The Corvair may have been “unsafe at any speed” for some, but to many automotive enthusiasts, it was an engineering tour de force that exemplified everything that was right with General Motors–unconventional motor and suspension in an unconventional market niche for a thoroughly conventional America. This also was true for the Corvair 95 (aka Corvan), a forward-control vehicle that joined the Corvair passenger car in its second year. It also served as the springboard for the AGL-4, an experimental truck developed by General Motors in the early/mid-1960s.
The AGL-4 (Articulated General-Purpose Logistical Truck–think “agile”) video below was produced by General Motors Defense Research Laboratories in Santa Barbara, CA. A Marine Corp air station, National Reserve center, Camp Cook, and Vandenberg Air Force Base were in the vicinity, so it stood to reason that this Corvair-powered all-terrain 4×4 was built for military plus agriculture use. Unlike the Corvair, its engine is in an unconventional place–it’s in the front, under the cab. Power was sent to Chevrolet’s two-speed Powerglide automatic and transmitted through a driveshaft that could be decoupled. Modular functionality allowed different beds to be interchanged, with an accessory dolly rig developed to support the cab when separated from the bed.
General Motors’ motivating objectives for the AGL-4 were utility, economy, and mobility. At 15 feet long, with 44-inch tires, and rated for a 1-1/4-ton payload, its versatility would have served itself well on both a farm and a military base, but GM decided to not pursue the AGL-4 for production. Like any experimental vehicle, the principles learned through this concept were likely applied later in subsequent vehicles that eventually reached production.