The General Motors Design Instagram page digs into the archives to show off sketches of the 1992 Pontiac Salsa concept. While it never saw production, the vehicle allegedly inspired the Pontiac Aztek.
The Salsa debuted at the 1992 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The idea behind it was to create a vehicle that would appeal to buyers in California. The vehicle featured a removable roof panel. Things got weirder at the back where a person could fold down the rear bench seat and then extend a panel in the cargo area to create a small pickup bed. It was also possible to fit a glass clamshell onto the rear that turned the machine into a pint-sized shooting brake.
Gallery: 1992 Pontiac Salsa Concept
In the cockpit, the driver looks at an instrument panel with three separate circular sections. A bunch of rounded buttons adorned the vertically oriented center stack. This piece could also tilt forward to be more easily reachable.
The General Motors Design Instagram post says: "It never went into production, but its design inspired and led to the Pontiac Aztek." Unfortunately, the account provides no more details about how the Salsa relates to the Aztek. They may share a similar purpose. The Aztek was also supposed to be a vehicle for active owners but implemented the idea in a very different way.
The video above shows Pontiac's running prototype for the Salsa. While it didn't see production, the company advanced the idea beyond just a design study.
The combination of a tiny pickup and shooting brake was probably going to be a niche product. In the early 1990s, the Salsa probably would have offered an alternative to the Sunbird in the Pontiac range. It would have given buyers the option of a funkier look and more utility, though.
The Aztek didn't arrive until the 2001 model year as a follow-up to the concept from 1999. It only lasted until the 2005 model.