Ed “Big Daddy” Roth Inspired Nissan Cube
This past Saturday, our good friend Pikesan had organized a pre-release cruise featuring 10 (yes, ten) of the new Nissan Cube’s, and it was a blast. We hit a couple of area dealerships, then hit the road to the Pavilions in Scottsdale (great Saturday cruise spot for those of you planning to hit Goodguys Southwest Nationals in November).
The impressive lineup of geometric people movers grabbed a ton of attention on the freeways then, suffice to say, the lineup was a smash at the cruise. Nissan even brought along a GT-R (more on Godzilla later… words fail me yet) and the unreleased Infiniti G37 convertible just to round out the playing field.
My first reaction when seeing a Cube a couple of years back (don’t forget, these have been around overseas since ’98) was “not too sure about that”. Don’t get me wrong, I was impressed as all get-out that anyone could pack that much room into such a small-looking package, but the look was odd to me.
Fast-forward ten years, and my how things have changed. My first moment sitting in the Cube was a wild time… Headroom galore, great sight lines, and enough legroom for even my lanky appendages. The dash is minimalist, but laid out in a tremendously intuitive way, and all controls are easily understandable and useful. Too cool indeed.
The ride was incredibly comfortable, stable, responsive and above all, QUIET. It was that last fact that kept me stunned. The Cube is damn quiet on both highway and city pavement, and just felt “right” somehow. Aside from the constant stares from other drivers (which, as a hot rodder is alright by me any day), I have to say, I’m giving this little machine SERIOUS thought from both the modification potential as well as daily-driver mule standpoint.
Design-wise, I have to say the Cube has me hooked. If you know me, then you know my love for asymmetrical design, and that rear window treatment NAILS it. A wrap-around side glass on the passenger side meets a thick pillar on the left, and it (again) just feels “right”. Couple this with tall slab-like side panels, rounded corners all over, and a very trick windshield shape (oh, you’ll be seeing this on a few designs of mine to come), and we’re getting someplace.
But oh that tail light… It was an instant love-fest for me. I have about thirty cars I want to use that in, and it’s not coincidental that I like it so much when it shares a similarity to a certain Thunderbird production run. It just says “custom car” all over (hell, even the headliner is sculpted already!)… and I dig the Cube for that immensely. It’s light years beyond my first thoughts on the Scion xB, and flat-out makes me WANT it. Where the xB looked initially like some ice cream truck’s genetically-deprived third cousin on its first trek into the big city, the Cube looks tremendously comfortable and confident in its skin, and the seating position keeps it all looking like a personal vehicle, and not the aforementioned treat delivery vessel.
The “Surfite” of one, Ed Roth has always ranked as a top ten custom car in my book, not only because it’s so damn original, but it’s also surf-oriented, and as you know, I love me some surf ANYTHING. And man… the little Cube not only calls out for a “lifestyle vehicle” treatment, but as a surf wagon??! Oh YES!
Taking cues from Mr. Roth’s Lilliputian land rover, I plugged in classic hot rod and So-Cal VW styling cues, and attempted to honor the master “hisself” (as he’d say) with a modern take on the little Surfite. Pop-out side glass? Check. Asymmetrical tail light treatment? Check. Aggressive stance? Checkity-check. Custom trim and mild re-work all over? Double checkity-check. Take a very unusual car and make it even more personal/unique? Check, check, checkity-check check!
It’s useful, like the swing-out rear glass and flip-up side windows, to the small step built into the rear fascia, and, well… it just looks COOL. I dig it, and hope you do, too… And if so, holler at me, and I’ll continue finishing what I’ve started in the sketch book, and show off an entire series, perhaps. (editor note, please feed the animal – leave a comment)
As an Alexander Brothers fan, I’ve always enjoyed a certain “quirky/futuristic” aesthetic when it comes to a kustom, and that taste is finding it’s way into the artwork in a huge way. Think “Deora meets the modern day”, and you’re getting warm. Throw in some healthy Ed Roth influence, and by golly, we’re getting there. Top it with some Winfield and Cushenbury asymmetrical appeal, and man, it just gets wilder by the second!
It’s been literally years since any new car has trapped my attention like this, and I’m stoked about it… Hope you are, too. Stay tuned as I play with a bunch of combinations and styles on this cool ride from Nissan… You know, maybe that Rubik guy was on to something after all…