The pickup that could win races Forgotten concept cars: Chevrolet XT-2, the racing ghost of El Camino

In 1989, General Motors Corporation created two concept cars, which indicated that the auto giant had fully recovered from the consequences of the fuel crisis and was ready to set new sales records. The first was the Pontiac Stinger beach SUV, which flaunted a four-cylinder, 170-horsepower engine and a stylish interior with electronically controlled seats and a CD player. The second was the Chevrolet XT-2, a modern take on the famous El Camino pickup.

If we talk about the facts, the XT-2 is a Chevrolet Camaro IROC-Z, which was thoroughly reworked and turned into a late twentieth century El Camino. If we go a little bit deeper, the eXperimental Truck 2 (that’s how the letters HT stood for) was supposed to be the first-born of the new generation of Chevrolet’s powerful pickups (spoiler – it never was). But it made a splash at the races.

In the last century, it was popular among car companies (particularly belonging to the concern GM) to create the original pace-cars for automobile competitions. The Chevrolet XT-2 was one of them – it was the starting point for the CART PPG Indy Car World Series. It was on the racetrack that the concept’s three-layer paint looked especially spectacular, changing shades from plain blue to deep purple depending on the intensity of the sun’s color.

The first was very radical, with an engine under the body (center), while the second was almost civilian, using a Chevrolet truck with a V6 and rear-wheel (or all-wheel) drive. The final result was anything but average, with the engine moved much deeper into the wheelbase, and the pickup itself looking unusual but not flashy.

The body of XT-2 is based on a tubular space frame with fiberglass panels. A huge windshield was also the hood, which was raised on hydraulic supports and gave access to the engine, a 4.5-liter V6, which developed 360 hp and 427 Nm. With such an arsenal, the rear-wheel-drive pickup could reach 100 km/h in less than six seconds and cover a quarter-mile in just over 13 seconds.

The XT-2 was thus faster than any production El Camino. The engine had a 90-degree camber, racing cylinder heads, and sport headers. The XT-2 had the same platform as the then Camaro, but the front suspension was borrowed from the Chevrolet Corvette. More powerful anti-roll bars were installed to provide better handling at higher speeds.

Of particular interest was the interior of the XT-2, which also had many interesting features, in addition to the dashboard, which was raised along with the “hood”! The interior, designed by Hans Giger, was as enveloping as possible (or, as the brochures on the XT-2 said, “womb-like”), the seats had electric adjustments and a system of side support rolls paging. Air conditioning, as well as a fire extinguisher, were also present for the most comfortable and safe ride on the highway.

The cargo compartment, which was an extension of the rear roof pillars, was more symbolic than functional. However, it did not bother anyone – with its duties as a pais-car HT-2 coped with hurrah. Now this concept periodically appears at car shows and belongs to a private person. The same fate befell many other safety cars from GM.

However, interest to sports pickups of ХТ-2 never ignited, except for Australians, but similar trucks were honored there even in the most difficult times. But this particular truck laid the foundation of some design solutions, which later appeared in American Chevrolets until the end of 20th century. So, it did not appear for nothing.

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