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1996 Ford Indigo Concept
Indigo means more than the color of this 1996 Ford concept. It also relates to Ford's more than 260 Indy car victories - 17 of them at Indianapolis. This Indigo is pronounced "Indy-Go".
Indigo is a fast track concept developed to evaluate both technical concepts and market acceptance of a street roadster inspired by modern open wheel race cars. Built by Reynard using racing car techniques and materials, Indigo is powered by a 48-valve 6-liter V-12 engine which doubled the specifications of the 3-liter Taurus SHO V-6 and uses the Taurus SHO connecting rods, pistons and valve gear. Intake ports are an experimental "tumble-port" design that creates intake charge disturbances at low rpm for improved throttle response and torque.
Indigo uses a Reynard sequential shift 6-speed transaxle with electronically-regulated hydraulic shifting controlled by buttons on the steering wheel. Suspension is by racing-style parallel wishbones and pushrod-actuated chassis mounted coil-over shock units. The Indigo concept's rear suspension is contemporary race car practice with the wishbones mounted to the transaxle. At the front its wider 2-seat tub require shorter wishbones. The driver steers Indigo through an electric power steering unit.
The Indigo chassis is formed of a carbon fiber-aluminum honeycomb structure, widened in the front and through the passenger compartment. Exterior panels are a mixture of carbon fiber and glass fiber reinforced with Nomex. Radiators are placed in the sides with wide air intake ducts which provides cooling air. The Indigo concept's style is an innovative application of clearly identifiable open wheel racing car style. A black front wing crosses above the low pointed nose between the tightly-wrapped cycle style fenders. The body sweeps up from the nose across the passenger compartment in a dramatic wedge shape to form the rear wing behind the engine cover and its two peaked headrests. Fuel fillers are aircraft-style flush caps. There is no doubt of the Indigo concept's race car-inspired origin.
Indigo lighting is highly unusual. Because of the low and narrow nose the Indigo headlights are lodged in the outside rear view mirror housings. A pair of supplemental driving lights are located in the ends of the front wing. The rear lights are neatly integrated in the rear body corners. Most of the Indigo concept's lighting requirements are supplied by a high-efficiency central light source and routed to the light locations by fiber optic light pipes.
Ford created one complete functional Indigo which was extensively tested and demonstrated. In the course of the project, managed by Ford's New Concepts Organization, two non-working full size Indigo concepts were constructed which were used to gauge market acceptance and to fulfill show commitments.
It is these two Indigo concepts that are offered here.