Chevrolet's first experimental mid-engine sports car to be publicly shown was unveiled at the 1966 New York Auto Show as Astro II (a.k.a. XP-880). It followed the CERV I and CERV II (Chevrolet Engineering Research Vehicle) mid-engine concepts, which were more for the track than the road. The CERV I was a single-seater, open-wheeled car that made use of exotic lightweight components backed by a powerful engine. The CERV II was intended for international long-distance racing events, but teething problems, increasing costs, and lack of resources led Chevrolet General Manager Bunkie Knudsen to hand the reigns of international racing to Chaparral.
General Motors Chief Engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov began developing of the much more advanced XP-882. Inspired by his earlier CERV I (1960) and CERV II (1964) prototype mid-engine race cars, it was powered by a 400 cid small-block V8 mounted transversely behind the cockpit coupled to a front-drive Oldsmobile Toronado Turbo-Hydramatic transmission with its driveshaft running through the engine's oil pan to be differential. Two were completed in spring, 1969 then shelved partly due to a protracted UAW strike.
The following year, reacting to rumors of two rival mid-engine sports cars - a Ford DeTomaso Pantera and an AMC AMX/3 - coming to the 1970 New York show, new Chevrolet General Manager John DeLorean and GM Design Vice President, Bill Mitchell spiffed up this XP-882, painted it metallic silver and shipped it to the show. Wearing a sleekly tapered, flare-fendered body with an exotically louvered rear roof, it stunned the press and stole the show.
In 1973, this car was beautifully reskinned and fitted with a four-rotor Wankel engine to become the Four Rotor Corvette concept. Three years later, the Wankel was replaced by a small-block V8 and it was renamed Aerovette.