If a magic horse approached me and told me that he had the power to take the creative energy and overall vibe of any car company from any five-year period in history and distill that into a powder that I could use a credit card to line up into a fat rail and then snort, I would respond without hesitation: Nissan in the early 1990s. And if you doubt my choice, then let this 1991 concept known as the Cocoon remind you of how wrong you are.
I don’t know what magic horse powders were being snorted up nostrils at early ’90s Nissan, but whatever it was, it sure was potent. This was the era of the Pike cars and so many other fantastic concept cars from Nissan. I’m not sure how I missed the Cocoon concept before, but whatever, let’s enjoy it now.
The Cocoon is a bit unusual for a concept car in that it’s sort of an MPV/wagon mash-up — a long three-row, six-passenger wagon with a cool little tailgate on the rear that would fold out to become an external, rear-facing seat:
Look how cool that is! It’d be ideal for tailgating or just backing up to any convenient majestic vistas and getting out and enjoying the crap out of the view.
When folded, the rear seat just formed the inner liner of the luggage area, which is terribly clever.
Look at that fantastic houndstooth upholstery! And how the seats have fold-out leg rests! And each seat has its own overhead ambient lighting!
Also, if your biggest complaint about modern cars is that their center consoles and tunnels aren’t nearly serpentine enough for your tastes, then boy did the Cocoon have you covered.
Also featured were early versions of nav systems and heads-up displays, all inset into one of the most exciting unbroken expanses of beige I’ve ever encountered.
Oh, and the part I mentioned in the headline about spitting? That’s because the Cocoon had a feature where the car would spray a “refreshing scent” through the steering wheel at your face if it thought you were getting sleepy.
How it determined how sleepy you were isn’t clear, nor is what kinds of chemicals were in that “refreshing scent.” Just more mysteries of the magical 1990s, I suppose.
It’s also incredible how early 1990s smooth river stone/suppository body styling looked so good on concept cars, and so boring when applied to production vehicles.
In the case of the Cocoon, I think the unusual proportions and interesting cut and shut lines help a lot; look at the line of the front fender, just under the A-pillar. Fantastic!
I miss this sort of imaginative, whimsical concept car. Cars like these took one base fundamental concept and just ran with it, and I just love that.
Magic horse, can you bring these machines back?
(thanks, Hans, for the tip!)