By Stuart Schwartzapfel
To celebrate the launch of the new Ducato truck, the Fiat Style Center created the Truckster concept, which was recently displayed at the Madrid International Motor Show. The "tuner" rig is 8 feet tall and more than 21 feet in length, and is being positioned as an "adventure vehicle" for hauling race cars or motorbikes. A joint effort among Bosch, Behr, Sumitomo Group, and Denso Thermal Systems, the Ducato Truckster meshes design elements of trucks, race cars, and airplanes.
If Darth Vader was a trucker, the Truckster would be his vehicle of choice. It's a tricked-out, futuristic ride, and the aesthetic favors form over function. It is massive enough -- with its enormous 28-inch turbine-style wheels, mean-looking side-pipes, and huge rear-mounted biplane wing -- to give a Hummer owner an inferiority complex.
Decals of the companies involved with the Truckster's development decorate the rear quarter. Other features include hydraulic gull-wing-style doors, LED headlights, and sinister blacked-out windows. The interior is decidedly aftermarket as well, outfitted by Sabelt (the largest seat-belt manufacturer in Italy) with ultra-bolstered competition-style seats, five-point racing harnesses, and an alcantara sport steering wheel. The truck is also fitted with a roll cage and race-inspired aluminum pedals.
The Verdict: The concept may be a bit unrealistic, but if kitchen appliances (think Sub-Zero) and washer/dryers (think LG) can be called "designer" why not a commercial truck?
Schwartzapfel, a certified car freak, writes BusinessWeek.com's Concept of the Week column. He has studied the automotive marketplace and worked as an advertising/marketing strategist for major manufacturers. He does not write about any car brands for which he currently works.