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The concept car that we wish was a boat

Barkan Designs brings a truck concept to the 2009 New York auto show.

Barkan Designs Counter Balance
The Counter Balance is an independent design for a pick-up truck. Sarah Tew/CNET

On the look out for the weird and the wonderful at the 2009 New York auto show, we saw what we first took for an amphibious car--a high-observation area for the rear-seat passengers looking like the flying bridge of a motor yacht. But the Counter Balance turned out to be a pickup truck concept from an independent designer, a garage-built labor of love. We suspect similar projects can be found all around the country in backyards and work sheds, but the Counter Balance, from Barkan Designs, found its way to the floor of the New York auto show.

Counter Balance
With a midengine design, there is storage space under the hood. Sarah Tew/CNET

The concept features seating for four in the cabin and a pickup truck bed in back. The rear seat sits higher than the front because of the midmounted engine, which would require quite a bit of insulation to keep noise and vibration out of the passenger compartment. The higher rear-seat position allows for a tinted canopy, giving passengers in these seats a 360 degree view.

The lack of an engine in front allows for locking storage space suitable for groceries or luggage. The rear bed has a number of unique characteristics. In normal use, it's a short, 5-foot bed. When more space is required it can be pulled out, extending the bed length to 7.5 feet. The same mechanism that allows for the extended bed can also turn the tailgate into a ramp, for easy loading into the pickup bed.

If Barkan Designs would just make it amphibious, it might have something.