deep heritage in production and concept trucks, many designs for
the 2009 Dodge Ram began to be considered. Each design was digitally
sketched and translated into scale clay models (like in the picture
above) before the choices were narrowed down to the finalists.
designers, the temptation is to change the game. We looked at several
versions – actually up to twelve different
models. Then it became eleven. Then we were down to three that were wildly
different (from each other)," describes Mr. Gilles.
As the team
brainstormed and competed with one another, each of the ideas for the
Ram’s exterior was identified not by its style but
by the designers’ last names. "For example, we had the Pizzuti,
the Williams theme, the Krugger - named after Scott Krugger, who we picked
to do the exterior of (the final) truck, and others," says Mr. Gilles.
can see the designers' names in the corners of many of the
pictures that accompany this story.
But as the
major exterior styling directions were firmed up and the models narrowed
down, parts of designs that weren't carried forward
still had an impact on the finalists. Describing that process, Mr. Gilles
says, "What we did was mix and match. There were parts and research
that people liked in each. So we did things like, grab the headlamps
off the Williams, the nose off the Krugger, the body side off the Surel,
and then the rest of it evolved as we developed the final design."
of the final three themes was based heavily on the Power Wagon. Renderings
and drawings show a truck with an extremely strong front end presence
and the Power Wagon’s trademark bowed grille.
theme focused around the Dodge Rampage. In one of the renderings it’s
identified as the Rhino SUT, or sport utility truck, a reference to
its radically different proportions and shape. One illustration even
shows a cargo box with a pass through door into the cabin, similar to
the Midgate on the Chevrolet Avalanche SUT.
theme was derivative of the current Ram’s iconic shape,
closely linking the exterior of the new truck with the shape of Chrysler’s
best selling vehicle. This was the shape that Mr. Gilles and his lead
designer Mark Allen chose as the theme for the production truck.
Mr. Allen had also been involved styling the current Ram before joining
the effort on the 2009 model.
time to review and determine the final theme took about two years.
on the iconic design, more clay models were created as rolling prototypes.
This time they were full-size to compare against each other and the
current Dodge Ram. Each had subtle variations to test different style
headlamps, grilles, and body lines. They also tested the new exterior
look with different cab configurations and even with dual rear wheels,
according to Mr. Gilles.