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The Concept Was On Display At The 2019 AEV Open House

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Earlier this year, American Expedition Vehicles pulled the sheet off its Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison Tray Bed Concept – a fully functional one-off build that demonstrates the engineering and manufacturing capabilities of the high-end 4×4 upfitter. The truck hasn’t really surfaced since its debut at Overland Expo West, until the 2019 AEV Open House event that happened yesterday.

For now, it’s just a concept, but AEV Marketing Manager Matt Feldermann keyed us in on a few details on the ZR2 Bison Tray Bed. The bodywork behind the cab is AEV’s own design, and the tray bed itself is perfectly flat and far lighter than the factory bed on the Colorado. The benefits to this setup is less damping at low speeds and increased firmness as speeds rise, both of which improve vehicle control.


Aside from the tray bed, this particular Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison has 35-inch Interco Super Swamper IROK tires – significantly chunkier and more specialized than the factory 30.6 Goodyear Duratrac tries. Making it all fit up front are proprietary fender panels that are stamped – not cut – to avoid rubbing, while the rear features a slightly off-center wheel arch that positions the tire perfectly in the pocket when under full articulation. The result of it all maintains a stock ride height, and keeps the very well-done OEM suspension geometry intact. Other notable upgrades include a winch, brush guard, onboard air compressor, and pre-filter snorkel system.

Feldermann said that the AEV team validated the Colorado ZR2 Bison Tray Bed Concept in the middle of the Arizona wilderness for three nights before displaying it at Overland Expo West in May 2019. Along with for the ride came over a dozen canisters of diesel fuel for the 2.8L Duramax engine and roughly thirty gallons of water to keep the team hydrated. All of it was packed snugly onto the tray bed.

Written by Manoli Katakis

Muscle Cars & Trucks was founded by Manoli Katakis - an automotive media veteran that has been covering the latest car news since 2009. His journalism has uncovered dozens of major product changes, updates, plans, and cancellations long before automakers were ready to make things official.

Some highlights over the years of his reporting include the uncovering of the Zora trademark before anybody else reported on the coming of a mid-engine Corvette, as well as the dead-accurate reporting of the coming of the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2, two years before it hit the market, and even before the debut of the concept vehicle. This type of reporting has immediately continued here, with reports of the original seventh-generation Camaro plans being shelved, as well as what's in store for the Chevrolet Silverado.

Some of his work can be found on massive automotive media outlets, such as Motor1. He also has been a guest on the 910AM Radio Station with Detroit News auto critic Henry Payne, as well as the enthusiast-oriented Camaro Show podcast.

Over the years, Manoli has interviewed various automotive industry titans, leaders, and people that make things happen otherwise. These include figureheads such as GM CEO Mary Barra, GM President Mark Reuss, automotive aftermarket icon Ken Lingenfelter, Dodge firebrand Tim Kuniskis, along with various chief engineers of vehicles such as the Ford F-150 & Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro & Corvette, and many more.

At MC&T, Manoli is taking his journalism expertise, deeply planted sources, driving abilities, and automotive industry knowledge to new levels, covering more vehicles and brands than ever before. This is the place where you will continue to read groundbreaking stories about American performance vehicles, pickup trucks, and sport utility vehicles. Here is where you’ll also read insights and quotes from various automotive subject matter experts on the latest relevant products, as well as some of the latest official news from their manufacturers.

Fun facts: he also once beat Corvette Racing driver Tommy Milner in an autocross with a Chevrolet Bolt EV. The biggest vehicle he’s ever driven is a John Deere mining truck. Besides a go-kart, the smallest vehicle he’s driven has been a Hyundai i10. He’s also spent time in the cockpit of various American performance vehicle icons, including the fifth-generation Chevrolet Camaro Z/28, Dodge Challenger Demon, and Ford Mustang GT350R. He has reviewed dozens of trucks, SUVs, and performance vehicles over the years.

One of his favorite new vehicles on the market today happens to be the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison. He is also a card carrying member of the Sports Car Club of America, and regularly participates in Detroit Region autocross events.

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