The 1986 Chevrolet Corvette Indy concept car design was great in theory, but it wasn't until the operative Indy, which emerged after the show car made its rounds, that some of its technical ideas were put into practice.
One feature was the automatic adjusting hydraulic suspension, which responded almost instantly to alter compliance in response to varying road and driving conditions. Also included were CRT displays. One atop the instrument panel displayed what was "seen" by the rear-view video camera that replaced mirrors.
A driver's message screen showed operating data. An Etak navigation system was available for use, even if the satellite to provide the necessary signals wasn't yet ready to deliver.
Still under development were the drive-by-wire system, traction control, and four-wheel steering. But provision was made for retrofitting for all of these high-tech extras at a later date.
The Chevrolet Corvette Indy's body was made of carbon fiber/Nomex composite, with a carbon fiber torque tube "backbone." Scissors-style doors, like those on the Lamborghini Countach, pivoted up and forward to allow drivers to enter without too much strain.
Under the ready-to-roll Indy's engine cover was an experimental all-aluminum 5.7-liter (350 cid) V-8 with 32 valves, code named 350/32, not dissimilar to what would later power the "King of the Hill" Corvette ZR-1. Since Lotus had been involved with the development of both, that's not exactly a surprise.
The engine had double overhead camshafts, sequential fuel injection, and 16 exposed intake runners. Driving all four wheels was a modified 1974-85 Oldsmobile Toronado automatic transaxle.
Hitting the ground were 275/40ZR17 tires up front, and 315/35ZR17 in the rear. Seldom were you likely to see tires with a designation that started with the number "3." That was big. In fact, each one looked more like a pair of tires side-by-side than a single gripper. Their wheels measured a full foot wide, machined from a chunk of solid aluminum.
Ready to run, this Chevrolet Corvette Indy was expected to manage a top speed of 180 miles an hour and reach 60 mph in less than five seconds.
If wishes were pennies, car lovers would have taken a jar-full and asked for a drive in this all-out example of Corvette capabilities -- and then wished that the Bowling Green, Kentucky, plant would have produce the real thing for real drivers.
Since each prototype took a good half-million dollars to develop, that might have been asking too much; but at least one could dream. Chevrolet called the car a "running vision of the future." As that future became reality for the Corvette, this Indy concept car gave us a glimpse of dreams to come.
Go to the next page to see 1986 Chevrolet Corvette Indy concept car specifications.