Suspended in dark, grainy newsreel footage like the Florida Skunk Ape or a Kraken, we know this creature actually existed even if no one seems to know where it is now. Developed by the General Motors Defense Research Laboratory in Santa Barbara, California as a Chevrolet Corvair-powered proof-of-concept for a military or agricultural implement, this is the Articulated General Purpose Logistical Truck, otherwise known as the AGL-4 or "Agile."

Stressing utility, economy and mobility, under its cab is a Corvair engine sending power to a PowerGlide transmission and on to all four wheels via a driveshaft that can be decoupled. The ability to split things up means that the nine-foot cargo bed can be swapped out for another load unit or implement, the two-wheeled cab moving from one to the other with the help of a pair of fore and aft training wheels. Speaking of wheels, the front set don't turn on a steering rack, they are locked in position with the cab and rotate independently to change direction.

The 15-foot pickup on 44-inch tires was a serious piece of kit, rated for a 1.25-ton payload, rocking 20 degrees of roll angle between cab and bed and able to sashay up a 60-percent grade. It lived and died as a concept, though, GM opting against production. We'd like to know where it is or what happened to it, so if you know, give us a clue in Comments. You can watch it jiggle and strut in the video below.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 21 Comments
      kesando
      • 9 Months Ago
      Wow. Why didn't GM build this?
        Vinny
        • 9 Months Ago
        @kesando
        GM designed some unique vehicles, but the 'honchos' with the company were too backward to do anything. One of their best designed was tthe rugged full chassis Buick Roadmaster Wagon they discontinued in 1996. They upped the power to a Corvette engined hauler that even today can out perform just about aanything on the road. The nearly 5,000 lb wagon got 27 mpg on the highway and could seat eight people. Then GM got the 'economy' religion yet their little boxes today can't match the big old wagons they produced nearly 25 years ago.
          kipswork
          • 9 Months Ago
          @Vinny
          I do, in fact, own and drive a 96 road master wagon. In some ways, it is the finest vehicle I've ever owned. In others, not so much. Yes they were rated 17/27mpg, but the reality is more like 14/22. Still, not too bad. Yes, they seat 8 adults comfortably with seat belts. Yes, the A/C is cold enough to make snow cones with. They do NOT weigh 5000lbs, more like 4300. Fast? Not bad, but not jaw dropping. The rear gear is so high (2.71) to reach that highway mpg number that it's turning something like 1500rpm at 60. This makes it a little pokey. Witness the Impala SS, whose only substantive difference is weight and the rear gear. Even so, the Roadmaster will blaze the tires whenever you like. Comfortable? Oh god, yes. Heated red leather, vault-like quiet. Designed to hold sheets of 4x8, and tow rating is a truck-like 7000lbs. Nice.
          The2ofus
          • 9 Months Ago
          @Vinny
          Even today can outperform just about anything on the road? Really? LOL How many HP did this supposedly 27MPG 5000lb wagon have? Think about everything you said there...lol
          foamypirate
          • 9 Months Ago
          @Vinny
          The2ofus, The 96' Roadmaster Wagons used the LT1 5.7L V8, 260 HP, 335 lb-ft of torque. No slouch for the time, and will still beat MANY cars off the line due to the torque and deep first gear of the 4L60E. So yes, where it counts on the "street" (stop light to stop light), it will still beat many cars.
        J Derek Mitchell
        • 9 Months Ago
        @kesando
        Military didn't pick up the contract and the price would have been out of reach for general public that would have wanted it. Same as a lot of these type of design study vehicles. Jeep has taken a few to MOAB the last few years and had over whelming response to build them but they would be low volume so not enough profit for the company. Same reason you can't get a stripped out Wrangler with all the Rubicon hardware.
          Doug Danzeisen Sr
          • 9 Months Ago
          @J Derek Mitchell
          In reality its hard to make a statement that it would have been uneconomical without viewing some of the hard financial numbers. The drivetrain was a done deal and do you really think GM would have had any trouble in producing the bodies in sufficient quantities? I don't the Corvair was already a unibody structure and GM had Fisher Body in house as well.
      Andrew Pappas
      • 9 Months Ago
      Proof that Corvair = awesome and Nader can diaf.
      Doug Danzeisen Sr
      • 9 Months Ago
      Too bad it never saw the light of day. We might have a whole lot of different and more economical trucks today if it had caught on.
      BlackandMild
      • 9 Months Ago
      My parents had a corvair and I loved that car!!! It was like a little tank that could handle even 1.5 feet of snow like it was nothing-
      MrJim
      • 9 Months Ago
      The CEOs of Chevrolet have historically been a bunch of elderly inept fools. They would deliberately sabotage projects in their own company to keep them from seeing the light of day if their ancient ways of thinking had anything to do with it. This could have been the next big thing in the automobile industry and surely company politics killed it. Just like the Fiero that we all know as one of the biggest flops in automotive history, but only because the CEO did not like having another small sports car that could hinder the sales of the Corvette. (Seriously? Let's make one of our cars have the worst reputation in automotive history to preserve the sales of our other car?) The engineer of that car was way beyond his years in so many of the concepts. The mid engine that could be dropped on its own mini chasis for repairs. They had even envisioned being able to pull in, swap out to a temp motor, go about your business while they repaired your motor or transmission, and then you pulled back in, swapped into your own motor and drive out again. The plastic color molded body parts that did not dent or ding. A nick only led to a small depression of the exact same color. The roomy interior handled people of all sizes well. GM Execs, decided to remove funding way into the project, so the builder had to use whatever parts were available. The engines were fitted with oil pan that held one court too little, causing the engines to overheat. The tires, brakes, and suspension components were carried over from other GM economy cars (like the Chevrolet Citation and Chevrolet Chevette). Despite GM Executive's best efforts, the 1984 Fiero was named as one of Car and Driver's top ten best cars. The Fiero edged out Corvette as the pace car for the Indianapolis 500 for 1984. It was not long before the doomed car was plagued with engine fires and other serious mechanical issues brought about by the corporate cost restraints instituted by GM Execs. The car was retooled in 1988 with proper parts bringing it back to its original specs once again. GM Execs acting on already existing press reviews, stopped production the same year. The car never had a chance. Coming back to the GM AGL-4. If you compare the Humvee which was a radically different and capable offroad machine, the Execs at GM would have most certainly have overpriced the AGL-4 so that only Government contracts or the very elite could ever afford it. Looking at the Humvee, it is ridiculous to see what they did eventually to that vehicle to justify the outrageous prices on the public market. Originally, that rig could go anywhere, do anything. The pimped out latest versions have under powered engines, significantly downgraded suspension and drivetrains. Yet, they have all the bells and whistles. The rare person who can afford the top of the line, looks like a idiot with all of the light bars, chromed out grills, pimped out wheels, etc. GM lost its way long ago.
        BlackandMild
        • 9 Months Ago
        @MrJim
        Agree! Well said- The next time GM takes a nose dive, it will be an actual crash. I see this writing is already on the wall with the price increases on product that is only warmed over and designs that are not appealing such as the new Silverado pickup and Tahoe. The new forthcoming F-150 looks great and will have an automatic fuel/weight savings with an aluminum body. GM was more innovative when there was little to no technology, drafting boards and back breaking manufacturing processes, vs. today, there is more technology and robotics, and no innovation.
      DevonSowell
      • 9 Months Ago
      can't use Corvair air cooled engine, powerslide transmission, & heavy duty in the same sentence
        al_bartlett
        • 9 Months Ago
        @DevonSowell
        Powerglides still being used in drag racers and the air cooled Corvair engine worked very well. I had both auto and standard shift Corvairs and didn't have any problems. Great cars.
        Norm Witte
        • 9 Months Ago
        @DevonSowell
        Why not? Rampsides were rated at 3/4 ton. http://www.corvair.org/chapters/corvanatics/rampside.php
      Roger Smith
      • 9 Months Ago
      Not the greatest company and innovative anymore,more like a re-label of creations from Korea or China because they give up America,why? Just to make money for the big executives,love Corvair,the way is design,build the way they handle,drive and look,the Vega wasn't the most reliable car but bring design and classic style to the small import crow,then the worst,Citation and every car build upon that platform ,Buick century,Cuttlas Sierra,Cadillac with a V8 and 120hp,last for almost 30 years with not a single update,then Isuzu,the cooperate but stole the ideas on how to build a real god Diesel engine and let the company die in USA (the new Colorado is proff Isuzu build better cars,check what a D-Max build in Thailand is),the Geo mess,Saturn mess why don't spend money on Oldsmobile instead they got Saab,why not get a better guys to design and create better cars here in USA,then they got with china S.A.I.C. To got Daewoo,witch build the CUV from Saturn VUE to Chevrolet Traverse hanks to Ssan Young in Korea,thank good every move is coming out this days and even if Toyota is the king of recalls,they know how to build and put together better cars that last for generations and not just inUSA but around the globe,Sorry for those fans that think the XTS is a luxury car and no one is buying them!
        john96xlt
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Roger Smith
        ",more like a re-label of creations from Korea or China because they give up America,why?" That's gotta be the stupidest thing I've ever read. At least until I made it part of the way through the rest of your ill written post. You're the last person to complain of anybody else's quality issues. GM owns Daewoo (now GM Korea), it assigns small car development to them with GM goals, standards, and design language parameters in place, and then produces the developed product world wide with GM engines in GM plants, much like Ford did with Mazda (and by extension, Kia) in the '90s. As for China, it'd be pretty sad for GM to "rebadge" a typical (as in, non GM-developed) Chinese vehicle and sell it as a GM product elsewhere. That is *not* what is happening. I'd take a admittedly terrible Cobalt over a non-GM developed Chinese car. That's like saying that Toyota is now selling a "rebadged" Taurus as a Camry, since it grew quite a bit to compete with Taurus in the US from what it originally was when built exclusively in Japan, and was now produced in the US like its main competition. So, I guess a newer American-built Camry is just a "rebadged" Taurus then, isn't it? That's the truth according to your twisted logic. I find it funny that you praise Toyota for building products "around the globe" and then criticize GM for doing the same thing. "To got Daewoo,witch build the CUV from Saturn VUE to Chevrolet Traverse hanks to Ssan Young in Korea" You really shouldn't switch from your other handle when spouting the same lies (Daewoo builds the Traverse?!) and ill-written sentences. It makes you really look like the troll you are. The Traverse and other Lambda platform vehicles were developed in-house by GM in the US, and are *all* built in the US. It was derived from the Epsilon platform (Chevy Malibu, Fiat Chroma, Saab 9-3, and later versions, the current XTS and Impala), which originally came from GM division Opel and was developed somewhat with Fiat. So, if you want to point fingers as to the Traverse's "non-American" origins (?!) then blame Fiat, not Daewoo, for what became a highly successful GM product in a fast-growing segment. The VUE was a rebadged Opel, which was developed with GM Korea in a joint venture with Opel in Germany. So, at worst, it's a German/Korean half breed that was built in North America. "the new Colorado is proff Isuzu build better cars,check what a D-Max build in Thailand is" Isuzu played a larger role in the highly lamented i-series/first gen Colorado/Canyon. They were mediocre at best. The new 2014 US Colorado/Canyon is much more GM than it is Isuzu, so that's "proff" as well that you're fulloshit. Isuzu also played a large role in the development of the Trailblazer and it's twins, all of which were crap compared to Explorer and Grand Cherokee.
      SloopJohnB
      • 9 Months Ago
      This kind of reminds me of the GamaGoat that eventually came to pass.
      hn376rar
      • 9 Months Ago
      Wow, an amazing piece of GM history! This thing (If one still exists) belongs at their Heritage Museum in Warren, MI.
      rsholland
      • 9 Months Ago
      One of GM's best ideas that went nowhere. :( We see some articulated chassis vehicles, but they are very specialized. Would love to see this idea looked at again.
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