Ford Atlas Pickup Sketches Reveal How Designers Make the Secret Sauce


  • Ford Atlas Concept Pickup Picture

    Ford Atlas Concept Pickup Picture

    Sketches of the Ford Atlas show what got rejected and what got accepted when it came to the design process. | April 05, 2013

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Just the Facts:
  • In an unusual move, Ford has released early sketches of the Ford Atlas concept pickup, even showing some ideas that ultimately were rejected.
  • One rejected design was dubbed "Bullet Train" and featured a sleek look.
  • Another early sketch shows an extended windshield that was scratched to "provide a more practical integrated roof carrying system to secure large cargo," said Ford.

DEARBORN, Michigan — In an unusual move, Ford has released early sketches of the Atlas concept pickup truck, even showing some ideas that ultimately were rejected. The Atlas was unveiled at the Detroit auto show in January and is said to preview the next Ford F-150.

One rejected overall design was dubbed "Bullet Train" and featured a sleek, less blocky appearance. A design called "Locomotive," with boxier lines, may have had the greatest influence on the design of the Atlas concept.

Another early sketch shows an extended windshield with a "moonroof feel" that was scratched to "provide a more practical integrated roof carrying system to secure large cargo," said Ford. The automaker said the extended windshield idea "hit the drawing-room floor."

Ford designers also considered opening up the space within the walls of the tailgate for added cargo storage, adding a tool set and a first-aid kit.

"Ford designers decided users of the truck would more readily need a way to secure large cargo like wood or a kayak, level with the roof of the cabin," Ford said. "As a result, the vehicle's tailgate step is fashioned to also serve as a cargo cradle.

Designers also mulled complete surface wheels for the future F-150. Instead, they chose Active Wheel Shutters that automatically retract when the truck is parked or traveling at low speeds.

Roof-mounted spotlights that illuminate the cargo bed were also deleted in favor of a truck bed with lights embedded in the walls.

Edmunds says: Consider this the automotive equivalent of Dumpster diving, as the curious get a look at what ended up in the trash in relation to designing the Ford Atlas and next-gen F-150.

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