My Car Quest

November 19, 2019

Corvette Hardtop Convertible

Delete the word “ragtop” from your Corvette vocabulary….

by Wallace Wyss –

2020 Corvette ragtop? Fohget about it, pilgrim. It’s official. It’s a hardtop convertible. And it’s about 20% different than the coupe in styling, a nudge toward more exotic since top down it more resembles some mid-engine exotics from Italy (dare we mention in the same breath the 488 Ferrari spyder?)

Chevrolet introduced the variation on the 2020 Corvette in Cape Canaveral, Florida, on Wednesday. Corvettes have always had a convertible but this one is a high tech convertible.

Chevrolet Corvette

The two tone treatment for the nacelles (blisters)

The completely retractable hardtop stows behind the passenger compartment. The convertible option will be offered on the Corvette as a $7,500 jump over the standard $59,995 model. This was not some conversion from the coupe but designed from the ground up so it should have the same structural integrity.

They claimed they kept the same design theme as the coupe, plus the same storage capacity and track capability, but one thing missing is the see-through engine cover that touted what engine you had.

Chevrolet Corvette

Top up

The reason they lost that is that the hardtop section that is moved from over your head “nests” under a lifting rear lid between two aircraft-inspired blisters, where on the coupe the engine is displayed in all its grandeur.

Chevrolet is promising the rear cargo space can still hold two golf bags (why is it always golf bags? Why don’t they ever say it will hold four AR-15s? Just asking…)

One controversial part to me is the lumps on the rear deck which strongly resemble the flying buttresses on the convertible Ferrari 458 or Lamborghini Huracan.

Speed of the retraction is important to some people and whether you can put the top down without stopping (why the latter is important seems to me to be the ultimate in impatience…)

They are saying the top retracts in 16 seconds at speeds of up to 30 mph.

Chevrolet Corvette

A body-colored roof is standard; but pay extra and you can get “Carbon Flash” metallic-painted nacelles (exactly what color is that anyway, looks like black to me in the pictures) and roof are optional.

You wonder if the convertible will breathe better, as now that it’s not trapped under glass, there are new vents on the rear deck.

Corvette designers were careful to design the convertible to resist engine heat with minimal air-resistance. Don’t worry about increased drag with the top up, they are claiming the same aero number whether the top is up or down.

The 2020 Corvette Stingray coupe was scheduled to go into production in Bowling Green, Kentucky, later this year with the convertible following in the late first quarter of 2020 (presuming of course they settle with the UAW). This Corvette convertible will be seen in the UK as it will be offered with right-hand drive.

DESIGN CRITIQUE

FRONT: Convertible looks no different

SIDE: Nacelles or blister headrest fairings as I call them look “full” from side. I like the body colored ones better. I think similar to the ’05-’06 Ford GTs, what color you order will affect resale value later (as on the Ford GT’s those that spent $13,000 extra to get the Gulf Heritage color scheme can sell their Ford GTs for $100,000 more!)

Chevrolet Corvette

Corvette hardtop deployed and un-deployed

REAR: There’s where I am a wee bit dis-satisfied in that the blisters are only story of half blisters, as the facing center sections are not as full as the outside, this is because they need some width to get the lid up and down. The good part is that they get rid of the fastback rear window which to me is a little bizarre in the frame shape, with a dip at the top and a point at the bottom as if it was influenced by 1920’s art deco which itself was influenced by Egypt-mania after the discovery of King Tut’s tomb.

REAR: Little confusing in that the ventilation slots look like the front air scoop on some earlier Corvette.

IN SUM: Another nail in the coffin for V8 powered Ferrari and Lamborghini convertibles. There is no way they can justify their prices when Chevrolet can offer virtually the same performance and similar styling at a fraction of the price.

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

Wallace Wyss

 
 
 
 
 
THE AUTHOR: Wallace Wyss, a former Corvette ad copywriter, has been a guest lecturer on car design history at the Art Center College of Design.

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

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Summary
Corvette Hardtop Convertible
Article Name
Corvette Hardtop Convertible
Description
Chevrolet is promising the rear cargo space can still hold two golf bags - why is it always golf bags?
Author

Comments

  1. At 60 -70k price point its hard to nit pick anything on these cars.

  2. wallace wyss says

    The Acura NSX is $157,500 . Its goose is cooked

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