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1967 Astro I Concept

Astro I

Astro I


Those that have laid eyes on the Astro I will not soon forget it. This 1967 Chevrolet prototype featured sleek body lines that embodied the feel of a far more aggressively styled Mako Shark. Although the Astro I was built with the intent to aid in the study of aerodynamics, no official documentation has been uncovered as to the results of this testing, or if any such testing ever actually took place.

Perhaps the most striking attribute of the Astro I was its ridiculously low stance. At the peak of its roof-line the Astro I stood only 35.5 inches tall. As if this was not groundbreaking enough, the prototype also featured a clamshell-like hatch, that opened to allow ingress and egress. Attached to this clamshell was the Astro I’s bucket seats, which actually rose upward with the opening of the hatch itself.

The Astro I also featured several other notable design characteristics, such as that of a rearview periscope, hidden tail lights, hand-grip steering controls, and a noticeably absent rear window. A number of the Astro I’s front end design features served as a precursor to those that would be found on the 1968 Corvette, including the car’s rectangular grilles and pop-up headlamps.

In terms of design, the Astro I was more closely related to the Corvair than it was the Corvette. Although the project was initially envisioned as a mid-engine concept, plans ultimately were revised to that of a rear-engine design.

The Astro I featured a modified, opposed-six Corvair engine, which included hemispherical heads, steel cylinder sleeves, two Weber look-alike, experimental GM three-barrel carbs, and a single overhead camshaft. This engine was reported to have produced a maximum output of 240 horsepower, though the Astro I was said to have never run under its own power.

Also of note was the Astro I’s use of four-wheel independent suspension, which featured lightweight control arms. Additionally, the Astro I featured 4-wheel disc brakes and eight-bolt magnesium wheels that were fitted with prototype Goodyear redline tires.