There: A Concept's Story
Though Frankfurt may be the biggest, Geneva the most sophisticated and Tokyo simply outlandish, the North American International Auto Show in Detroit is where it's at when it comes to showing off cool concept vehicles that are halfway there to ending up in your driveway.
Pickup trucks have had an especially enviable record in recent years at the 'Cobo Show', making the leap from eye candy to real life haulers. Dodge's 1990 LRT Concept went on to become the 1994 Ram full size pickup. It was so successful that it didn't even make it to the show floor because Chrysler execs thought it was giving away the goods on the new Ram. Ford showed off its Triton concept in 1995 that hinted at the current F-150 and followed that truck up in 1997 with the PowerForce, a preview of the Super Duty. Perhaps most famous of all is the Chevrolet SSR that wowed everyone in 2000 and made a smooth transition for public consumption with the debut of the 2003/4 model shown at this year's show.
This year's class of concept pickups has taken their turn on the stage and one of the most likely to make it into production is a crew cab pickup/SUV hybrid from Isuzu.
Isuzu has been without a pickup for sale in North America since the 2000 model year, when it discontinued sales of the Hombre compact truck. In a truck driven marketplace like the United States, especially when you are a pure truck manufacturer like Isuzu, having a hot pickup truck is key to your portfolio's success. And while Isuzu continues development of a new midsize pickup with General Motors, expected to debut in 2003, it's also looking at possibly producing a hardcore sport utility truck aimed at folks with active lifestyles.
Enter the Axiom XST Concept, penned by Isuzu designer Brent Wickham.
Wickham was born in Canada to parents who emigrated to the Great White North from the Caribbean island of Trinidad. Since the 7th grade he has lived in Southern California, immersed in its rich car culture.
In high school Wickham constantly sat in class and drew pictures of cool automobiles he lusted to someday drive. Wickham would also cut apart model cars and other toys only to snap them back together again in new and unique permutations. After graduation he was accepted into the prestigious Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California where he studied for three and a half years.
Always a fan of Nipponese design, Wickham would work for another Japan-based company, well-known design house Milai, before joining Isuzu in 1998.
Wickham and his team received their mission from corporate product planners in July 2001, about 6 months before Isuzu's senior execs and 6000 pushing and shoving members of the press would await its arrival.