At the New York auto show, trucks are relegated to the basement of the Jacob Javits Center. Sitting at the back of the basement is Barkan Designs' Counter Balance concept. Even in this difficult-to-find patch of real estate, the radically styled sonic yellow pickup truck sticks out like Chewbacca at an Ewok convention.
"It's the ultimate pickup, but that’s because there isn’t anything like it around," said Elan Barkan, the Counter Balance's inventor, designer and owner. "It's mid-engine. We put the engine under the rear passenger seat and gained space at the front to make it a trunk. The engine placement allowed us to elevate the backseats so people sitting in those seats can see almost 360 degrees around above the front [driver and passenger]."
According to Barkan, the powertrain could be gas, diesel, flex-fuel or propane.
The cargo box features many innovative features, including a 5-foot bed that can be expanded to 7.5 feet by lowering the tailgate and raising some integrated panels; a double-pivoting hinge for the tailgate that allows it to be lowered conventionally or raised up and out of the way at the top of the bed rails; an in-bed trunk like the Honda Ridgeline; and a fold-down ramp that extends from the tailgate to make loading cargo easier.
Barkan didn't grow up driving pickups. He grew up in Italy and graduated from the Automotive/Industrial Design school in Turin, Italy. Barkan, however, had big ideas for reinventing traditional American haulers. After unsuccessfully trying to convince several automakers to implement his ideas, Barkan decided to build his own truck. The result is the Counter Balance. We recommend you check it out in person if you're headed to the New York auto show.