I saw the Tesla Cybertruck and so can you
Inside the mall, two doors down from Victoria’s Secret and catty-corner from Armani, the Tampa, Florida Tesla store was mildly abuzz. The public was held back by ropes from damaging what is supposed to be the beefiest truck in the world, the Cybertruck. Fingerprints on the stainless steel, it turns out, is a legitimate issue. There was a clerk with a rag and a spray bottle whose sole occupation was to wipe the Teslas on display, and he still missed some Cyber-smudges.
Multiple Tesla stores across the country have the $60,990-to-start Cybertruck on display for the first time. If you want to see one in the metal near you, log onto the unofficial Cybertruck locator here.) There are 15 Cybertrucks at dealers as of this writing.
To cut to the chase, the Cybertruck is not for me. Here’s what I think ushered the electric pickup, first revealed in fall 2019, into existence: “Bring me a truck that looks nothing like any truck on the road today,” Elon Musk said, a directive I cheer, because it takes genuine innovation and courage. But this is what the designers came up with? What designs did they throw away?
The more you try to reconcile the angles, the more you can’t.
Still, some journalists from the if-you-can’t-say-something-nice-about-a-Tesla camp are trying. “I think it looks pretty awesome!” chirped one journalist. Said another: “…It has its good sides. The truck is imposing and futuristic from the front and front three-quarter perspective…”
No! No, it is not futuristic, unless you work backwards from the design of Klaatu’s spaceship in 1951’s The Day the Earth Stood Still!
The truck sat in the middle of the showroom, surrounded by other, handsome Tesla models like the Model 3 and Model S. I sort of felt sorry for the pickup. Instead of looking triumphant, it just sort of looked… sad. Sad and unfinished. Those stainless flanks look like a high school shop project. To Tesla’s credit, all the joints and panels matched up, though. And it is indeed difficult to make stainless do what you tell it to.
It’s shod with massive, specially built Goodyear tires that match the design of the black manhole covers over the wheels.
My opinion will not stop the truck from being widely celebrated. It’s a shoo-in to be Motor Trend’s next truck of the year. And possibly Hot Rod’s pick, as soon as somebody drops a small-block Chevy in one.
I may or may not have gasped at one point, I don’t recall. Before this I think I gasped at my first in-person sighting of the Jaguar E-Type, the Pontiac Aztek, and the Oscar Meyer Wienermobile. So am not anti-gasp, as a rule.
I expect early adopters will wear the Cybertruck like a stainless-steel Rolex for a while, just showing off how cyber they are. I don’t know what those customers who actually need a pickup will see in the Cybertruck in order to choose it over a Ford, Chevy, GMC, Toyota, Ram, or Nissan. It’s especially hard to picture it as a farm truck—try to run a couple bales of hay out to your dairy herd and they’ll be squirting chartreuse milk for a week.
The truck photographs gray, so pictures come colorless like a Matthew Brady print.
“So, what do you think?” my wife asks, as we head for the food court and Chick-fil-A.
“Kind of hideous,” I reply.
“So, put you down as undecided?”
“Yeah, that sounds fair. At least until I can work up a memorable gasp. Wait, there!”
“Was that a belch?”
“You take what you can get.”