Before we get into a design dissection of the Ram 1500 Revolution, I need to make one thing perfectly clear. I am a Mopar fanboy. It’s not that they’ve been the plucky underdog against Ford & GM (although that’s part of it). No. It’s more that Mopar products have rarely been the default choice in any given segment, and that appeals to me given I don’t make the default choices for pretty much anything.
The beauty of this is it gives the company freedom. Mopar is able to make different vehicles compared to what’s expected — to bring a hard rock playlist along when everyone is politely nodding in time to some bland bed-wetter’s music. When Chrysler was briefly the coolest car company on the planet in the early nineties, they built the Viper and the Prowler. Realizing they would have to do something extraordinary to have any chance of gaining market share in the full-size pick up market, the designers cracked open a fresh pack of Marlboro Reds and came up the “big rig” second generation Ram 1500.
By lowering the line of the front fenders and making the grille more prominent, it ushered in a rugged look that was the complete opposite of the aero tenth gen F-150 and the considered modernism of the GMT400. Pickup trucks across all three brands have been getting ever more elaborately butch ever since.
Rivian have shown what’s possibly when designing an EV pick up from the ground up – all innovative storage, murderous robot light graphics and bland styling. And you can actually buy one unlike the Cybertruck, which is a low polygon joke that only exists in the fever dreams of Tesla stans high on the smell of Elon Musk’s farts:
Ford wasn’t about to fuck about with it’s biggest profit center too much and took a safe but sensible approach with the F-150 Lightning – it’s essentially the ICE truck with the oily explodey parts yanked out and a gently humming EV powertrain bolted in. Ditching most of the chrome and giving it a full width lightbar at the front, for me it’s the pick of the range.
GM went next giving us not one but three EV pick ups – the Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra EV twins, both of which are typically GM fussy and over designed. The third is the obscene Hummer EV, a gargantuan monument to untethered excess.
There is sometimes an advantage in not being the first mover. You can look at what others have done, see what works and what doesn’t, and adjust accordingly. Remember the iPhone wasn’t the first smart phone, and the iPod wasn’t the first digital music player. By not blowing their wad and waiting, Ram have watched these new EV pick ups pile into the market and in the grand Mopar tradition, done something very different.
For a start, it’s decidedly sleek and non-truckish in the side profile. There’s no dash to axle, but on a bigger higher vehicle you can get away with this (look at a full size Range Rover and you’ll see something similar). Pulling the base of the windshield forward allows glass to be raked back at a more acute angle, which is better for aero. The bodyside is still quite high, but it’s countered by the black roof and pillars and the black trim running around the bottom. This lowers and lengthens the appearance of the truck. More than that, it’s smooth but sculpted – the wheel arches have been pulled out in relation to the main body, giving a subtle and more car like shape. This means the side steps are more integrated and don’t stick out like an afterthought. At the front this narrowing of the waist gives room for a tapered horizontal surface on top of the fender that creates space for the classic raised hood ‘big rig’ look. At the rear it makes room for the RAM box bed side storage.
I’m never totally sold on negative feature lines – that is where the surface tucks in and pulls back out again for very little change in Z height – like the Ram has above the wheel arches. But – take note Chevy – they’re tastefully done. The feature line that starts off as a panel spilt on the bed and runs horizontally along the car angles downwards slightly (just like the car we drew for the sketch tutorial) which adds a bit more of that car-like dynamism.
Years ago in Europe Ford had an MPV (remember those?) called the B-Max. It was Euro B sized (US sub-compact) and was basically a Fiesta minivan. It’s singular masterstroke was using super fancy high strength steels in the A and C pillars which meant it didn’t need a B pillar. At all. Open the front and rear sliding doors and you had glorious unobstructed access to the interior.
My black, black heart is overjoyed to see RAM have done the same thing here – I really hope it makes production (as this is still body on frame, I don’t see why not). It would be brilliant from a product differentiation point of view – and marketing teams love this sort of unique feature.
As I mentioned earlier, Rivian have demonstrated the state of the possible when it comes to storage in an EV pick up, but RAM have taken it a stage further. By taking a holistic approach to cargo inside and outside it has both a mid-gate (with jump seats, although I’ve not seen any images of those yet) and a ski-hatch into the frunk. With the barn door tailgate open and the bed extender in place in theory you could transport something that goes from the bed all the way through the cabin and into the frunk. What that might be I haven’t got a fucking clue. Telegraph poles? Speaking of the frunk, forget shrimp. This thing has hooks for your takeout dinner and cup holders for your road beers.
The interior looks like the designers swiped a load of digital assets from Tron Legacy, going big on orange as the highlight color. It’s a bit overdone but that’s fine for a concept. The overall effect is reasonably tasteful and the colorways well chosen. Compare and contrast to the Dubai nightclub vibe of any electric Benz. The veneers look great, and are a fun nod to the type of environments this truck (or one like it) will be working in.
We know this is a concept, so which parts are definitely not going to make production? Well, the tiny door mirrors for one. RAM says these use “a digital camera to capture information about the trucks surroundings, allowing for a smaller physical size”. I don’t know what the hell that means. My total guess is the mirror surface is a screen not reflective glass, but judging by the size of them it’s going to be like watching a movie on a smart watch. The one piece windshield into glass roof is obviously a non-starter, but they may opt for something that wraps up over the header rail a little. Hide away steering wheel? Yeah that isn’t happening either. Open up the shut lines a little, wind the interior back and it’s probably not a million miles from what you’ll be able to buy.
These images are obviously digital renders, and I’ll point out one way they’ve been cheated in Photoshop. Look at every image that shows the ninja turtle mask headlights. Can you see a vertical shut line on any of them? Nope. Now look at the image of the open frunk. Look very closely and you can the opening dissects the main horizontal elements of the headlights. So there should be a shut line visible but there isn’t. As man of the South Benoit Blanc would say, “There has been a mistruthin’ going on.”
RAM describes the design language of this truck as “brutiful” – a horrible portmanteau of brutal and beautiful. To me that sounds like an eighties TV ad for Brut aftershave starring British boxer Henry Cooper – but your cultural reference points may vary. Brutal is probably the last word I would use to describe this thing, conjuring up as it does forbidding concrete edifices and cold grey townscapes. Those were often dreamt up as part of a utopian urban future. RAM is showing us a much sleeker, more rounded, approachable and handsome future is possible. This was like getting a present I didn’t know I wanted but upon unwrapping instantly loved.
Being a Mopar fanboy I should have been ready for the unexpected.
- The 2022 Ford Lightning Is Just A Standard F-150 With An Electric Powertrain And That’s Why It’s Going To Change The World
- The Rivian R1T Outperformed America’s Best-Selling Trucks In Crash Tests Because Of Its Headlights
- This Is The New GMC Sierra EV, Which Will Start Around $50,000 After Launching As A $108,000 Pickup With Over 750 HP, 400 Miles Of Range, And A Midgate
- Tesla’s Claim That The Cybertruck Can Pull “Near Infinite Mass” Is Hilarious Bullshit
- A Professional Car Designer Evaluates The New 2024 Ford Mustang
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Photos: Rivian, GM, Ford, Stellantis
I signed up for the Lightning and cancelled when Ford started playing silly buggers with the pricing. ($20k upgrade to get the $10k extended battery? Nope.) I am currently signed up for an EV Silverado and hope GM doesn’t do the same thing. I love Ram/Dodge styling and attitude and if this thing comes with the range and price that makes sense I would go for it. I love the idea of being able to haul a 16 ft beam loading it from bumper to bumper and closing the tailgate. Full Disclosure: I am quite comfortable with my masculinity and love my minivan and if they would just make an EV MV that would win over these monsters. But I will take what comes.
I’m still seeing a refreshed and embiggened current Mitsubishi Triton/L200 in there. I’m also wondering if it’ll flat bed….
Current Gen 1/2 tons rarely if at all flat bed…
Adrian, you’re scaring me with all this positivity. But your assessment about the market position and culture surrounding Mopar is spot-on.
And yes, I used the words “Mopar” and “culture” in the same sentence. Unironically. 2023 is already shaping up to be weird.
I’m all sunshine and fucking lollipops, me.
Man you just put that song in my head.
I wholeheartedly do NOT recommend doing a search for “f-ing lollipops”.
BTW, the writing up there in the article was fantastic, and a great showcase of truck styling evolution. GM is absolutely overdesigned.
Torch has to be high fiving himself over how many ideas of his were used here from that way back when Jalop article. The pass through, as soon as I read that I was like TORCH THOUGHT OF THIS!
It appears as if the battery pack is built into the floor of the truck, which also means it can act as a load-bearing structure, which also contributes to the lack of a need for a B-pillar. It doesn’t look anything near as aggressive as its gasoline predecessor, but it still manages to look actively aggressive. An aesthetic and very likely aerodynamic improvement over its forebears.
IMO, the Cybertruck was a hideous eyesore, but this Ram looks good. I wonder how its aero compares to the Rivian, the Ford, and the GM offerings?
Also, on the subject of brutalist architecture, this style is chosen to evoke a sense of dehumanization and insignificance when one is compared to the building(and by extension, the owners). This “brutiful” truck doesn’t really do that, but the angrier designs of the current ICE gen of trucks most certainly do. As a vehicle it appears calm and collected, not due to a lack of aggression, but due to competence. It’s a predator that watches potential prey go by, but doesn’t pounce because what it sees isn’t what it is looking to kill, but it knows when the right target gets in front of it, it will have no issue making the kill, and will rapidly leap ahead to do so.
I’m wondering if its acceleration will be comparable to or faster than a Hellcat?
Brtualism gets it’s name from the French ‘beton brut’, which translates as raw concrete. It was used on a lot of government and local council buildings after for reconstruction after the war in part because it was cheap(er) but also because it was fast, and the UK had a lot of rebuilding to do.
The alienation and dehumanisation wasn’t the intention but probably came later as a lot of these buildings were not popular at the time (they were an extension of Modernism) and also later fell into neglect (especially the social housing).
For my part I absolutely adore it. If I could live anywhere in London it would be the Barbican Centre (seen right at the end of Tony Scott’s The Hunger).
You must’ve loved living in Coventry when at Uni then! I also studied there, possibly around the same time, and the total embrace of 50s concrete felt so oppressive to me coming from the Sussex coast.
Coincidentally, I drove past this place https://www.standard.co.uk/homesandproperty/interiors/grand-designs-couple-build-experimental-concrete-bunker-house-in-homage-to-skateparks-a125076.html
not an hour ago. It’s situated next to some custodian cottages and is so utterly incongruous, it made me feel physically uncomfortable to look at it.
I’m with Adrian – I love brutalism, but in the right setting. It does seem to work best in less cluttered communal places rather than private spaces with actual stuff like an individual house.
For me, it’s the honesty that I enjoy. For instance, Bauhaus/international style design looks like machine-like, but it was originally made by hand. Brutalism looks like what it actually is – blocky poured concrete, electrical junctions/conduits bolted directly onto the walls, etc.
The Revolution looks to me like Blade Runner 2049 to the Cybertruck’s original movie – both brutalist machines, just different variants of them.
God that’s awful. It’s all sheer concrete inside and out, and you need some balance. The interiors are far too cold and stark for me.
Also good architecture is meant to be somewhat sympathetic to it’s surroundings, which that decidedly isn’t.
Coventry is going through a lot of regeneration at the moment, but a lot of it’s modernist charm has been lost over the years because at street level it’s sadly all bookies and charity shops. They were getting development money from the EU, but of course that’s gone now.
That house is genuinely disturbing when seen in person, there’s a Grand Designs episode on it that is interesting.
I think Coventry lacks, or at least when I was there, lacked, balance. The ring road mostly sitting above ground level created an enclosure, there was barely a tree nor patch of grass anywhere inside its loop, with brutalist buildings everywhere, badly lit underpasses for pedestrians and flyovers metres from windows within those brutal buildings. It was ALL brutalist. I haven’t returned since graduating in 2005, but I did see lots of the regeneration on instagram last week when I fell down a rabbit hole trying to workout where the Herbert Art Gallery is. It looks like it’s changed a lot.
I enjoy the exterior, but the inside was awful. And I have bare brick walls from 1870 throughout my place. I’m curious what would make this design in this material sympathetic to its surroundings though?
At least Coventry had the excuse of the shit being bombed out of it. Gloucester was relatively unscathed during the war, but afterwards they decided to pull down most of the original city centre anyway, and replace it with shear concrete. Another case of “finishing the job the Luftwaffe started”.
I got banned from a Modernist Architecture blog when underneath a post about No 1 Poultry in the City of London (a fucking horrible post-modern cake of a building on a site that could have had a Mies van der Rohe) I commented “get Herman Goering on the phone, he’s got some unfinished business here”.
Neat, as a fluent French speaker, I had never made that link to raw concrete.
To translate a great French saying:
I will go to bed less dumb tonight..
The campus of my alma mater (University of Guelph) has a LOT of brutalist buildings. I am sure they looked modern and ‘cool’ at the time but 30 years later, not so much. Compounding the situation, the layouts were often strange and confusing making it really hard to figure out where you were until you learned the quirks.
Props for the Architectural knowledge. But I question the use of falling into neglect. Since you obvious have Architecture knowledge we can not use falling into neglect on 80 year old buildings when far more delicate and older buildings have survived in fine fettle. I suggest the users of free governmental buildings both employees and residents abused, damaged, ignored said buildings because they were ignorant and ungrateful. From government employees who do less with more to a small percentage of malcontents who destroy what they get for free because they want more for free. It amazes me a simple farmhouse built with modest means can exist for hundreds of years but a government office building, government housing or a government school built for millions with the finest materials with experienced architects and licensed contractors doesn’t last 50 years.
Lack of B Pillars really only matters much in a rollover, so I suppose if the rest of the cab structure is adequate, then it really does not matter.
I wasn’t feeling it, but you’re kinda selling me on it.
bland bed-wetter ?
I resemble that remark!
(Well, not totally — I have ‘bland’ down pat; still workin’ on t’other.)
Just remember, beds and swimming pools have a strong distinction on peeing in vs peeing into.
It’s amazing how much perception changes by moving a few feet. There’s a gulf between “gross but everyone knows it happens sometimes” and “get the hell off my property.”
Looking at that frunk opening, I believe you’re wrong about the opening intersecting those sections of light. It actually appears that the entire DRL/exterior headlight glass is attached to the frunk and only the main headlights remain in place when the frunk is opened, avoiding the shut line through the DRL you’re afraid of.
I thought that as well, but look at the image with the frunk open. If you look at the driver’s side headlight you can clearly see the bigger elements remain in place.
Ultimately we can only go on the images supplied in the media pack at first, and they don’t always show what we want to get a closer look at.
Yeah, sadly it’s not the clearest image to work with. However, I’m going to double down and say that the left-hand headlight in the frunk open image appears set back compared to the edge of the quarter panel, which is what gives me the impression that the outer lens is indeed still connected to the frunklid.
Only time will tell though. I’d love to see this in the flesh, though I probably never will.
Not a truck person or a Mopar person, but I want this.
Almost certainly part of the design brief. Make it appeal to non-truck buyers (cf Ford Maverick).
You have a point about the frunk shutlines. What I see is those “eyes” stay fixed to the body, as the headlights can’t attach to the front of the frunk lid.And the frunk lid bypasses behind and around them, hiding a portion of the shutline behind the headlight elements. Neat. I think the whole design is fantastic, in both senses of the word. The b pillarless look is terrific. The suicide doors opening up the entire side are cool, but won’t see production. Crash testing will eliminate those. Of course, the short looking bed will turn off diehard work truck buyers. Face it, this is a truck design for people who would never buy a truck. This is too Armani for the usual Wrangler jacket and jeans set. Not work truck material. I love it, but I hate driving a truck. I gave up having anything to prove decades ago.
This appeals to me, though. At the end of the day, though, I still want my 911SC back before I fall off my perch.
This is a car, with an open bed grafted on so they can make it too tall. In fact it may be a minivan. Yes, yes, it is definitely a minivan. It is designed to do minivan things, not truck things. I can see why Adrian concentrated on the details, because it is in the gross features where this vehicle fails. Car companies know that consumers have been conditioned to spend more on trucks then on cars or minivans. So, they gave you the minivan (you need) dressed like the truck (you want) to cover the extra cost of making a viable electric car (to stay in business).
Love it, buy it, I don’t care, but don’t further dilute pickup trucks by grouping this with them.
With that pillarless cab side opening, I’d have loved for them to draw from their minivan expertise and put sliding rear doors on this thing, since the cab and bed are joined together, similar to a Honda Ridgeline.
Rear hinged doors are great in open spaces, but not ideal in garages and tight parking spaces, hence the move away from them even for standard extended cab trucks.
But a sliding rear door along the front of the bed offers low profile access to the cabin, and could create some novel opportunities for rethinking a rear truck seat area that will see many more types of uses than a standard sedan.
If we can land a man on the moon, I’m sure we could do this in a reliable way.
Well it seems I missed the 2006 (?) Dodge Rampage concept, or rather that I missed that it had sliding rear doors!
Now I’m sure we’ve advanced enough to improve the opening width, especially on a platform such as the Revolution.
For family duties, tight garages, car seats, etc, it is every dad’s dream, especially with an optional power open.
On the jobsite, the ability to slide open a rear door and leave it open without leaving an open door in the wind or exposed unnecessarily to equipment and careless moves with lumber, tools and more, while allowing straight through access not encumbered by an angled, hinged door. Allowing cabinets with pull out drawers or simply more functional large item loading and hauling.
I’m not sure what all the fuss is about honestly. One of these will be right up close in your rearview mirror shortly and you’ll definitely get a good look at it…
Fortunately, they’ll at least be easy to get away from in the winter
I agree with the less aggresive looks as i think the potebtial buyer isnt a coal roller but a more civilized owner in need of a truck. However pleasing the overall look is two things bother me:
1. It looks like an SUV with the rear wheels cut off and a truck bed with rear axle welded on.
2. In the side view it looks like the frame is bent because it rises from the cab to the bed and then lowers on the way to the rear.
Has anyone ever designed a pickup bed with side gates? I mean fold down sides for easy access preferably designed to not be noticed until opened. At 5 ft 6 in I cant even see what is in the bed of trucks let alone load them.
The Volkswagen Type 2 pickup had them, along with a lot of small cabover European, Japanese, Indian, and Chinese trucks – I guess, technically, most of them are technically more flatbeds with sides that flip up to convert to a pickup, vs a pickup with sides that fold down. And, of course, the Corvair pickup was available with a side ramp up into the bed.
“brutiful”… that word fits some people I’ve dated. There have been cases where she was beautiful in some ways, but brutal in others.
It can also describe a bowel movement
kind of pulled a GM trick here. learn from the originators, GM and Ford in this case take the basic shape of the one that might be around longer and then add some neato cheap items. the opening front to back seems in expensive on an EV, but it will get plenty of press on it. the seats on minivan tracks are also pretty slick while not costing much to implement, the gate is also probably something that cost not a lot to make happen. Honestly it is a good looking truck. the rims are too large, but hey it’s a show truck and the others did it as well. The avalanche haters are gonna hat on this as well, but in the end I think Price and perhaps will by 2024 range will be the deciding factor. I think the only thing Ram might want to do is follow GM and themselves in a way and maybe use this chassis on a current new look ram and make a GMC/Lightning competitor. I imagine saving the tooling costs for many of the components will result in a lower cost more truck like half ton for the generation a few years behind the trends.
Can’t wait fpr the rear bed wheel arch rot to follow on this as Mopar seems to include this option at no charge with every pickup they’ve made since the first appearance of the 94 restyle……..
I’m glad a major carmaker the one good idea from that horrible vaporware Bollinger EV Land Rover Defender rip-off, and made access all the way from the frunk to the bed, should you ever need it.
But I’m from Europe and I can’t really see, why anyone but Matt from Diesel Creek (on YouTube) would ever need a vehicle of this size. I just find an Aygo with a tow hitch and a roof rack so much sexier.
*took* the one good idea..
(Damn you fast brain, slow fingers and missing edit button)
You’d be surprised. I live in a small town in a reasonably rural area and I see a fair few full size American pick ups. My understanding is farmers love them (until recently there was a Ram living around the corner from me).
There’s probably some tax shenanigans going on as well, but still.
I just thought a Toyota Hilux of the “Toy Story” size was enough for regular farm use.. I’d personally just rather have 3 old 800 kilo cars than one 2400, but that’s just me.
But thanks for getting back (thumbs up emoji) I commented on your great “Enough With The 80ies” article/rant too, it really moved me! 🙂
“There’s probably some tax shenanigans going on as well”
Yep. In the US, anyone with a business* can get at least $25,000 tax write off for buying a vehicle that is over 6,000 lbs (i.e. 3 tons)
*I think this could apply for ANY business. So you sell canned farts? Psych pet psychic? 4000 dead language translator?
yep, you all get a tax break if you buy this here Ford F-teenthousand
While I’d like to think this legal tax law/rule had good intent^, the fact there seems to be near zero constraints means it has been abused.
This doubly blows balls b/c of laws allowing increased levels of pollution allowed basically the heavier the vehicle
^ say you work in some sort of heavy industry what legit requires the capabilities of a heavy duty light truck (F-250 – F-450 range)
xactly, yur frum Yurrrrup and don getit!1! It’s a MuricN tjing!1!
Being serious, pickup culture is a uniquely North American thing. Probably from farmers driving them to town back when family farms were a thing. Having acres to park large vehicles helped too. Hauling stuff outside the cab can be useful. Also vans here have a “pedo van” stigma for private ownership. But nothing wrong with a pickup and cap.
You are mostly right, but I would actually really love to have a regular Toyota Hilux of the kind that survived Top Gear. And it’s also smaller than all the Teslas in my street 🙂
Yeah, it is a uniquely American segment, but it fascinates me they can find a use in Europe. Years ago I used to work in a specialist model car shop in central London (this was very, very pre-internet). My then boss used to race ‘65 Shelby in some classic touring series or other and he imported a first gen F150 Lightning as a dedicated tow rig.
His reasoning was it it was much better at towing and just as economical as a Transit.
I’m wondering if the transition from cab to bed was done for structural reasons.
Is it possible that the cab and front are unibody (or similar) with a structural battery on the bottom and then they’re bolting on frame rails for the back?
Having that angled interface would help with the load path in the vertical direction.
Given that this has a midgate, I think that’s a fair assumption. Again, one of those things that’s hard to tell until we see it in the flesh.
I feel like this is more inspired by the Rivian than anything else…..like you noted, the rest stick to mostly conventional approaches whereas Rivian said “Hold my beer” and Dodge’s ears perked up….
Another truck for people that don’t need a truck to do truck things. But it offers s nice halo for real trucks.
This is a pickup for hauling all sorts of stuff, and I am all for it. A frunk, storage behind the second row, AND pass-through capability…if they keep all that, I might need this pickup. I’m hoping it is competitively priced.
I like trucks that I can see out of while driving so the Lightning takes the cake.
If it’s already a big BoF truck do you really need to make tank-aperture-sized windows for crash protection?
That being said the easy access to the interior looks sweet.
Fair point, but remember the scale. This isn’t exactly a TT or a Camaro. I’m sure the glazing apertures are still more than sufficient, even if they are relatively shallower compared to an F150.
Fair enough! I think the proportions make it look like it lacks the ‘command position’ seating which in turn makes the extreme rake feel Camaro-esque.
I guess I also need to remember most people probably don’t park big trucks with mirrors and landmarks any more.
Imho it would look way better if the front almost suggested a cab-over, with some kind of slope on the hood blending into the windshield. It would also not, you know, have a giant grille with tons of drag. But RAM!!!! ????
That profile is insanely good, right?! Probably the best looking vehicle i’ve seen in ages.
In fact most recent american trucks have been knocking it out the park.Their combination of subtle curves and great angular shapes (which for want of a better word i’ll call lamborghini-like) really hit the spot for me.
Meanwhile most SUV look appallingly dull.
So here we are.I don’t need a truck and i dont want a truck’s dumb ass fuel economy , yet i still want one.
Mission accomplished in that case. My one time tutor (and later manager) once told me that styling does sell cars. And it does. No matter if the rest of the package is not quite up to par, if it looks good and resonates with buyers emotionally they will buy it.
Yes the profile of this is very good.
“I am a Mopar fanboy” Wait, are you really Richard Hammond?? 😉
I love the B-pillar-less thing too (the Honda Element had it and – I think – the intriguing but ultimately sad Mazda RX8), but sadly, most Americans don’t seem to like it, so I bet it doesn’t see production. It’s really odd as it’s been ingrained in our collective memories as something cool ever since the sleek cars of the ’60s but…
And my FJ Cruiser is B-pillar-less and I dig it.
I’m about two feet too tall.
Nissan Prairie vibe/credits ! (i got married in one of those… )
And you didn’t get jilted at the altar?
Bloody hell they’re a keeper.
There was a Nissan Stanza wagon that also lacked a B pillar and had rear sliding doors.