One of the best parts about being in a studio that designs the best selling vehicle a company makes is, there is always interest from upper management in spin-offs and line extensions. This was the case in my studio at Chrysler for their ubiquitous minivans. Due to the internal success of my minivan taxi design, these requests fell on my drawing board. From high performance autobahn stormers to roof-less California surf vans, many ideas for minivans were explored. Eventually, a chord was struck with the idea of an off-road minivan for Dodge. I was tasked with developing the design. The challenge was to try and find a way to radically change the minivan’s appearance without spending any money!
Like with my taxi program, you have tape, paint, wheels. and some off the shelf or newly designed accessories to work with. For the off-road minivan design, a B-pillar blackout treatment was implemented. New front and rear grill bars and side steps were designed. To top it all off, a light bar that integrated into my roof rack design was created. For the second time in a row, upper management loved the idea so much, they had a full size, prototype built. The vehicle was shown to Dodge dealers who also loved it. Everyone loved it… except the Jeep dealers who felt it would cannibalize sales. The prototype was a step away from premiering at the Chicago Auto when the plug was pulled at the last moment.