This is the 1994 Ford Power Stroke Concept. It looks like the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile wearing a raccoon mask. Back then Ford pitched this drivable showpiece as "a suggestion of what tomorrow could bring." How close do you think it came to panning out?
It's easy to make fun of this bulbous Jolly Rancher now, but I bet it blew people's Backstreet Boys-loving minds two decades ago. And I have to say, I like where their heads were at in trying to match rugged capability with aggressively contemporary style; there's an 8,000 pound winch tucked under that gaping mouth.
The Power Stroke Concept is quintessentially 1990's, but it still feels like a more dramatic departure from the status quo than any pickup concept we've seen from the company since. Even the entire pickup truck industry rarely produces a show vehicle that's this far off the grid.
The whole package nails "What Would A Pickup Truck On A Trapper-Keeper Look Like," except for the mirrors which seem about two decades behind the rest of the design.
The Ford diesel engine of the day pooped out 210 horsepower at 3,000 RPM and 420 lb-ft of torque at just 1,800 RPM. Back then they advertised start time; "less than two seconds in temperatures as low as -20ºF," which apparently warranted the title of "best in class startability." Haven't heard that term since, I guess that's one spec even us truck customers stopped caring about.
Here's the concept at the Chicago Auto Show in 1994, at which Ford also trotted out the idea of making their vehicles out of aluminum.
The Power Stroke Concept even made it into the Ford Racing 2 video game, but I think the closest it came to leaving a legacy was in the design of the F-150 when it was redone for 1997.
The late 90's F-150 makes a little more sense after seeing this, doesn't it? You can tell then-Ford Trucks Design Director Andrew K. Jacobson was really pushing for sanding down the truck's hard edges, and I think his style translated pretty nicely into production. The tenth-generation F-150 looked great all the way through 2003.
Now that Ford has gone through the trouble of repowering their current Super Duty Power Stroke trucks, I reckon it's time for another bold and futuristic style statement. What the heck would the 2015 equivalent of the extra-curvy 90's Power Stroke Concept look like?
Images via Ford