Awesome Corvette Concept Car
Why didn’t they ever make this awesome Corvette concept car? I would buy this concept car today! This concept car was sadly never made, and the ideas and concepts behind it never made it to production. Yesterday we discussed the rarest Corvette ever. Today we are going to discuss what many consider to the the most awesome Corvette concept car ever. This was known internally as the 1967 Astro I, which was intended to be the new Corvette.
This Corvette was very obviously derived from the Chevrolet Corvair of that time, which was another 2 seater car that was fairly popular in the 1960s. They did not promote it as a Corvair offshoot, but it clearly was. This car actually made the rounds at the show car circuit in 1967, and the concept car was painted bright red, as seen in the photos here, which got a lot of attention. The second thing that got a lot of attention was how low to the ground this car was. The entire car was actually just under 36 inches tall at the roof. To put that in perspective, the Corvette Stingray, shown on the right, is already considered to be really short with a total height of 47 inches at the roof!
The front of the car should look familiar, as the entire nose was what would become the 1968 – 1982 Stingray. Note the similarities in appearance from the windshield forward. Many of the features were carried forward, such as the V shaped nose section and hidden pop up headlights. Other cool features for the concept car were things such as a small hatch located located on the hood surface to access the master cylinder, washer fluid tank, and battery, all of which needed continual servicing in cars during that era.
This was a mid-engine car, so accessing those components would have been difficult otherwise. Inside, even more cool features were used, such as a 3 element periscope instead of a rear view mirror on the windshield to facilitate rear views, which was difficult due to the lack of a rear windshield, as shown below. This car had no rear windshield, so they had to come up with something to allow the driver to see behind them.
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2 Seater With No Doors!
The rear of the car had really cool popup panels that provided air braking, and air extraction panels on the rear deck vented air into the mid-engined air compartment. The engine on this car was behind the seats, not up front. The most interesting and useful feature for this car was the way people got in and out. The car was so short and low slung that conventional doors were not possible, ,so they built a clamshell entry system that got a ton of attention at the shows. The body was basically only two pieces – the rear, which covered the engine, and a clamshell front, which hinged upwards an tilted back to allow access to the interior. The two bucket seats also lifted up to allow people to get in and out.
After the people were able to get in the car, the clamshell would close around them and the seats would lower into position. This made the drivers and passengers feel like they were getting ready to launch into space! The seats slightly reclined, then the driver had access to a variety of control pods and other aircraft inspired controls. Replacing the steering wheel was a pair of twin handgrips, like an airplane would have. There was nothing ‘normal’ about this car, but they did everything right.
Other futuristic features included 4 wheel independent suspension with custom control arms at all 4 wheels. Disk brakes with magnesium 8 bolt rims were also unique, as they had removable outer rims in several widths for customization. The front wheels were 5 1/2 inches wide, while the rear wheels were 7 inches wide. Goodyear made some custom redline tires to fit this space-age machine.
Futuristic Designs Cause Engineering Challenges
The major problem with this super low slung design was that a regular V8 would not fit inside. This is why the engineers used a Corvair boxer 6. This was a short, horizontally opposed 6 cylinder that was modified and air cooled. They installed new hemi heads and a belt driven Single OverHead Cam valvetrain to add horsepower. In addition, the engine was fitted with dual prototype 3 barrel inline Weber carbs. This made for a fairly hefty engine wtih some horsepower, although actual numbers are not known.
Although it never made it to production, this awesome Corvette concept car inspired cars from all brands for decades to come. This beauty is one of those concept cars that many enthusiasts, including this blogger, really wish had been made. Alas, we will never get to know what it was like to drive this car. If you think perhaps it looks familiar, do you remember Speed Racer? Go Speed Racer Go!
Comment below and let me know if YOU would like to own this car!