There were amazing scenes to behold as a group of helmeted pit crew took the Toyota FT-1 out of a box on its stand here at the Detroit Motor Show.

Here was a concept that was, if not unexpected, a surprise. That it was a sports car also helped. And that it looks great and evokes past giants such as the Toyota Supra, Toyota Celica and Toyota 2000GT was the icing on the cake. It's also available on Gran Turismo 6 tomorrow, which should excite younger generations.

Bizarrely, the on-stage quote that it would inform future production models was being backtracked afterwards. Don't read too much into a design study was the message - but if you believe that you'll believe anything.

Under president Akio Toyoda, Toyota has transformed beyond belief. Its designers talk about a culture of consensus and mild evolution being replaced by one of being told to challenge and excite at every turn. The new Supra will play a necessary role in that.

It won't be without challenges, though. Selling sports cars profitably is nigh-on impossible. One executive wearily recounted launching the last Supra. It sold well for 24 months and then struggled.

"I go to parties today and the first question I'm asked is when we're launching a new Supra," he rued. “I just sit and wonder why they didn't buy them last time around.”

Truth is, the target age group (young) found it hard to afford and harder still to insure. Perhaps the low power, low-grip formula of the Toyota GT86 can play a role in helping here. The contradiction of sports cars was ever thus.

But Toyota will make it because it needs it to stamp home its transformation from white goods maker to purveyor of exciting automobiles. Here in the crucial US market Lexus has had the LFA (and now the RC-F) and Scion gets what we know as the GT86.

Next it's Toyota's turn. And I can't wait.