Isuzu GBX Concept

Isuzu GBX Concept

When the designers at Isuzu's Cerritos, California design center began thinking about the vehicle that would eventually become the GBX show car, they posed themselves one big question: "What is a pure SUV?" They decided that it had to be simple, very utilitarian and have ample off-road capability. They began by looking to the original Isuzu Trooper as a template for the inexpensive, go-anywhere kind of vehicle they had in mind, and then inspiration struck from an unexpected place. Senior designer steve Jennes' father was building a full-scale model of Napoleon's carriage using some old plans he had purchased at an auction (see box, "Shades of Fisher Body"). Jennes studied the carriage and began to think about applying its design principles to his team's SUV project. He and his colleagues pursued this inspiration and eventually decided on the carriage's cousin, the stagecoach, as the perfect design theme for the GBX.

Practical Considerations :

Unlike many show cars, the GBX was clearly designed with one eye toward the practicalities of vehicle engineering and manufacturing. The ladder frame is the same basic unit that underpins the Rodeo and the Trooper, so there would be no need for a costly reengineering of the frame in the event that it went into a production version. The exoskeleton is made of aluminum, carbon fiber and fiberglass for this one-off version, but the design lends itself to hydroformed steel for mass production. And it uses the same attachment points to the ladder frame as its mass-produced cousins. The front module of the vehicle consists of only two pieces: integrated front fenders and hood, and front bumper, both of which are made of injection molded plastic. Jennes explains that this ultrasimple design has two purposes: "To keep it low-cost and to make it easy to update for model year changes." Side panels are simple surfaces that are also injection molded, but could just as easily be stamped from steel. Even the door handles s eem to have been engineered to reduce manufacturing complexity -- the same ones are used for both interior and exterior applications.


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