The 2002 Dodge M-80 Concept Pickup
The Dodge M80 concept truck debuted at the 2002 North American International Auto Show. Designer John Opfer said that his role models were the Jeep Wagoneer and the (Mitsubishi-based) Dodge Raider compact pickup. “It not only has a clean, modern design, but it is truly functional. You can easily get to your gear in the back, and if the bed is not long enough, you can open the flipper-glass and add the cabin to your load-length.” [In this regard it was similar to the Chevrolet Avalanche’s midgate setup.]
The Dodge M80 was a small, affordable truck with a satin-stainless-steel-look Dodge crosshair grille and headlamp surrounds, classic round lamps, and metallic slate-gray, molded-in-color plastic fenders. In profile, M80 was festooned with fender vent vanes, push-button door handles, integrated plastic side-storage lockers, dual spin-off fuel-filler caps, and stamped-steel 20” wheels with 265/50R20 tires.
The five-foot bed was protected by a durable PET-plastic liner and bulkhead, using myriad tie-down cleats compatible with Mopar bike-, ski- and surfboard racks. The tailgate had “stamped-through” lettering for the Dodge and 4x4 emblems. The back of the cab had a full-width flipper-glass.
The Dodge M-80’s interior was designed by Jeff Gale, who said, “This concept asked for a no-frills, rugged and durable interior, and it should offer unexpected and youthful features.” That was, Mr. Gale said, why there was an abundance of body-color sheet-metal panels on the inside of M80, with satin-silver hard-plastic covers, aluminum foot pedals, and water-repelling Neoprene-look seat-trim. The center console doubled as a portable cooler, while the lightweight seats could be removed and used outdoors. Behind the fold-flat seats was a truck-wide bin for wet goods such as shoes, umbrellas, or a snowboard. The instrument panel included a large storage drawer.
Back-lit satellite gauges provided basic information, with a co-axial speedometer and tachometer that shared one set of numbers for speed and revs (x100). Large rotary knobs operated the audio and heating systems, while classic, efficient “ball-and-socket” vents directed the airflow.
Based on a steel Dodge Dakota frame, and using an independent short-and-long-arm front suspension and a solid axle with leaf springs in the rear, M80 used many existing components. Power came from Chrysler’s then-new, 210 horsepower, 235 lb-ft 3.7-liter V-6 engine with a carry-over 5-speed manual transmission and 4x4 transfer case (with low and high ranges). The M80 was relatively light at 2,500 pounds, close to the Neon’s weight; Dodge calculated that it could do 0-60 in eight seconds flat, with a top speed of 100 mph.
Dodge M-80 specifications (in addition to the specs in the text)
Front suspension: Front: Independent with upper and lower A-arms, torsion bars, gas-charged shock absorbers, stabilizer bar
Rear suspension: Live axle with four-leaf two-stage longitudinal springs and gas-charged shock absorbers
Length: 166.5 in. (4229 mm)
Width: 64.2 in. (1631 mm)
Height: 66.4 in. (1687 mm)
Wheelbase: 112 in. (2845 mm)
Track (Front/Rear): 60.5 in. (1537 mm)
Ground Clearance: 9.7 in. (246 mm)
Bed Length: 5' (1.5 m)