Ford Atlas Perks Up Cars and Coffee Meet

Atlas moving II

Photos and story by G.R. Whale

The weekly Cars and Coffee gathering on the grounds of Ford's West Coast offices offers an open invitation aimed at cars and trucks, preferably old ones, to gather in one place so enthusiasts can share stories, bench race over a California sunrise and enjoy the camaraderie of other gearheads.

The marques tend to park next to their brethren, with groups of Porsches, Mustangs, rotary-powered Mazdas, Vipers and Lamborghinis. But where else will you find a Bonneville Salt Flats car next to a vintage Jaguar, an Isuzu Vehicross next to a Porsche 911 GT2 or a chopped pickup next to an electric BMW 1 Series?

But at last Saturday's event in Irvine a different type of ride showed up in the form of the futuristic Atlas concept truck Ford showed at auto shows in Detroit, Chicago, New York and Edmonton, Alberta; it was the pickup's only non-convention hall public appearance. Normally found on a stand or turntable, here it was parked with the doors open, observers welcome to have a look inside.

Despite our best eavesdropping, the Ford spokesman didn't say anything we didn't already know. Ford employees wouldn't open the hood, so we couldn't verify anything about the "next-generation" EcoBoost engine and start/stop system reported to be under that hood.

As the gathering wound down, Ford's Atlas drove away seemingly under its own power back to its transport. We'll state "seemingly" because there was no outside help needed, but it was extremely quiet, and it was the only vehicle there that didn't emit a hint of steam vapors from the exhaust. More than one observer asked if it was a hybrid, and the answer was always no.

Among all the exotics that showed up, there were some interesting and rare pickup trucks attending — some for which you'd even want to bring the checkbook and leave the spouse home.

For additional photos of the event, you can go to's Facebook page


Chevy 3100 frt II

For sale: A 1949 Chevrolet 3100 three-quarter-ton pickup with 235-inch inline six-cylinder and four-speed manual, $16,500.


Corv van II

El Toro High School from nearby El Toro brought this chopped first-generation Chevy van, incomplete with a skeletal roof, blown small-block and V-drive.



This GMC 150 stake bed's inline six was purring like a kitten, the little vent atop the valve cover is what was used before positive crankcase ventilation.


Green 4x4 II

This Chevy 4x4 was serious enough to have a Hi-Lift secured to the roll cage and idled enough blue smoke cold that we suspect forged pistons.


GTO Pickup II

A spiritual predecessor to the Pontiac G8 that never quite got here.


LS Ford engine II

You don't find too many turbocharged LS small blocks with plumbing like this, especially in an early-1960s Ford pickup.


VehiX lift[2] II

We rarely see two Isuzu Vehicross sport utility vehicles in the same parking lot and even less often do we find one lifted.


46 Ford pu[7] II

This chopped and channeled 1946 Ford pickup runs an (old-style) Mustang 5.0-liter V-8 and remains a work-in-progress.


Old Ford pu II

A modified Model A pickup; your guess is as good as ours.



If they brought the Atlas out by the end of the year, Chevy/GMC will have to go back to the drawing board.

The Atlas looks like a glorified version of the 2004-2013 truck with a Super Duty inspired nose. I see nothing groundbreaking about it at all.

The Atlas is such a gorgeous truck. I think Chevrolet's Silverado is in serious trouble. They just haven't had good styling since 03 and even moreso 07. I love that 49 Chevrolet in those pictures! I love the 4x4 Chevrolet as well. It's probably my favorite bodystyle from Chevrolet but I don't like the color. The El Camino, er Pontiac thingy is cool. That Isuzu is one dorky looking suv. And after looking closely, I can see that GT in the bottom pic and I bet that Chevy van is a blast to drive! I can't wait to get a new Platinum Atlas and trade in our current model. It will be perfect timing.

I'm sure the Atlas is a good truck but, I'm not a fan of the looks at all.

Will be interesting to find out what engine that Atlas has to make it so quiet. I am not that much of a fan of the front of the Atlas, but the rest looks ok (similar to what the current F-150). I like the old trucks especially the 49 Chevy and the GTO.

Could have just been a battery operated electric truck just to allow the prototype to drive around slowly.

@Alex-Never thought of that but you could be correct. It got the attention of the writer and I am sure that others noticed the quiet.

I like the Atlas' lower profile otherwise its too phew phew for me.
It looks like its trying too hard for attention.

The Atlas is a great looking truck, but with the super dutty it's another copy of the 1995 Dodge Ram, Why not a new different styling for the future f 150 ?

You know, based on one item I'm beginning to think the Atlas is a pure, plug-in Electric. It sounds to me like Ford's trying to beat Tesla to the electric truck market.

Hopefully, they've figured out how to get a 200-300 mile range out of a single charge.

The side view of the Atlas doesn't look much different than my F150. I'm not a fan of "straight back" exhausts. In a full sized pickup one has a tendency to drag the rear bumper due to low departure angles. It also kills the old technique of backing up to a dirt mound to unload dirt bikes or quads. Testers complained about the heat when towing with the Ram.
Like JeffS, I'm not a fan of the big bold grill.

It definitely has a gas engine. You can hear it start up in this video:

However, the dual exhaust is apparently for show only. I'm guessing the actual exhaust dumps somewhere under the truck.

You can also hear the suspension squeaking when the truck turns or goes thru cracks on the road...haha. It wouldn't be a Ford if it didn't make some strange noises going down the road.
Unbelievable! They bring a truck out for the show and can't make sure it's not squeaking like a pig. Go Ford!
It's a nice truck, but it's just a dressed up today's truck. From the pic above you can't even tell the difference.

If for some reason this is the Atlas engine could it be a hybrid version with an electric motor that kicks in at low speeds. This would be interesting.

Atlas could have been running the 2.7 liter V6 Nano Eco-boost engine.

@Gregory J

It's a concept truck. Concepts always squeak, rattle and pop as they don't go through any NVH testing procedures. It's the same for any manufacturer.

It's a lipsticked up 2013 F-150. I'll bet you there is nothing different with the suspension setup on it than on today's truck. It's not a concept truck. It's a '13 F150 truck showcasing concept features.

Either way. If I was presenting something to future customers I would make sure it runs like a well oiled machine.

Regardless of what you think, concepts are never produced to the same standards as a finished vehicle.

Say for example, the Atlas was just a 2013 F150 underneath with lighter body panels and a lighter weight engine. Well, the spring rates on a 2013 F150 are designed for a certain body/chassis weight. Going lighter is going to cause issues that would need to be corrected before the vehicle ever saw production.

IIRC, the wheelbase on the Ford Atlas is 150 inches. The average '13 F-150 is either a 145" (SuperCab med. bed/SuperCrew short bed) or 157" (SuperCrew med. bed). If it were a lipsticked-up '13, there would still be some major changes to be done to get it to fit. But still, Gregory is right. Even if it's an all-new concept, it should still be put together like it's a production model.

@Gregory, they probably have loads of prototypes to serve different aspects of the production of the next F150. This one is to showcase the styling to the public to gauge reaction, it doesn't need to have all the mechanical features. Ford is likely running mules for that (they look identical to the current F150). That way they can test components they are going to use and focus on engineering without getting all the attention.

I know that the early raptor test mule used an 09-current f150 frame and an 04-08 body that didn't line up all the way. it looked like a custom job, when it was a ford susspension test mule. Another raptor prototype was a modiffied 09 lariat and even had the wood trim in the cab but with a raptor body kit and suspenssion.

The GMC 150 stake bed is one nice looking truck. I would love to have one.

It reminds me of the old Bedford trucks we had in Australia.

They used to have a six cylinder in them and they were of British design and built in Australia.

Back in them days all commercial vehicles were described in CWT (hundred weight=112lbs). People were weighed in Stones which equalled 14lbs. 8 Stone = 1 CWT.

The metric system made things much easier.

Not sure if this helps, but in this video (at about 1:20) they open the hood of the Atlas for a few seconds.

It's not a very clear view, but maybe someone can identify what engine is powering this truck?

Any notice the Delorean in the back ground in a couple of the pictures?


Definitely an Ecoboost. It has the same layout as the 3.5L ecoboost.

I own an EB, and the video shows what looks like the engine cover on either V-8!, you can stop the video, and count the # of ribs on the cover = 4 on each side, just like either V-8's, as we have no real idea if this is built on a SD or F-150 chassis, we can only guess, and that is all Ford wants us to do, if a SD, it would have to be a 6.2 V-8, or there would be a lot of changes made, and this could be what Ford will use to finally replace the SD after what 14yrs? but if this is a new F-150, the engine cover shown could be for either V-8! The other pet peeve I have, is why do the tires have such low side walls? seams like a waste of knarly tread to me, if you are going to have such low sidewall ratio, why have it for an off-road tire? the only good low sidewalls do, is make the tire more responsive on the asphalt, and that is the only advantage! but a true of-road tire will have enough side wall to flex, and allow the tread to form over the terrain for better traction, and those huge wheels? all they add is weight, and it just makes them look like they should be on a road car is all to me.

I have to correct this, after googleing the subject, I have reason to believe this might be a V-8 EB! as the cover does have more "runners" than my V-6, but in the google story I just read, Ford did say this is the next gen EB!!!! so is it a 6 or 8?

What I want to know, what is so horrible about the existing frame and suspension in the Ford? Why do they have to completely redesign it to have any credibility in the next model? Being a previous F150 driver when they redesigned for 2004, the stance, ride, and payload characteristics when driving were a strong step ahead of my old Ram and Silverado. My 2008 Silverado also was a throw back in terms of ride and carrying expectations. Why reinvent the wheel when something already done can just be tweeked to be better? The new Silverado is a modern reincarnation of the 2007 redesign. There are no MAJOR breakthroughs in frame and suspension DESIGN. I think it will be a fantastic truck though because of the engine choices and an already sound frame design.

From a youtube video of the truck, it does sound like a gas engine is started but I couldn't really hear anything after that. Possible a nearby vehicle starting that the microphone picked up.

From the side it looks like an the same old F-150 with slight changes but I must admit, it still does look good.

If it is a EB V8, I bet it is a 5.0 litre Coyote.

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