This is an installment in a series of posts looking back on show cars that we feel deserved a little more attention than they got. If you have a suggestion for a Forgotten Concept topic, please shoot us a line or leave a comment below.
First Seen: 1986 Detroit Auto Show
Description: High-technology sports car
Sales Pitch: “A design without limit”
First shown at the 1986 Detroit Auto Show, the Corvette Indy Concept featured exotic-material construction and a number of high-tech drivetrain and electronic features. The mid-engine concept featured a body and tub constructed of carbon fiber and Kevlar. Power came from a small-displacement, Indycar-style powerplant: a twin-turbocharged 2.7-liter V8 that put out 600 horsepower and was mated to an AWD system augmented by traction control. Additional mechanical sophistication came by way of a Lotus-supplied active-ride-control system and 4-wheel steering. Interior highlights included a rearview camera, satellite navigation system, and drive-by-wire steering.
Multiple versions of the concept car were ultimately built, and eventually the small-displacement V8 gave way to a DOHC 5.7-liter V8 engine developed by Lotus. With that powerplant, the Corvette Indy was claimed to reach 60 mph from a stop in six seconds flat and approach a top speed of 180 mph.
Brought to fruition by then General Motors Design Vice President Chuck Jordan, the Corvette Indy Concept was a product of the Chevrolet Engineering Research Vehicle (CERV) project. The first CERV vehicle was developed in 1959 by then Corvette lead engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov.
To the dismay of Chevrolet Corvette fans, the Corvette Indy Concept did not prove to be a harbinger of a mid-engine Corvette—at least not for the sport car’s next full redesign, which would not arrive until the 1997 model year. The Corvette did finally go mid-engine for 2020, with Chevrolet enjoying significant renewed interest in its flagship performance car as a result.
I really like the look of the red concept. Sadly, the smooth, contoured look is passé these days, as everything sporty and fast now apparently must feature jet-fighter like faceting and sharply creased edges.
Fun fact: The Lotus-developed 5.7-liter V8 found in the Indy Concept would soon find its way into a production Corvette: the then outrageously fast Corvette ZR-1, which debuted for 1990.
(Click below for enlarged images)