Article from ‘Concept Cars‘ (1997)
If the Gaus name sound unfamiliar, it is because it is an acronym for Global Adventure Utility System. It was created by Mitsubishi as a futuristic vision of a space age utility vehicle capable of on- and off-road performance.
Revealed at the 1995 Frankfurt Motor Show, a distinctive feature of the Gaus was that it was designed with three types of door. There was a conventional one on the driver’s side, but its opposite number for the passengers was of the gull-wing type and there was further asymmetrical one at the vehicle’s rear.
The dominant but compact gull-wing unit was designed in response to Japan’s busy and crowded roads. Split into two horizontal section, the motor-driven door opened and closed at the touch of a switch. It was also fitted with its own sliding window. The top section, actuated by hydraulic arms, slid into the roof cavity, while the lower half folded down into a retractable step.
Gaus’s upper body mostly consisted of specially treated glass that reflected away heat and filtered out ultraviolet light. This meant that the cabin temperature remained comfortable, even in the strongest sunlight.
The Gaus’s long wheelbase and cab-forward design ensured that the vehicle had a spacious interior. The simple but functional instrument panel featured a dashboard-mounted gear lever. This feature, combined with the wide interior and flat floor, ensured walk-through space between the front and rear seats.
Gaus was also equipped to take advantage of satellite-based navigation system. Information such as road, weather and traffic conditions was displayed in the center of the instrument panel. There it could clearly be seen, not only by the driver, but also the passengers behind.
These occupied four separate seats. For relaxation, the front ones could be rotated to face rearwards. Conveniently, the rear seats could be folded away when Gaus was used for transporting cargo.
Power came from front-mounted, 2 liter, turbocharged, twin-overhead-camshaft, four-cylinder engine. Transmission, a refined version of that used on the Mitsubishi Carisma, was equipped with neural network computer. This logged each driver’s different style its gear shifting was accordingly programmed to his or her particular requirements.
Four-wheel-drive was employed for road and cross-country use and ground clearance was enhanced by use of 457mm (18 in) wheels. The wheel arches and bumper surrounds were made of a recycled plastic material.
Some elements of Gaus’s radical appearance are likely to appear in Mitsubishi’s next-generation Space Runner and Space Wagon multi-purpose vehicles that are due for replacement in 1998.
Wood, Jonathan (1997) Concept Cars, Paragon, ISBN 0-75252-084-9.