Fun Trucks Friday: Just bring back the El Camino?

It’s a BMW! It’s a sport coupe! It’s another Fun Trucks Friday El Camino wannabe?

Yes, yes it is. The question is whether there’s really a demand for half car/half truck vehicles out there, or whether the FTF staff spend too much time indulging a kink for them on the internet. Don’t answer that.

This latest try comes from automotive engineering students at the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research. The fourth generation of the concept vehicle program, called Deep Orange 4, is a BMW Manufacturing Co.-sponsored project.

It’s based on the BMW X3 and is defined as a versatile vehicle that targets the niche market of performance-oriented SUV customers who want both best-in-class utility and space and an aggressive sporty design, the team says.

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The trick is to come up with a design that can be affordably built at low-volume levels without expensive manufacturing re-tooling and loss of assembly line efficiency.

“This project has a bit of dual personality,” says Suzanne Dickerson, director of international business development at CU-ICAR. “It’s really the best of both worlds for our students to not only consider consumer lifestyles in the conceptual design process but to also look at the very practical elements involved in manufacturing it in the most capital-efficient way.”

Stay in school, kids. You get to do cool stuff these days.

Have a look at previous coverage of the glamorous world of the faux-El Camino here.