1983 Steinwinter Supercargo

Meet the Steinwinter Supercargo. From depths of retro-future hell, this cargo carrier was the brainchild of Manfred Steinwinter, an auto engineer from Stuttgart, Germany. It made its first debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 1983. This "nutzfahrzeuge," or "commercial vehicle" was the engineer's idea of efficiency—likely much different than what manufacturers have started doing today. Its low profile was believed to save on fuel costs by reducing the drag created by the gap from the truck to trailer, and its overall length is cut down, enabling more freight to be loaded without disrupting the legal requirements of vehicle size.

The Supercargo was powered by an eight-cylinder Mercedes OM422 diesel engine that produced 276 horsepower and a whopping 753 foot-pounds of torque. The engine outputs its power to a 16-speed ZF transmission to a single axle in the rear. All of this was packed into a platform that sat above the ground only half an inch taller than a Lamborghini Huracan.

One of the biggest ideas behind this semi-truck was that it could be modular. It could tow a trailer behind it, a cargo container on top, or even be re-purposed as a tour bus. All of these applications could simply be nested on top of the truck, creating a low-cost solution that could be applied to many situations (similar to how Volkswagen uses its MQB platform to build vehicles).

📸/📚: TheDrive.com (2017 by Rob Stumpf)