Some concept cars are made to be a one off and never meant to be fully operational. Some concept cars are meant to go from concept to full production. Then you have the 1986 Chevy Corvette Indy concept car that was a little bit of both.
While the first version of the concept car was indeed just a show car and thus non operational, after the auto shows were over, Chevy made two fully operational models of the concept; one to show off and one to study and learn from. Therefore some of the more technical features that were hinted at on the original concept were actually put into practice on the next two models that ran.
One such feature was the all new adjustable hydraulic suspension which would respond in an instant to the variations provided by the road. This made all the conventional suspension parts such as shocks, struts, and stabilizer bars obsolete and the car lighter as a result.
Also new for the concept was two CRT displays. One display showed what was behind the vehicle as the Corvette Indy concept car didn’t have side view mirrors. The other showed the driver operational data and even included a navigation system (though the satellite to make the navigation system work was not in space at that time).
Still being developed was a drive by wire system, four wheel steering, and traction control. While it was being refined, the engineers at Chevy did leave room for the parts to be retrofitted as they became available.
The body style was taken partially from racing Vettes though many said the body looked like the Camaro concept car that had come out three years prior. This Vette’s body was made of a carbon fiber and Nomex composite and had a carbon fiber torque tube which acted as the car’s backbone. The doors pivoted up and forward like the Lamborghini Countach so that drivers could supposedly get in and out without a lot of strain.
But it was the power plant of this concept car that caught the most attention. This concept was for a mid engine Corvette, something that the engineers at Chevy had been trying to put to use for some time. The experimental engine was a 5.7 liter all aluminum V-8 with 32 values and would be very similar to the eventual powerhouse of the ZR1 Corvette. With double overhead cams and fuel injection that was sequential the engine was expected to propel the concept Vette at speeds in excess of 180 miles per hour. Early estimates had the Vette doing 0 to 60 miles per hour in less than five seconds.
For all its flare and all its acclaim the 1986 Chevy Corvette Indy concept car proved to just that; a concept. Though many had hoped it would become the future of the Vette it simply was not meant to be. However, there were many applications taken out of the Indy concept that were indeed implemented into the next generation of the Vette as well as other GM models. Once again it seemed that Chevy only teased with its prototype, but seeing as how each running prototype cost half a million to build, they probably wouldn’t have sold all that well anyway.