Last month we pored over a lot of interesting data regarding the seventh generation Corvette’s production run. We looked at total C7 production focusing mostly on color, we broke down the run of C7 Z06’s, had a post about overall Grand Sport production, and we also looked into the ZR1’s extended one-year life.
The final data points that we thought were worthy of looking into are major dividing points within the Corvette family. That’s right, it is time to look at transmission choices and take a final tally in the eternal battle between black and chrome wheels.
Of the nearly 200,000 C7s produced, the total take-rate for manual transmissions was 50,611 or 26.55%. The low-sounding percentage is one of the talking points that Tadge & Co use to justify their switch to a one transmission strategy on the C8.
We think that there is still plenty of demand for three-pedal Corvettes. In the same timespan (2014-19) that 50k+ people purchased Corvettes with manual gearboxes, Porsche sold a grand total of 55,675 examples of their flagship 911 which includes all 87 (or something around there) variants under the 911 umbrella from Carrara all the way up to GT2 RS.
We aren’t talking about some niche product here, manual C7’s make up a near-equivalent of Porsche’s entire sports car market share (we aren’t including the Cayman/Boxter but we could as they sell in pretty inconsequential numbers, 3,000 or so per year)!
As far as Chrome vs. Black wheels go; after a relatively close couple of years, Black wheels ended up winning the war. Not only did they outsell Chromies 88,131 to 56,880 but the Corvette Team decided that the mid-engine 2020 Corvette was the time to put reflective wheels out to pasture with flip-up lights and carburetors.
This is another interesting decision from a company that usually attempts to maximize every dollar and in my opinion they are alienating even more people by omitting chrome from the option list on the C8 than they did by dropping the manual. I personally am alright with this exclusion as they have no effect on the driving experience and don’t think that chrome goes very well with the design of either C7 or C8 (loved chrome on C6’s). If that many customers feel strongly about getting the shiniest possible wheels, it just doesn’t make much business sense to drop them altogether.
No matter what your thoughts are on these topics, one thing is for sure. The C7 leaves behind a legacy as the zenith of front-engine Corvettes. It could very likely be our version of the 993 generation 911; highly sought after by traditional Corvette enthusiasts for decades to come.