Sunday, April 01, 2007

Can Your Rampside Do This? The Corvair AGL-4

My mind does the strangest things while I'm online - today, for instance, it steered me to a site on that blissfully bizarre military transporter, the M561 Gama Goat. What I ended up finding was footage of perhaps the sweetest Corvair prototype I've EVER seen (bar the Monza GT and SS, of course...). GamaGoat.com features a sales presentation for the AGL-4 (embedded below), perhaps the most capable Corvair 95 pickup ever built by GM.

Born in the early 1960s, AGL-4 was GM's stab at a 4wd, articulated cargo hauler. Albeit the exact history is unknown, the "Research Defense Laboratories" title suggests this project may have been pushed by Uncle Sam to replace that ubiquitous Willys/Ford product. The result: an articulated tilt-cab pickup, capable of scaling some apparently rigorous terrain. Defense Research Labs didn't have a good eye for marketing; you'll note none of the scenarios pictured in the film resemble warfare in any sort.

No further specifics on how this project transformed from the sweet semi-rigid you see here to that awkward six-wheel-drive creature the U.S. Army suffered with for ages. Interestingly, early Gama Goat prototypes did use the air-cooled Corvair mill for power, but the only piece of powertrain sourced from the General for production was the Detroit Diesel 3-53.


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