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7 Concepts Cars Chevrolet Should Have Built

Chevrolet designers have created some concept cars that would have been smart to put into production. Here are 7 we think should have hit the showroom floor.

Take the Nomad concept of 1994. At the same time that Chevrolet was copying the PT Cruiser with its HHR, instead it could have put the mini Nomad into production – imagine the response it would have received from the public, not to mention the sales success it would have created!

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2012 Chevrolet CODE 130R

The Chevrolet CODE 130R was unveiled at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show. At first impression, it appears a bit like a BMW 2 Series, but there are a number of styling features, especially at the front, which clearly identify the 130R as a Chevrolet. Perhaps most interestingly of all though is the fact it’s been engineered to accept a RWD powertrain (and given the 1 and 2 Series will be shifting to FWD, it would give the 130R an edge with enthusiasts).

Powering the Chevrolet CODE 130R concept is a 150 horsepower, 1.4 liter turbocharged engine with eAssist. By shutting off the engine at stops, recapturing braking energy, and smoothing torque delivery during acceleration, this system helps balance turbocharged performance with  fuel economy. The proposed standard transmission is a six-speed automatic. But for those who like to row their own gears, a six-speed manual option is also being touted.

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2011 Chevrolet Mi-ray

The Mi-ray ‘s styling was inspired by a couple of classic Chevrolet sports cars, including the 1963 Monza SS and the 1962 Corvair Super Spyder. The overall shape of the concept was influenced by modern fighter jets. In fact, with most of the fastest cars on the road now hybrids, GM needs to address how to compete with high performance hybrids without breaking with the small block V8 tradition of the Corvette.

Built from carbon fiber, the crisp bodywork features an angled style line which arcs up from the headlights and runs backward, ending at the rear wheel arch. The doors feature a dramatic, if perhaps a touch impractical, scissor mechanism. The Mi-ray’s sleek grille is flanked by LED headlamps with new signature daytime running lamps. The front bumper also features exposed carbon fiber spoilers on either side.

The cabin of the Chevrolet Mi-ray was also inspired by fighter aircraft. The materials of choice include brushed aluminum, natural leather, white fabric and gloss metal. The interior compartment is surrounded by a carbon fiber shell, which gives it a lightweight yet rigid structure.

The Mi-ray’s designers created a unique gauge cluster for the concept. Using rear projection on the instrument panel, information in front of the driver has been prioritized into three zones. Immediately in front is vehicle performance. It is flanked on the left by range and on the right by navigation and mileage figures.

The Chevrolet Mi-ray is powered by two front-mounted 20 hp (15-kW) electric motors for quick acceleration and zero emissions in urban driving. The motors are powered by a 1.6-kWh lithium-ion battery. In addition to the electric motors, the Mi-ray is equipped with a mid-mounted 1.5-liter four-cylinder turbocharged engine to provide significantly more grunt when needed. The Mi-ray has the capability of being switched from front-wheel drive to rear-wheel drive.

A dual-clutch transmission (DCT) enables a reduction in the powertrain’s size by eliminating the torque converter. The car’s shift pattern has been tuned for improved top speed in performance mode. A start-stop system works in conjunction with the DCT.

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2002 Chevrolet Belair

The 2002 Chevrolet Belair concept was a unveiled during the height of the retro design design period. However, unlike other retro cars (especially the Thunderbird) was lighter and smaller, more along the lines of the Chevelle and Fairlane convertibles of the ’60s.

The Chevrolet Bel Air concept had an all-new, inline 5 cylinder Atlas (SUV and truck) engine with a ‘turbo boost’ button on the steering wheel. When pushed it increased horsepower by adjusting the timing and fuel calibration. Like the original the Bel Air concept was rear-wheel-drive.

To provide the appropriate structure for a large convertible, the Bel Air concept uses a 21st century interpretation of body-on-frame construction, employing the same hydroforming technology used in the frame rails of the Corvette and GM’s new midsize sport-utility vehicles.

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2003 Chevrolet SS

A classic muscle car interpreted in a modern way – a vehicle to be shared with your family or with your buddies. That’s what the designer had in mind for the 2003 Chevrolet SS V8.Imagine that the 12 year old concept cars looks better than the actual 2015 production car.

With its aggressive stance and muscular styling it may be a surprise to discover this 5-seater has back seats that fold flat for extra cargo space and a built-in child booster seat. At the heart of the SS is a 430 hp Chevrolet 6.0 L Gen III small-block V8 mated with a four-speed, electronically controlled transmission enhanced for tap-up-tap-down shifting.

One has to wonder if the investment had been made to make the Chevrolet SS look more like the concept car than the undistinguished design sold in Chevy dealers today if sales would be higher than today’s pathetic levels.

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2004 Chevrolet Nomad

The Nomad was a concept car offering from GM first introduced at the 2004 North American International Auto Show. Best described as a  mix between sports coupe and wagon it’s what Chevrolet should have brought to market instead of the HHR.

A turbocharged Ecotec 2.2-liter 4 cylinder engine powered the Chevrolet Nomad concept, which also features a new Hydra-Matic 5L40-E electronically controlled five-speed automatic transmission with finger-operated tap shifting.

With the Nomad, the design team created a retro concept with forward thinking ideals while maintaining the spirit of the original 1954 Chevy Nomad concept vehicle. Including round headlamps mounted on gently curving fenders, a trademark Corvette grille and a forward-sloping B-pillar. Much better than the HHR.

Chevrolet Nomad Concept

 

2007 Chevrolet Trax

The Chevrolet Trax was one of three global minicar concepts GM unveiled at the 2007 New York International Auto Show.

It was designed to be an urban crossover concept that’s equally at home on the trails or in traffic, it gets a low-cost all-wheel-drive system and looks the part of a rugged SUV many times its size, thanks to a voluminous one-piece bumper and fender system in the front and back, a rear-mounted spare tire and a roof rack.

The four-door Chevrolet Trax concept is powered by a 1-liter gasoline engine. The upper part of the exterior is bathed in Blaze Orange, while lower corner panels sport a Burnt Orange matte finish. Given how many customers purchase the terrible Fiat 500L to get a unique appearance along with those exact capabilities, the Trax could be a real success story for Chevy.

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2012 Chevrolet TRU 140S Concept

The Chevrolet TRU 140S concept was unveiled at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show to great acclaim. Look at the photo closely. Now, can you believe the Chevrolet TRU 140S is a front-wheel-drive three door hatchback based on the same platform as the Chevrolet Cruze?
According to GM’s survey of potential buyers, features like functionality, connectivity, fuel economy and affordability were most important. Using that information Chevrolet’s designers created what they called an ‘affordable exotic’.

The Chevrolet TRU 140s is powered by a 1.4 L turbocharged 4-cylinder equipped with stop/start technology. It produces 150 horsepower and 148 lb-ft of torque, and returns 40 MPG on the highway. The transmission is a 6-speed automatic, but Chevy said a 6-speed manual could be fitted. Would you be more likely to purchase a Chevy Cruze if it looked like the TRU 140S? I thought so.

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Chris Riley
About Chris Riley

I have been wrecking cars for as long as I've been driving them but I keep coming back for more. Two wheels or four, I'm all in. GearHeads.org gives me a chance to give something back to the automobile community.

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