Six Wild Chevrolets That Never Made it to the Showrooms

Baseball, hot dogs, apple pie: Chevrolet is the quintessential American car, turned out by the millions. Here are a half dozen fascinating Chevrolet proposals that never made it to the production line. 

 

 

 

The original 1955-1957 Nomad was not a big seller when it was new, but the sporty two-door station wagon had miles of style. Chevrolet has tried to recapture the magic on multiple occasions, as with with the 1999 Nomad concept, above. Introduced at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, this Nomad had a pair of hidden rear passenger doors to provide comfortable seating for five. An LS-1 Chevy V8 provided the power, while the dash design echoed the ’55 Chevy’s familiar instrument panel.

 

A pet project of General Motors styling vice president Bill Mitchell, the 1961 Monza Sebring Spyder was based on a production Corvair, but with 15 inches whacked out of the wheelbase behind the doors to create a racy two-seater. Two examples (internal designation XP-737) were built: a never-seen prototype and a show car that debuted at the 1961 Chicago Auto Show. Originally equipped with a Paxton supercharger, the Sebring Spyder later received a turbocharged Monza engine.

 

With its transverse-engine, front-drive powertrain borrowed from the GM X-body (Chevy Citation, etc.) platform, the 1979 Nomad II concept effectively foreshadowed the minivan revolution of a few years later. All the essential elements are here. But for reasons not entirely known, GM failed to greenlight the Nomad II, and Chrysler pioneered the minivan category in November of 1983 with its ground-breaking Caravan and Voyager wagons.

 

This intriguing full-scale rendering, dated May 11, 1960, shows a high-roof sedan based on the upcoming 1961-65 Corvair 95 van, badged as the Greenbrier in passenger-vehicle form.  Little info is available on the obscure proposal, but at a guess, potential applications could include executive transport or perhaps an urban taxicab.

 

One traditional drawback of the traditional two-door body style is the long, heavy door required to provide access for rear-seat passengers. GM engineers attempted to make the matter more manageable with this linear-opening arrangement for the 1975 Monte Carlo, not unlike the side-door mechanism later employed on a host of minivans. Obviously, the feature never made it to production—on two-door sedans, anyway.

The 1966 Chevrolet Caribe show car, below, was striking from a number of angles: Note the flambouyant paint, the matching bold interior and creative upholstery design, and the four-door convertible body work. Originally constructed from a 1965 Impala four-door sedan and designated XP-834, the Caribe was later updated with 1966 sheetmetal. Photos courtesy of General Motors. 

6 thoughts on “Six Wild Chevrolets That Never Made it to the Showrooms

  1. GM sure made a colossal blunder by not going ahead with the Nomad ll. You have to wonder what idiots in high places make those decisions.

  2. The 1999 Nomad concept had a great new look for that decade and would have been received quite well, I think. With a little “tweaking”, but in keeping with the slanted “B” pillar as a the first Nomads had and the popularity of the “cross-overs” being offered today, it may just capture that demographic that remembers that style….

    • That 1999 appears to be way too short behind the rear seats to have any utility, may as well buy a hatchback. I’ve been looking for a new wagon for about a decade and haven’t seen one. Those that exist are all luxury cars and too expensive to throw a half-cord of wood into.

      The Nomad II is something that would have interested me.

      The Corvair Sebring may have been nice on the 1965 platform but I don’t care for the 1st gen’s styling.

      The Greenbrier taxi seems like a good idea but it looks like a tadpole. Not that the Checker was any gem.

      1975 era GM making sliding doors? I’ll pass. Quality design and reliability was not their strong point then. I appreciate that they were thinking of it though.

      Love the 4-door convertible.

      It’s a shame that limited production cars cost so much to build. I think some concepts would show the value of full production if they were given a chance. I don’t know how they test market these ideas but nobody has ever asked me what I thought.

  3. Wow,What a COLOSSAL blunder GM made in not producing both of those Nomad concepts.
    Yup,old GM deserved to die just because of this…

  4. Here in Adelaide we have a couple of 4 door convertibles,, both sedans that have been chopped. And no they do not look ‘right’
    And the side impact resistance would be about the same as a sheet of newspaper as the B pillar just sticks up off the sills.

  5. The 1999 Nomad Concept is not a bad looking car. One of my favorite things about the ’55 & ’56 Chevrolet cars was the dash design, particularly the ’55. Since the dash design on the ’99 concept is supposed to be similar to the ’55, I’d love to get a look at it.

    The odd looking Corvair van-based passenger rendering is pretty interesting. I always liked the Corvair vans, even if they were a little weird looking.

    I love off-beat stuff like this. I know that it has to take a lot of time to research topics for a site MMCG. You’re doing a great job.

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