Chevrolet Astro I
In 1967 Chevrolet introduced a concept car and even after 40 years the car remains one of the most innovative cars displayed by General Motors. This was the Astro I. It seemed derived from the Corvair but the company did not officially acknowledge the same.
The car was very low to the ground, and the dimensions were as below:
Height : 35.5 inches
Length : 176.75 inches
Width : 72.24 inches
Wheelbase: 88 inches
The car had an awesomely innovative way of entry and exit to fit in people in this weirdly proportioned cars. The interpretaion was extrememly innovative and awe inspiring.
The windshield itself was a large, wraparound design that featured a very "fast" profile, which helped keep the overall height very low. The A-pillars leaned forward like in a late-1950s GM product but the effect was completely different. It was lithe and athletic, with a wind-cheating stance. The side glass was unusually shaped, picking up the shapes of both the roofline and the windshield.
From there, the roof extended back, flowing into a contour similar to the 1963-'67 Corvette Sting Rays, but without a rear window. A three-element periscope was used in lieu of a rear-view mirror. It gave the driver a wider field of view and compensated for the lack of rear glass.
The general shape of the bodysides were consistent with the manta-ray theme used throughout the Astro. They were heavily curved, with a pronounced peak at the beltline, accentuating the two-seater's low profile. The rear quarter panels followed the theme of the front fenders, with bulging surfaces that rose above the beltline. The rear wheelwells were partially closed, adding to the aerodynamic look.
The rear of the Astro I actually resembled a design one might find on a Can-Am car of the era. Pop-up panels provided air-braking when needed and air extractors on the rear deck vented engine compartment heat. A recessed license plate housing was trimmed in chrome and set in the middle of the tail panel. The tail panel itself was framed by a large lip that merged the quarter panels and deck. Simulated vents, located on that tail panel directly behind the wheels hid the small, slotted taillamps.
Chevvy engineers had to design a special powerplant to run this new age car as the general V8 would not work.
The 1967 Chevy Astro I is alive and well, . It is still owned by GM and was completely restored several years ago. Now it is part of the GM Heritage Collection. In the past, it has also been loaned to CORSA's Corvair Museum. More recently, the Astro has been featured at the annual "Eyes on Design" Classic Car Show held in Detroit and was on display at the 2003 Corvette 50th Anniversary Celebration held in Bowling Green, Kentucky.
Though the 1967 Chevy Astro I was never intended as a production car, it nonetheless features a variety of innovations that have yet to reach the marketplace, all packaged in a design that looks very modern-even today. As it did 40 years ago, at its debut at the 1967 New York Auto Show, it still has no problem blowing away present-day car enthusiasts.