearly as sparse as you might expect. In fact, materials appear to be almost entirely leather, metal, and carbon fiber. If it ever does go into production, we can only pray the interior survives along with the design.
Of course, Yamaha does have experience with automobiles, starting with development and manufacturing of the Toyota 2000GT and going to today with bits and pieces of engine development for Toyota, Lexus, Ford, Volvo, and more. But this is the first time we can remember their name being attached to an entire car.
As crazy as Yamaha actually building a sub-2,000 pound sports car might sound, the Sports Ride isn't some pie-in-the-sky idea. The company claims it was designed to work with former McLaren-designer production process, a method of inexpensively manufacturing light, rigid cars.
No production plans have been announced, but if Yamaha builds it, we will gladly drive it.