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Though the first two prototype cars to carry the Astro namesake were relatively well known, the third entry in this conceptual saga was somewhat obscure and significantly more bizarre. At the 1969 Chicago Motor Show, Chevrolet unveiled the Astro III which was a gas-turbine prototype that featured a tricycle wheel arrangement.
In 1977, GM chairman Thomas Murphy gave the Aero-vette the green light. It was approved for production, and slated to be released in 1980. Despite being greenlit for 1980 production as the upcoming C4 Corvette, Arkus-Duntov's replacement Dave McLellan decided for a number of reasons (cost and tradition among them) to stick with the Corvette's tried and true front-engine configuration
The Manta Ray was actually the 1965 Mako Shark II (XP-830) with a few upgrades, so it featured many of the Mako II's outward features, such as side exhausts and a lower-body (along the rocker panels) silver paint job. The front end had a pointed chin spoiler and the headlights used 2 banks of 3 quartz-halogen lights.
The XP-895 was one in a series of experimental Corvettes built to explore alternative engine placements and chassis layouts. This vehicle features an 400 cid small block V8 mounted transversely in a mid-engine position. It utilizes a Turbo Hydramatic transmission via a bevel gear box. The body panels are all aluminum.
This little concept mounted a 180-horse Wankel transversely, driving a new automatic transaxle being developed for the forthcoming X-body Citation. Designed by GM's Experimental Studio and built in 6 months on a modified Porsche 914 chassis by Pininfarina, the 2-Rotor made its debut at the 1973 Frankfurt show.
The Astro II was one of the most significant case studies of Duntov’s outright refusal to let his mid-engine dreams die, and as such, ultimately entered the history books as a precursor to the eventual mid-engine, C8 Corvettes of today. The Astro II was designed in a way that was more representative of the Corvette’s typical styling cues, than that of The Astro I.
The 1973 Chevrolet XP-898 concept car was built with a frameless fiberglass foam sandwich body and chassis. This two-seater sports coupe offered a unique look at alternative engineering approaches to future techniques in design and manufacturing. The entire body consisted of four lightweight fiberglass outer body panels.
The Astro II was one of the most significant case studies of Duntov’s outright refusal to let his mid-engine dreams die, and as such, ultimately entered the history books as a precursor to the eventual mid-engine, C8 Corvettes of today. The Astro II was designed in a way that was more representative of the Corvette’s typical styling cues, than that of The Astro I.
One of the most beautiful concept cars created by GM was the XP-822 later called the Aerovette. Zora Arkus Duntov and his engineers had originally built two predecessors during 1969. John DeLorean, Chevrolet's general manager, felt the program was too expensive and canceled the car.
Chevrolet Corvette Mulsanne Showcar, 1974. Created by Bill Mitchell, the Mulsanne was a development of several previous Corvette “specials”, the 1969 Aero and the 1970 Scirocco. By 1974 it had been bored out to 454 ci and fitted with an experimental Rochester fuel injection system, it also had a periscope rearview mirror system.