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08/05/2011 1205

Chevrolet - XP-882

The 1972 XP-895 was built on an extra XP-882 chassis. It was designed by GM and built by an outside supplier for Reynolds Aluminum. The idea was to try and convince GM to make a production Corvette with an aluminum body. An aluminum-bodied car wasn’t a new idea, since many European exotics had aluminum bodies, as well as the Cobra, but an aluminum production car was another matter.

Reynolds Aluminum used their new 2036-T4 alloy to make the all aluminum Corvette. Except for the bumpers, tires, and interior parts everything else was aluminum. Chevrolet supplied stress analysis and Reynolds sorted out everything else. The main constraint was that the body would have to be spot-welded like a production car. To compensate for aluminum’s lower modulus of elasticity, many of the parts and attaching flanges had to be thicker. Two-part epoxy was also used for added strength and to eliminate crevices that would trap salt and dirt.

The Reynolds car had minor body differences from the 2-rotor prototype and was powered by a transversely mounted 400 cid V8 small block mated to a 3-speed automatic transmission. It had “roll-over” headlights and an all coil spring suspension. It had separate rear deck lids for the engine and luggage compartments.

Side by side, the Reynolds car weighed over 400 pounds less than the steel bodied 2-rotor prototype.

Although undoubtedly valuable as a research tool, XP-895 was tossed in the corporate wastebasket after 1974, for one simple reason. The traditional fiberglass bodied, front engine, V8, Corvette was still selling well enough to make a replacement unnecessary, never mind one that would certainly have cost a lot more to build.



1970  New York

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