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1973 XP-895 Concept

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1973 XP-895 Concept
1973 XP-897 Concept
1973 XP-898 Concept
1973 XP-882 4-Rotor Concept
1970 XP-882 Mid-Engined Concept
1970 Scirocco Showcar
1969 Manta Ray Concept
1969 Astro III Concept
1968 Astro-Vette Concept
1968 Astro II Concept
1967 Astro I Concept
1966 Mid Engine Concept
1965 Mako Shark II Concept
1964 XP-833 Banshee Concept
1964 XP-819 Rear Engine Concept
1964 GS-II Concept
1964 CERV II Concept
1964 Update Concept
1964 World's Fair Concept
1963 Corvette Rodine Concept
1963 Wedge Concept
1962 XP-720 Concept
1962 XP-720 2+2 Concept
1961 Mako Shark Concept
1959 CERV I Concept
1959 Sting Ray Concept
1958 XP-700 Concept
1957 Corvette SS Show Car Concept
1957 XP-64 Corvette SS Concept
1957 XP-84 Q Concept
1956 Impalla Concept
1956 SR2 Lookalike
1956 SR-2 Concept
1955 Biscayne Concept
1955 LeSalle II Concept
1955 EX-87
1954 Corvette Corvair Concept
1954 Hardtop Concept
1954 Styling Concept
1954 Nomad Concept
1952 XP-122 Concept
1951 Buick LeSabre Concept

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Over the next few years, Bill Mitchell's Shark and Mako Shark concepts steered public opinion in the direction the C3 Corvette's styling would take in 1968, but life got more interesting in the late 1960s. America's sports car has seldom been seriously threatened by any real competition, but the fear of a mid-engine rival drove some very cool concepts that kept magazine covers broiling with Deep Throat exposes and prognostications. And political intrigue behind the scenes drove more than a few decisions in the day.

Ford scared Chevy into designing the first round of mid-engine concepts when it showed the GT40-inspired Mach 2 (in 1968) and then announced it would sell the De Tomaso Pantera in Lincoln-Mercury dealers beginning in 1970. Rival camps within the Chevy empire set about designing Corvettes to answer these threats. Frank Winchell's R&D team built the first, dubbed Astro II, powered by a big-block 427 driving through an anemic Pontiac Tempest transaxle. Corvette chief engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov's team built the second, known simply as XP-882, using more production-viable Toronado drivetrain parts.

Competition improves any breed, but in any contest to design the next Corvette the smart money was always bet on the Duntov project. Motor Trend drove the Astro II, but at such low speed that we commented only on its cramped seating position. Of Duntov's New York show car we hyperbolized: "Chevrolet roared out of the sun with the throttle wide-open and the wind shrieking and watched their tracers stitch into the shining sides of the new De Tomaso," concluding that Chevrolet "needs the mid-engine car to sustain the dreamlike idealism of [its] devoted followers." Nevertheless, freshly ascended Chevy boss John DeLorean called a halt to round one on account of excessive cost and realization that the competition posed no real threat.

 

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