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20/02/2011 925

Chevrolet - Astro III

The 1969 Chevrolet Astro III was a sleek, two-passenger experimental car resembling an executive jet aircraft, even down to its tricycle-type wheel arrangement. It was envisioned as a high-performance vehicle suited for travel on restricted access or possibly systems-controlled interstate highways of the future.

The Astro III vehicle, with its red and black fiberglass body, tapered to a slim nose enclosing twin tires on a common pivot, giving the appearance of a single front wheel. A power-actuated canopy moved forward and upward from the passenger compartment, to give easy entrance and exit to the specially contoured individual seats.

Astro III had an aircraft-type interior finished in black. The twin front wheels were steered by power-assisted pistol grip lever controls. Rear vision was provided by closed circuit television from a viewing screen mounted on a console between the seats.

Powerplant for Astro III was the Model 250-C18 gas turbine engine produced by the Allison Division of General Motors. This engine was selected because of its lightweight and high power output. It weighed only 139 pounds and produced 317 net horsepower.

Though many tricycle-type automobiles have been produced over past years, none of them have been completely acceptable with regard to their handling. The key to good stability of a tricycle-type vehicle is the placement of the center of gravity. As the distance between the front tires or tread is reduced, the same resistance to rollover can be maintained by lowering the center of gravity through design and component location. These two technological conditions of aerodynamic efficiency and dynamic stability were necessary to resolve before proceeding with theesign.

source: http://history.gmheritagecenter.com

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