Just as they did when they announced the all-new, mid-engine 2020 C8 (eighth generation) Corvette in July, on both the West and the East Coasts of the U.S., once again Chevrolet held simultaneous reveals of the first-ever, hardtop Corvette convertible. The East Coast reveal was in Florida, while the West Coast reveal was at The Motoring Club – a new social club for car enthusiasts, hidden away in a non-descript industrial building. Fittingly, The Motoring Club is a place where Los Angelenos store their high-performance cars for safekeeping, bringing them out to drive. We were told that Chevrolet was the first car manufacturer to be there.
When we arrived, the car was completely covered. A countdown clock projected the time remaining until the reveal, on a nearby screen. We milled about, snacking on drinks and hors d’oeuvres, as we wondered and speculated upon what Chevrolet had in store for us.
In the meantime, a beautiful, white, vintage Corvette convertible held our attention and served as the subject of many photographs.
Shortly before the reveal, we were introduced to two representatives of the Corvette’s interior and exterior design teams. The excitement was palpable, as we all crowded in ever-closer to the hidden car, eager to take our first photographs of it.
Soon the countdown clock reached zero and the car cover was removed, revealing a beautiful orange Corvette Stingray.
After we finished taking our first round of frenzied photographs, eager to post them on social media before the 5 p.m. release of the full press materials to the public, the design team representatives walked around the car, giving us an insightful overview of its design features and answering our questions.
For the exterior, key Corvette features and the traditional Corvette athletic proportions were kept. It is quite different from the coupe in that when the top is down, nacelles visually bridge the interior and the exterior. That is integrated with a powerful-looking vent that extracts a lot of heat out of the engine. The nacelles keep air recirculation out of the interior when the top is down.
From the very beginning, a great deal of effort was put into making the car look just as spectacular when the top is down as when it is up.
One nice thing about putting the engine in the middle is that it brings the cowl so low that you see much of the interior from the outside. That is not something that you would necessarily think about, but when they were designing it they actually had to walk around, making sure that there was just as much excitement generated, making you want to get inside and see something exotic that you’ve never experienced before.
On the interior side, they were trying to keep the dash as low as possible. If the screen was in the center, your climate controls would go up, so they had to come up with a new engineering way to move those controls. What they came up with was very cool, very jet-inspired, to help keep the dashboard as low as possible.
Everything in the interior is real materials. They wanted to do away with any of the plastics, so it’s all real leather, real aluminum, real carbon fiber. Everything you touch has been thought about, to make sure it is a really rich and inviting experience. When you’re coming to the game with an exotic, hyper car, you have to really deliver on all those little experiences and make sure that you’re going above and beyond what people are normally going to expect.
There is less than 80 pounds of difference to the coupe, so performance numbers will be very close. Furthermore, they did not lose any of the practicality and storage from the coupe to the convertible, even though the top folds down. That was a key design objective.
The two-piece top can be activated at speeds up to 30 mph. That may be the fastest speed of any manufacturer, for activating a retractable hardtop.
Incredibly, the convertible will be priced only $7,500 more than the entry 1LT Stingray coupe.
For more information, go to www.chevrolet.com and click on the Upcoming tab.
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Copyright © 2019 by Jan Wagner – AutoMatters & More #611