14 October 2011

Astro II XP-880 Mid Engine Prototype

I visited the National Corvette Museum in Kentucky last week. A friend of mine saw the snaps I had taken of the XP-880 concept car, aka Astro II & Astrovette II, and was curious. Smeghead always aims to please, so here is what I’ve dug up on this one-off vehicle.

My pictures of the XP-880:

 the next 2 taken in 2009, when the vehicle wasn't in the air.

The rest of these pics are from various sources on the Internet

The Astro II was revealed at the 1968 New York Auto Show, and was clearly aimed at the Ferrari style of sportscar. It was designed primarily to showcase its rear-mounted powertrain application.

 The Astro II has a wheelbase of 100 inches, overall length of 181 inches, and a height of a mere 43.7 inches.

The engine is  a liquid-cooled 390 horsepower MK IV big block V8 , with power passing through a two speed torque converter from a Pontiac Tempest transaxle.

The front compartment was designed as a storage area.

Inside, driver and passenger were snug, surrounded by well-padded surfaces, which provided a maximum of lateral support, advantageous because of the high maneuverability of this vehicle. The instrumentation was normal with 270 degrees sweep speedometer and an 8,000-RPM tachometer. The conventional complement of gauges included water temperature, air pressure, ammeter, and gasoline gauge. A sliding transmission selector replaces the usual lever.

Lead engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov and GM styling chief Bill Mitchell were hoping Astro II would be the concept for the next generation Corvette, but the GM management figured the public was not ready for a mid-engine car.

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