Stellantis has picked the winner of its Drive for Design contest. Announced at the 2023 New York auto show, the competition challenged 10th-, 11th-, and 12th-grade students to design an electric Ram truck, and the judges chose a pickup that’s part rugged and part cozy.
Rocco Morales, a 12th-grade student from Northville, Michigan, submitted the winning design. If the name sounds familiar, it’s likely because the talented designer took first place in last year’s Drive for Design contest and second place in the 2021 edition. In 2023, he sent in sketches of a model called Stadion designed to “create a new segment of pickup trucks.” It features a sleek, futuristic-looking design, a generous amount of ground clearance thanks in part to massive wheels, and a cargo box that can turn into a relaxing, patio-like space.
The judges took four criteria into account as they evaluated each submission: craftsmanship, design quality, illustration, and originality. Stellantis awarded Morales a summer internship at the Ram Truck Exterior Design Studio, where he’ll work closely with the men and women in charge of shaping the brand’s future products, and a Wacom MobileStudio Pro 16 tablet, a device developed for professional designers.
Rohan Seiber, a 10th-grade student from Portola Valley, California, and Benjamin Miller, an 11th-grade student from Birmingham, Michigan, took second and third place, respectively. Seiber’s truck is characterized by a cab-forward design and presented as follow-up to the mighty TRX. It’s packed with clever features like a removable roof panel, a configurable bed platform, and a sliding floor. Miller came up with the Ultima, a modular pickup that gives owners the possibility of upgrading the electric motors and switching from single to dual rear wheels.
Mark Trostle, the head of Ram and Mopar exterior design, said that Morales “is clearly a passionate designer with a bright future ahead of him.” He’s speaking from experience: winning a similar design contest as a high-school senior in November 1987 jump-started his career.