It’s the end of April and that means it’s time for the annual Bash event at the National Corvette Museum. The NCM Bash is one of our favorite shows of the year as it’s where we find out all the latest models and options for the new 2018 Corvette.
Despite the fact that the Corvette Team released all the information two weeks ago with the official 2018 Corvette Order Guide and the introduction of the new limited edition Carbon 65 package, the NCM Bash Event (sponsored by our friends at Michelin) is the place where we get to see and touch the new models first as well as catch up with the Corvette Team on everything that has happened in the last year.
Well, almost everything.
The cat is out of the bag on the new 2018 Corvette ZR1 with videos of the cars showing up nearly daily now from their testing at the Nurburgring. The Corvette Team refused to go there and usually shut down any discussions of future products with “next question”. Corvette Chief Engineer Tadge Juechter reminded the crowd that any discussion of future products was a violation of their employment contracts and is a firing offense, so there was no comments at all from the Corvette Team about the ZR1 or the mid engine C8 Corvette.
So with that in mind, let’s get to it!
The presentation of the “What’s New with the 2018 Corvette” was hosted by Chief Engineer Tadge Juechter, Corvette product manager Harlan Charles and Interior Design Manager Ryan Vaughn.
Tadge started the seminar with a recap of all the great press clippings garnered in the last year by the 2017 Corvette Grand Sport, the latest offering in the C7 Corvette line up. Tadge also recounted his experience with meeting Vice President (and Corvette owner) Joe Biden at the North American International Auto Show back in January. Tadge also touched on the success of the Corvette Racing team as they surpassed 100 Wins during the 2016 season.
Harlan took the mic next and spent some time going through the sales figures and penetration of options on the 2017 Corvettes through April of this year. For the model year (as of April 4), a total of 29,749 Corvettes have been produced. The breakdown of production is 41% Stingray (12,121), 38% Grand Sport (11,215) and 22% Z06 (6,413).
The take rate on the automatic transmission averages about 80% for Stingray and Grand Sport buyers while 71% of Z06 buyers selected the 8-speed auto. Those numbers are nearly unchanged from the 2016 models.
Arctic White remains the top exterior color with Watkins Glen Gray coming in a close second. Admiral Blue was the top performing new color with 9% of production. Black Rose was 9th with 4% while the now discontinued Sterling Blue closed out at 3%.
Harlan shared the production data of the 2017 Grand Sport Collector Edition with 926 of the planned 1000 have been build so far. That break down of body styles consists of 776 Coupes and 150 convertibles.
2018 Corvette Updates
And with that, we headed into the info for the 2018 Corvette. Tadge once again took over and discussed the looming 13 week plant closure for upgrades that will happen in August-October. He reminded the crowd that you can order a 2018 Corvette through June 5th to get it built before the shut down occurs. This includes the new Carbon 65 Edition that was discussed later, but Harlan commented that they wanted to build as many as possible so get your orders in if a 2018 Corvette is in your future!
Harlan took over again and showed some of the latest option changes for the chassis and electrical systems which include the ability to order just the Ceramic Brake package (J57) with the Grand Sport. Previously if you wanted the ceramic brakes you had to order the Z07 package. HD Radio is back and the Performance Data Recorder now has the ability to record four additional channels of info including individual wheel speed, suspension displacements, yaw rate and ambient and intake air temperatures. The Rear View camera has also been upgraded.
One of big changes to the Corvette exterior is that the Stingray is dropping the 18/19 inch wheels and going with the same 19/20 inch wheels offered on the Stingray Z51. The Stingray also gets five new wheel designs, the Z06 gets two new wheel designs while the Grand Sport’s wheels all carry over from 2017. The new Ceramic Matrix Gray (G9F) replaces the Sterling Blue exterior that was phased out earlier this year. Lastly, the Spice Red convertible top is now available for all convertible models.
Ryan Vaughn took to the stage to discuss the interior changes. Previous years, there were differences between how the 2LT Stingray and Grand Sport was outfitted versus the Z06. So the team has simplified the interior options by standardizing the color breakup across all models. This will essentially add more color to the Stingray and Grand Sports when the 2LT options are selected.
For the 3LT/3LZ interiors, the team has added new color stitch packages. Jet Black Leather (195) can now feature yellow, blue and red sticking which also includes the carbon fiber interior trim (FAY). the Jet Black Suede Package (198) with gray features choice of Yellow, Blue or Red stitching with the Gloss carbon fiber interior trim (FCC) and the new N2Z Carbon Fiber Rim Steering Wheel.
The Z06 now has a Gray interior available and it looks really nice. A spice Red interior for 3LT/3LZ is also now available across the lineup.
The Carbon 65 Limited Edition
Harlan took over again and showed a photo collage of 65 Corvettes, representing each model year from 1953 through 2018. Harlan commented that the 25th Anniversary is traditionally celebrated with Silver while the 50th Anniversary is Gold. He said they didn’t really know what 65 represented so they decreed it the Carbon Fiber Anniversary edition and the Carbon 65 Edition was born.
The RPO for the 2018 Corvette Carbon 65 Edition is Z30 and comes with a host of options that if ordered separately would cost more than the $15,000 package price. The edition is limited to 650 units, each with their own VIN sequence numbers that will be displayed on an interior dash plaque. The dash plaques are unique to their models. There is no structured breakdown in what will be produced other than its limited to Grand Sport and Z06 Coupe and Convertible models.
The Corvette Team threw every previous Carbon Fiber trim option on the car as well as a couple new items like a two-piece molded carbon fiber spoiler that was previously offered as a $3,500 accessory and the rear quarter cooling ducts on the coupe models.
Other options include Black with Machined wheels with Carbon 65 logo center caps and Blue brake calipers, visible carbon fiber hood, carbon flash badges and outside mirrors. The interior features the Jet Black Suede package with competition seats accented with blue stitching, the new Carbon Fiber steering wheel and a Carbon 65 sill plate.
The Carbon 65 also has a custom graphics package with a unique fender graphic and lower door graphics. There is a subtile graphic in black that connects the visible carbon fiber roof to the rear window on the coupe versions.
2018 Corvette Pricing
Pricing for the 2018 Corvette models were released along with the Carbon 65 information and the good news is that the MSRPs are going up just a mere $45 over 2017’s MSRP pricing:
|2018 MODEL||Starting MSRP|
|Stingray Coupe w/ Z51||$60,495|
|Stingray Convertible w/Z51||$64,495|
|Grand Sport Coupe||$65,495|
|Grand Sport Convertible||$69,495|
That concluded the prepared seminar for What’s New with the 2018 Corvette and then the floor was opened to questions which lasted another 45 minutes. You can see the entire What’s New seminar here in our video below.
You can learn more about the 2018 Corvette from our 2018 Corvette archives.
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