By: Michael Levine

Posted: 01/06/2000

Sources close to the full size truck team at Nissan told us that the Alpha Truck was going to be 'over-the-top', but just check out this radical full size concept pickup. Those same sources also tell us that the Alpha is quite different from the full size truck Nissan intends to put into production for the 2003 model year. Again, this is not the same truck bound for production.

Created by Metalcrafters, the Southern California concept car creators best known for turning out Chrysler's perennial show car stunners, the Alpha is a fully driveable prototype meant to provide a feeling of dynamics beyond its edgy looks.

Designers at the Nissan Technical Center in Japan have taken a cue from the same pages as GMC's Terradyne concept, which debuted at last year's North American Auto Show. The aT Concept uses strong industrial design cues to create a clean and efficient exterior that give the truck the same vibes you might get when you hold a power tool in your hands. Tim Allen would be proud.

Shiro Nakamura, the same designer who penned Isuzu's VehiCross, says that, "Nissan is following our tradition of building authentic, hard working, hard playing pickups like the 2001 Nissan Frontier. We want to appeal to the true truck lover's desire for a big, powerful, aggressive looking vehicle with more than just a little edge to it."

The prominent front grille reflects Nissan design heritage and is taken from the successful Hardbody compact pickups of the 1980s. The four door body is styled in the same manner as the Terradyne with the two rear doors a cross between crew cab and extended cab functionality. If SEMA seemed to be a coming out party for 20-inch production wheels, the aT takes pickup truck concept wheels to the next level with it's very large 22.5-inch rims and 265/60R22.5 off-road tires. The tailgate turns into a cargo loader and provides an integrated tool box.

Inside the at Concept the industrial design themes continue. The drilled metal dash and brushed aluminum steering wheel remind the driver they are driving a piece of machinery. Saddle leather seats are made to be durable yet luxurious and, to ensure you don't get lost on the way to a job, a retractable navigation system can be called upon at any time.

A 4.5-liter, 300 horsepower V8 resides under the Alpha's hood. Controlled by a 4-speed automatic transmission the Alpha also features four wheel drive.

Look for more coverage about Nissan's Alpha Truck Concept as travels to Detroit January 6-9, 2001 for the North American International Auto Show.

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