The Chevrolet Astro 1 was a way out and wild concept vehicle
which GM rolled out in 1967.
The Astro 1 concept was a million miles away from the
boxy people carrier which would eventually utilize the
Astro name decades later. In fact it's difficult to think
of any two vehicles GM's ever produced which are more
The Astro 1 concept used some of the technology and engineering
from the Chevrolet Corvair. The Astro 1 was the first
of a trio of Astro concepts, but to this day it remains
the most memorable and innovative.
Unusual features could be found everywhere on the vehicle.
Beginning with the overall proportions. At just 3 feet
(1 m) tall the coupe was almost unrealistic in appearance.
How the hell would you get in and out? Well the answer
lay in the large clamshell canopy which opened rearward
to allow access to the interior. There wasn't much hope
for Grandma, but most limber thirty-somethings could manage
to get themselves in and out. The car also provided some
additional help during entry and exit by lifting up the
seats once the canopy was open to allow easier entry and
Not only did the short height of the Astro 1 concept provide
problems for the packaging of people inside the vehicle,
it also meant the engineers had to come up with a compact
drivetrain for the car. This is where the Corvair comes
in. Mounted in the rear of the Astro 1 was a 240 hp, air-cooled,
horizontally-opposed six cylinder engine derived from
the Corvair's powerplant.
One of the best aspects to the Chevrolet Astro 1 was the
thorough engineering which went into the design. This
wasn't just some cobbled together chassis with a sleek
body bolted on top. It had four-wheel independent suspension
with custom made components, 4-wheel disc brakes, magnesium
wheels, and a semi-monocoque design with custom chassis
Thankfully the Chevrolet Astro 1 lives to this day. It
is still owned by GM and is part of the company's heritage