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Published: Thursday, 1/9/2003

Concept vehicles offer clues to shapes for drivers' future

The off-road FJ Cruiser from Toyota is aimed at young buyers who participate in outdoor sports. The off-road FJ Cruiser from Toyota is aimed at young buyers who participate in outdoor sports.
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DETROIT - For the practical-minded, there's the Chevrolet Cheyenne concept, with side doors on the pickup's bed to make behind-the-cab access easier. For those who want power mated with opulence, the Cadillac Sixteen, a concept car with a 1,000-horsepower, V-16 engine and hand-woven silk carpets.

And don't forget the Dodge Tomahawk concept, an art deco motorcycle with a 500-horsepower, V-10 engine.

This year's North American International Auto Show in downtown Detroit has three dozen concept vehicles that may - or may not - be built in some form, fitting a wide range of automotive tastes.

The 10-day show opens Saturday at Cobo Center, and although more than 700 vehicles are on the floor, helping raise the value of the displays past $200 million, the concepts typically draw much of the attention.

Visitors who want to take a peek at concepts that definitely will find their way to showroom floors can see the Dodge Durango Hemi RT and Ford Mustang GT. Both redesigns are promised to be close to their final forms when they come out as production models, a 2004 for the Durango and a 2005 for the Mustang.

Fond of gullwings? The Sixteen's hood has twin panels rising from a central rail, and the Infiniti Triant concept car has gullwing doors.

Environmentally conscious? The Ford Model U concept car has a hydrogen-fueled internal combustion engine and various grain-based components, including filler in the tires and a fabric roof.

Like an open-air feel? The Lamborghini Murcielago concept is a roofless two-seater, and the Dodge Kahuna is a reincarnated surfboard-toting minivan with frameless windows that retract into the doors.

Other concepts at the show include the Audi Pikes Peak sports wagon; the Ford 427 performance sedan; the Mitsubishi Tarmac Spyder coupe; and the Kia KCD-1 Slice crossover vehicle.

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