1999 Honda concept hybridEnlarge Photo
2006 SEMA Show by TCC Team
All our coverage from the Las Vegas aftermarket extravaganza.
Builders: DaimlerChrysler Vehicle Build Shops
· 3.7L, 12-valve, SOHC V-6
· 210 horsepower and 235 lbs.-ft. of torque
With hot rod flavor, this retro 2-door Dodge Nitro Panel Wagon also has modern flair. The Nitro Panel Wagon began as a statement about traditional hot rodding. It not only had to be a styling statement, it had to be functional, just as the speed shops did it the ‘50s and ‘60s. Modifying a standard Dodge Nitro by hand, the same way a custom car builder would. It’s Mopar-themed throughout – accessory, performance, and replacement parts
The metal shop welded the rear doors shut and hand-formed the panel to fill in where the quarter and rear door glass once resided. The unique body kit accentuates its modern, masculine and athletic shape by lowering the sills and fascia. The beefy flares are one inch wider per side to cover the one-off Alcoa forged 20 x 9 wheels wrapped in sticky BF Goodrich g-Force 265/50VR20s. The suspension was lowered 2 inches to lower the center of gravity and improve the handling. Mopar’s signature blue and white was laid on the classic panel wagon two-tone scheme. The big blue space on the panel where the glass once lived begged for the Mopar Authentic Performance logo.
Exterior attributes set the tone for the real story: inside. Panel vans carry cargo, and this one does it in style. Deleting the rear doors and seats creates an opportunity for unique storage systems. When the rear door is opened, the cargo floor appears to be a nice, flat area with a textured material. Upon closer inspection, a set of handles, borrowed from the production version of the Nitro, unlatch and release the 400-lb.-capacity load floor that extends a whopping 36 inches (which was created by our vehicle mock-up area). Cargo is kept from going into the front compartment by an aviation-inspired cargo net. Where the glass and quarter trim once lived, there are a set of custom panels designed to hold smaller stuff: tools, oil, filters, everything a hot rodder might need on the road. The front compartment remains in basically stock trim with the exception of the custom seats done by Katzkin, which include smooth polyurethane bolsters with a gray textured insert that mimics the cargo mat. The seats carry an embroidered Mopar logo with matching blue accent stitching.
The Dodge Nitro Panel Wagon combines the essence of a classic panel van with the modern, aggressive style of today’s Dodge. With its appearance and speed shop utility, this vehicle will be greatly appreciated by any gearhead. No surfboards, flats of flowers or groceries in here.