This is the only known photo of the Interceptor showcar showing the suspension.
While it was basically built on a stretched Mustang floorpan, there is actually much more to it than that.
The Interceptor has an SLA front suspension instead of the Mustang’s antiquated struts.
And look carefully – in the rear it has the IRS that was developed for the Mustang from the start – but cut for cost purposes at the last moment.
The Interceptor was built for more than show – it’s an engineering evaluation project for one potential rear wheel drive production vehicle. The other alternative is the Australian Falcon replacement coming up in a year.
You’ll notice that the front suspension is neatly done – tucked close to the frame to allow big tires no interference with the engine. The lower arm is aluminum and the upper is an iron alloy common to suspension components (you’ve seen it before in the SN95 IRS upper arms).
And the rear IRS has a nice big lower control arm, in aluminum, and with broad mounting points. It’s an SLA type again, rather than the cheaper (but perhaps more robust) trailing arm type (recently adopted by the Explorer and Expedition).
These same components were also used for the Lincoln MKR showcar.
So this is nice, and brings the S197 chassis into the 21st century. The big question is, of course, when will we see it? Or if. With little engineering budget, a looming bankruptcy, with a limited market, and with CAFE increases looming – will a rear wheel drive 4-door platform ever see the light of day at Ford of North America again?
GM has already put it’s own platform of this type on hold, except for the Camaro program (already too far along) and the imported Pontiac (from Australia). That platform was to have been used for a new Impala, as well as an unnamed Buick program. Those are now on hold.