1987 Chevrolet Blazer XT-1 concept scale GMC-version modelAs the picture to the right attests, a GMC iteration did in fact exist; at least so far as the scale model stage.

In lieu of the fact that I forgot to ask, there is reason to believe its name was Pegasus. Though that picture has no identifiers and the files from GM didn’t allude to anything, the title “Pegasus” can be seen, below.

1987 Chevrolet Blazer XT-1 concept sketch Pegasus 1987 Chevrolet Blazer XT-1 concept sketch Pegasus

But, is it the Chevy or GMC? It appears to wear the wheels used for the XT-1 but in the undated photo below left, there is an early stage full-size model that appears to be brand neutral, and it is wearing the XT-1’s rims as well.

1987 Chevrolet Blazer XT-1 concept clay modelAccording to literature GM provided to me, the XT-1 was designed not by Chevrolet but by a team from General Motors Truck and Bus Group Advanced Vehicle Engineering (okay, that’s a mouthful). Further, it was styled not by Chevrolet but by General Motors Design Staff.

Either way, it wound up wearing a bow tie–a pre-standardization red one. And GMC got a brand-specific concept, the Centaur, the following year. It never really occurred to me that the Centaur is newer than the XT-1 until I was writing this. I guess I’d always cataloged it in my mind as being several years older. No denigration to GMC’s work; the Centaur’s mission was to explore future prospects in the uncharted territories of the pickup segment.

Chevy said the XT-1 was built to develop advanced concepts, technologies, and features with the hopes of applying some of that knowledge to future products. The stated design goal was “to offer the sport utility buyer of the future an on-road/off-road passenger truck with aerodynamic styling, applied high-technology chassis and powertrain systems, and an advanced, multiplexed electrical/electronic system.”

Here are a couple shots of some interior design work where that multiplexing system would be most evident, including a Styrofoam and cardboard mockup of the button-riddled steering wheel semi-circle.

1987 Chevrolet Blazer XT-1 concept model work interior 1987 Chevrolet Blazer XT-1 concept model work interior

The five thumbnails below are photos taken during what appears to be a mold making process. I think I’ve put them in an appropriate order; there was no documentation so I can’t be certain.

1987 Chevrolet Blazer XT-1 concept model work exterior 1987 Chevrolet Blazer XT-1 concept model work exterior 1987 Chevrolet Blazer XT-1 concept model work exterior 1987 Chevrolet Blazer XT-1 concept model work exterior 1987 Chevrolet Blazer XT-1 concept model work exterior

So now I’ve prattled on for some time and haven’t discussed the truck part of this equation. The XT-1 may have a purdy finish but it’s plenty capable. In fact, each of its four wheels are capable of traveling 10 inches, thanks in part to fully independent suspension.

If you looked closely at some of the dashboard shots you might remember that the suspension can be remotely configured via buttons handily found on the pod to the right of the steering semi-circle, while a button at its center activates relevant suspension information on the CRT.

1987 Chevrolet Blazer XT-1 concept profile leftGround clearance varies; the off-road setting provides 11.2 inches but setting it to highway can reduce that by three inches; main benefits being maximizing aerodynamics and high-speed handling. The XT-1 also has a “four-corner leveling” feature that Chevy described as useful for carrying heavy payloads–no word on how much weight it is rated to carry or tow. The actual springs are longitudinal torsion bars at the front and rear.

The XT-1 had the ability to complete a circle within a 14-foot radius, that’s slightly less than the vehicle is long. That radius is also almost four feet less than a new Toyota Corolla is capable of.

The two pictures directly below are from the same photo shoot but one graphically demonstrates how the XT-1 can carve such amazingly tight circles.

1987 Chevrolet Blazer XT-1 concept profile left 1987 Chevrolet Blazer XT-1 concept front left

Yes, the picture above right shows both the front and rear wheels turned. It’s not an entirely foreign concept to people today but in 1987 it was still rather exotic. I’m sure complexity and costs kept the feature from ever becoming a mainstream offering on production vehicles but it really is a holy grail for maneuverability.

In the XT-1’s case, each wheel can be individually controlled, depending on what the situation calls for. There is a 24-volt servo electric motor fitted to each steering rack, front and rear. With some electronic wizardry Chevy digitally synthesized steering feedback. The literature stated that tactile inputs from a conventional steering system were not only simulated but improved upon. Further benefits of the electric system is the ability to adjust the level of steering effort and have power-assist even when the engine is shut down.

1980s vintage Chevy truck logoAdding more truck to the convergence with technology, the XT-1 is equipped with a four-wheel drive system that features full-time/part-time operation. Under the latter setting, as with many modern systems, the truck’s computer decides what the current conditions call for and automatically engages four-wheel drive when needed. The mechanics of switching from two- to four-wheel drive is accomplished in “less than half a second.” Going from high to low range is carried out with the push of a button and the computer decides when the speed is sufficiently slow enough to make the transition.

1987 Chevrolet Blazer XT-1 concept front leftThe XT-1 also features traction control, another common feature today. That system is based on the XT-1’s anti-lock braking system which can apply brake pressure to wheels that are managing less traction.

Motivating this sleek pod is a “special all alloy version” of Chevy’s 4.3-liter V6 which was debuting on Chevy’s 1988 Astro Van and all-new full-size pickups (in addition to the GMC counterparts) under the legendary Vortec name. One of the development team’s goals was “to engineer a V6 powerplant for the XT-1 that would deliver the horsepower and torque of a V8, with the mass and fuel efficiency of an in-line four cylinder motor.” The final product delivered 202 horsepower at 5000 rpm and 250 pound-feet of torque at 2500 rpm.

The XT-1 always seemed to be one of those mythical concepts that was spotted only occasionally, sort of like Sasquatch. So, I hope you enjoyed this write-up and that it helped to demystify things a bit. I know it did for me.

As usual, a tremendous thanks to the GM Heritage Center.

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