Nissan Heritage Convention Spotlights The Gobi Concept

January 13th, 2023 by

Photo credit: Nissan

Nissan’s Heritage houses a large collection of concept and production vehicles relevant to the company’s most important U.S. operations. Heritage is a convention that can be found in the basement of the Lane Motor Museum in Nashville, Tennessee. In the world of automotive design, this convention has become a hallmark of Nissan that houses exciting concepts and a production vehicle that has been able to overcome great limits. A wide variety of concepts have been devised over the years and have managed to have great relevance in the inspiration of various designers and excite customers. To understand a little more about the history of the great Heritage collection and talk a little more about the great vehicle that has managed to break boundaries, we must take a look at the decade of the nineties, a great time in which great vehicles have become trendy and have re-emerged today. 

Nissan first introduced the Gobi concept at the 1990 North American International Auto Show. The irony of the truck’s name is that the name comes from the name of a great desert and the presentation took place in the middle of winter at a Midwest auto show, which did not go unnoticed at all, marking the beginning of a new decade while carrying the torch of extravagant design characteristic of Nissan. The Gobi was the concept for a more modern version of the modern compact two-door pickup truck and was written by former Nissan designers, the late Jerry Hirshberg, Bruce Campbell, and Diane Allen at Nissan International, which now goes by the name Nissan Design America. 

The Gobi featured a rounded passenger compartment and smooth body lines. The Gobi had unique styling at the time as it was a far cry from square designs. The bubble-shaped greenhouse was inspired by the cockpits of light helicopters of the time. In terms of size, the Gobi had a very small footprint, with low box walls on the side of the vehicle and a low ride height, making the Gobi an excellent choice for city dwellers thanks to its loading and unloading capacity. The storage compartments are labeled with “stuff” and “things” labels, while the glove box can be removed and used as a backpack. On the outside, the Gobi is painted in Royal Blue, which combines perfectly with the blue-green details that perfectly characterize the Gobi as a vehicle of the 90s and late 80s. 

The Gobi pickup was a truck that was never produced but played a big and fun part in Nissan’s sixty-year history of pickup trucks in the United States that is still growing and started with the Datsun 220 that went on sale in 1959. Nissan launched the first pickup truck in the U.S. in 1983 due to the company’s surge in pickup truck sales. San Diego, California is the place that saw the birth of many Nissan production truck models such as the Nissan Hardbody, Frontier, TITAN, and of course the boundary-breaking Gobi design. After making several rounds in the U.S. auto show circuits in 1990 the Gobi was shelved, although the rather eccentric design served as a design exercise for Nissan to demonstrate the direction of future design and its great potential.

Today the Gobi is in the large Nissan Heritage collection inside the Lane Motor Museum located in Nashville, Tennessee, very close to Nissan’s North American cooperative headquarters. Nissan Heritage is home to dozens of important early production vehicles and concepts and is only open through a private tour. 

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