The Wild Days of Chevy in the '80s: Five Crazy Concepts
While the decade of the 1980s is known for a lot things - some good and some bad, it often seemed like a period that was “ahead of its time”. Whether or not its visions would come to be real, the aesthetic and design of the ‘80s was often rooted in an idea of an angular, ultramodern future and this is especially evident in the concept cars of the time.
Despite accusations of being an “old fashioned” or conservative car maker, General Motors and Chevrolet in particular produced a number of wild, forward-looking concept cars during the ‘80s and we’ve dug five that are especially interesting.
1. 1984 Bertone Ramarro Corvette
When the C4 Corvette in the early ‘80s appeared on the scene it was considered extremely modern for its time, but this version of the C4 makes the production car look positively traditional.
Known as the Ramarro Corvette, this concept was built by iconic Italian design studio Bertone and debuted at the 1984 LA Auto Expo.
It’s underpinnings were the same as the regular C4 Corvette, but it’s body was a wedge-shaped re-imagining of a sports car, compete with sliding doors not unlike what you would find on a minivan.
It’s just one of many wild Corvette-based concepts released over the decades.
2. 1987 Blazer XT-1 Concept
With a minivan-esque body shape and the underpinnings of a truck-based SUV, the 1987 Blazer XT-1 is a textbook example of a funky 1980s concept vehicle.
Originally debuted at the '87 Chicago Auto-Show, the odd-looking XT-1 was powered by a 4.3 liter V6 4WD system—
but the most unusual thing was its steer-by-wire system complete with rear-wheel steering.
The interior meanwhile, loaded up with all sorts of high tech '80s toys looks like it could have come straight from the set of Knight Rider. How about that steering yoke?
3. 1987 Express Concept
Also debuted in 1987 was the Chevrolet Express Concept, which makes the Blazer XT-1 look conservative by comparison.
Its body looks as much like a spaceship as it does a car, and its powertrain is just as futuristic.
It was powered by one of GM's "AGT" gas turbine systems and was imagined as a vehicle for a new kind limited-access highway system where it could cruise at speeds around 150 miles per hour.
If you thought the Express looks like something that came of of Back to the Future II's version of 2015, you'd be exactly right. The exact car can be seen driving around the Hill Valley of the future in the famous film.
4. 1986 Celebrity Eurosport RS
In stark contrast to to that, we have the '86 Celebrity Eurosport RS Concept.
The Chevy Celebrity was a run of the mill front-drive family sedan, but in 1986 Chevy teamed up with an outfit called Autostyle Cars to make the Celebrity Eurosport RS Concept.
Inspired by the sport sedans from Europe and Japan, the Eurosport RS featured unique styling, interior treatment and badging that was very much in tune with the style of the day. The concept lead to a nearly identical production version known as the Celebrity Eurosport VR.
While not quite a "real" sport sedan, the Eurosport VR proved to be one of Chevy's most unusual cars of the 1980s and one that's likely be to classic given its rarity.
5. 1989 PPG XT-2
Lastly, we get to the end of the decade and the 1989 Chevrolet XT-2 Concept
Built as pace vehicle for the Indy car series and described as an "IROC Camaro with a pickup bed."
It was powered by a 4.5 liter V6 from the Trans Am race series and made 360 horsepower. It also had a six-speed manual transmission and suspension borrowed from the Corvette.
More than anything, you can imagine the XT-2 as a glimpse at what an "El Camino of the '90s" may have been in alternate universe. It's a fitting way to close out this look at "what could have been."
Don't forget that we actually came this close to an actual new El Camino back in the late 2000s with the Pontiac G8 Sport Truck.