1970s Chevrolet Corvette Concept Cars

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Image Gallery: Concept Cars The XP-882 concept car of 1970 looked production-ready, thus fueling hope the next new Corvette would have a similar midengine design. See more concept car pictures.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

Upon examining the 1970s Chevrolet Corvette concept cars, it seems that for one brief shining moment, General Motors honestly intended to build a midengine Corvette for public sale. The moment came in late 1977, just as "America's only true sports car" was about to celebrate its 25th anniversary.

Regrettably, the decade-old "Shark" model had to carry the birthday banner, because the midships Corvette wasn't slated until 1980.

But enthusiasts wouldn't have minded the wait, for the car in question was a virtual clone of the stunning Aerovette, perhaps the most widely admired of the many mid-engine experiments with which GM had been teasing Corvette lovers since the late 1950s.

Those tantalizing exercises were owed to Zora Arkus-Duntov, fabled as chief Corvette engineer almost since the car's 1953 inception. After conjuring the open-wheel CERV I single-seater and envelope-bodied CERV II (the letters stood for Corvette Engineering Research Vehicle), Duntov turned to more passenger-oriented designs, beginning with the Astro II of 1968.

Like the previous year's Corvair-based Astro I, this was a curvy, ground-sniffing two-seat coupe with a lift-up rear engine cover/cockpit canopy. It was also a remnant of project XP-880, a mid-engine effort that Duntov hoped would appear in showrooms for 1968.

Artful detailing and balanced proportions are some of the highlights of the breathtaking 1976 Aerovette
Artful detailing and balanced proportions are some of the highlights of the breathtaking 1976 Aerovette
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

But GM decided to stick with traditional front-engine design and a little-changed 1963-1967 Sting Ray chassis for that year's new "Shark" generation, thus rendering Astro II a dead end.

There was still hope, however. Go to the next page to learn about project XP-882.

For more on concept cars and the production models they forecast, check out: