When you're on the prowl for prototypes, a flapping car cover is one thing that definitely catches your eye. That's exactly what we saw as we were checking up on a DaimlerChrysler pilot production facility - two engineers placing a cover on a remarkably well-finished prototype for Chrysler's next minivan.
We managed to snap this photo just before they got the cover in place. This is the first time we have seen a minivan test vehicle without the heavy front and rear camouflage and the grid-like body tape that usually covers every inch of most Dodge and Chrysler prototypes. We have applied some minor computer retouching to clean up the paint, and finalize the trim and taillights, but 98 percent of the prototype in this photo is exactly as it was photographed. That means these are the first and only shots to show the true roofline, tailgate, and rear-pillar design of the DaimlerChrysler's new minivan. These shots also show the first visual proof that the new vans will get roll-down windows on its sliding doors to match its competitors from Mazda, Honda, and Toyota.
The new Chrysler minivans will be less jellybean-shaped, with a more upright D-pillar. The rear tailgate and the backlight are more squared off than the current van, with at least a hint of the Chrysler 300C and Dodge Magnum creeping into the new design. -KGP Photography