Another Shinoda/Lapine stunner, this one had a Corvair flat-six behind its rear wheels and finned knock-off mag wheels, and its cut-off windscreen was barely at eye level. It was later modified with racerlike clear lenses over recessed headlamps, an integral rollbar, underbody aerodynamics, and a new rear deck.
Designed by Lonberger and Studio X head Bob Larson and powered by a GM Allison gas turbine, the Astro III was just hip-high, its nose on tandem tires, its canopy powered up and forward. “It had been an ongoing project for a year,” Lonberger said in a 2011 interview, “but did not have the aircraft look that Mr. Mitchell wanted. So we turned it from a three-lump collection of elliptical forms into an aircraft look inspired by the supersonic transport.”
Designed by Mitchell, Shinoda, and John Schinella in the Warehouse studio then moved to Studio X to be finished, this was Mitchell’s best expression of what he believed the next-gen C3 Corvette should be. It was a Mitchell driver and a personal favorite.
Designed by Lonberger under the supervision of Shinoda in the Warehouse Studio (and later Studio X), this concept was less than 3 feet tall on an 88-inch wheelbase, with clamshell cockpit access, center steering, a periscope mirror, downforce-creating body shapes, and movable underbody aero devices.
The next Larson/Lonberger project was Toronado XX. “Mr. Mitchell wanted a personal version for himself with a shortened wheelbase, extended front fenders, and a lowered fastback roof,” Lonberger told Dean’s Garage. Its back window was tinted body color for a smooth, windowless look. Mitchell loved it, but it was never built.
This curvalicious drivable mid-engine exploration was much less radical than Astro I. Designed by Shinoda, Lonberger, Dave Clark, and Chuck Jordan, its suspension was (Corvette) transverse leaf-spring, and its rear section was raised for access to its mid-mounted V-8 and modest cargo space.
In early 1967, after Lonberger sketched a “Mini-Camaro GT” in the Chevy 2 studio, Mitchell moved him back to Studio X, along with fellow designer Geza Loczi, to develop a small coupe to compete with VW‘s Beetle and other small cars. “It was intended to be the size of (and cost less to manufacture than) the Volkswagen Beetle,” Lonberger said. Mitchell wanted Camaro-like aggressiveness, but chief designer Irv Rybicki wanted it to look more like a Corvair. It was canceled in late summer.
20 Photos in this Gallery