We got a lot of good guesses, but it took almost 100 comments before we got the right one. And CC’s Jim Cavanaugh did it. Here’s his guess and the supporting evidence.
OK, I have now spent all the mental energy on this one I am going to. My final conclusions. First, I think we ignore the photo source at our peril. Has anyone ever seen a non-GM picture from the GM Photo Store? I think it’s GM. There is also a GM logo at the bottom right of the picture on the GM Photo Store.
Second, that rear suspension looks like that of almost every Japanese pickup from the 70s. Isuzu was part of GM and this suspension looks not at all unlike that of the Isuzu Faster/Chevy LUV.
Third that door handle also bears a strong resemblance to that used on Isuzu pickups of the era. I still think that wheelcover is Chevy, not Ford. This probably coming from one of the smaller studios, the modest background would not be surprising.
Fourth, that design language just shouts GM to me. The upper door shape and the soft shoulder along the beltline ape the 67-72 Chevy/GMC pickups. Also the lower body that is slightly indented from the upper body was also an idea seen on some GM vehicles of that era.
My conclusion is that this is an early proposal for a Scout-like vehicle based on the Isuzu Faster chassis. The front end looks a lot like the 1981+ Faster and the rest of the vehicle draws heavily on the 1968-72 American GM pickups for inspiration. So I think we have an early SUV prototype based on a long wheelbase Isuzu Faster.
And here’s the proof, right from my own files, having shot and posted this lwb Pup pickup a few years back.
I was going down a similar path last night when other demands cut that short. It became clear to me that this was not a full size pickup/utility. And that what I saw as a front leaf spring was probably something else.
Here’s a lwb Isuzu Pup. Huge similarities, right down to the underslung rear leaf springs.
I can’t find any support for it, but my memory tells me that this generation Isuzu Faster was designed by/with input from GM Detroit. It certainly has a very familial look. Exactly when this concept was made is another question. Was it before the gen2 Pup came out? Presumably so, as in an early concept before the design was locked in. One thing that made me think it wasn’t a GM product is the poor quality of the body work; it looks a bit primitive and the accent line doesn’t match up.
Of course, the question as to why they would consider a lwb version for a utility over a swb version is another question. Makes very little sense.