The C8 Corvette Needs a ‘Paint to Sample’ Program


The C8 Corvette Needs a 'Paint to Sample' Program

One of the most significant goals that the Corvette Team had when they set out to create the first ever mid-engine version of America’s Sports Car was to appeal to a clientele that used to look down on the Corvette as “not premium enough” while also silencing those pesky automotive journalist types who bemoan the ‘Vette’s interior at every turn (deserved or not). While the layout of the eighth-gen Corvette’s cockpit has had some critics, the materials and fit and finish inside of the mid-engine marvel have been met with universal acclaim.

We believe that the best way to continue this high-end focus with a shift to the exterior would be to finally offer Corvette customers the opportunity to choose their own paint colors from outside of the mainstream color palate.

The majority of manufacturers that the Corvette will be pitted up against in the minds of these discerning new customers already offer varying levels of paint customization on their cars. The big one is Porsche’s Paint to Sample or PTS but there is also Audi Exclusive, BMW Individual, and Aston Martin Q, to name a few. Even the ‘Vette’s former domestic rival, the SRT/Dodge Viper, offered a 1 of 1 program that allowed buyers to choose from 8,000 paint colors (along with 24,000 hand-painted stripes, 10 different wheel options, and a bevy of interior combinations and standalone options). Each of these Snakes also came with a peace of mind guarantee that they wouldn’t build one identical to yours, no matter how much money your unimaginative neighbor tried to throw at them.

To truly make the jump into the exotic realm, General Motors needs to introduce a similar program for their new halo car.

Benefits for GM

The added prestige of implementing an option for limitless paint selections should be enough of a selling point on its own but it is also a no-brainer for General Motor’s all-important bottom line. You have likely heard GMC’s Denali trim referred to as a money-printing machine for its parent company; a PTS system could be the exact same thing for the General. Porsche charges customers around $12,000 for the privilege of selecting a special hue for their new 911, and people pay it! Dodge reported a $20,000 increase in average Viper transaction prices after they introduced their 1 of 1 program halfway through the fifth gen’s life cycle.

On top of uncompromising performance, America’s Sports Car has long been about added value over its competitors. Because of this, GM will, more than likely, have to offer a good deal in comparison to the Porsche model but even at something around $7,000 a pop, the fiercely loyal fan base would likely be lining up to get their C8 color matched to their unique midyear or C3 ‘Vette. Such a system would bring in piles of cash while also making it even more difficult for customers to resist the option sheet in an attempt to build a bare-bones order that would, reportedly, lose money for GM.

The C8 Corvette Needs a 'Paint to Sample' Program

Benefits for Buyers

Obviously getting your new mid-engine baby in any color your heart desires is the biggest selling point of a PTS-type system. Even on cars like 911s or Vipers that are produced in far fewer numbers than the Corvette, making it extremely unlikely that owners in the majority of the country will even see another example on the road, let alone one that has been painted the exact same color, buyers saw tremendous value in being able to create their own, beautiful unicorn. This added individuality isn’t the only perk either. If you fork over $7ish thousand dollars up front to get premium pigmentation for your car, you could see even more than that when the time comes for you to move on to your next ride. As long as your chosen paint isn’t offensive to the retinae of the average layperson, the second owner will more than likely pay more for a unique car than they would for another Black/Arctic White/Torch Red model. A quick search for the most desirable of recent 911s, the manual 991.2 GT3, reveals 53 available pre-owned cars. Those 53 cars can be broken down as follows: 31 in normal colors, 13 PTS cars, 8 cars that we excluded because of incomplete listings (no pictures, listed price, etc.), and one IMSA GT3 Cup car that we also didn’t count in our calculations. The average asking price for a “normal” GT3 comes out to a healthy $171,517. The average price of the same car that has been Painted to match a Sample? $187,052.

Of course, we know that there are other factors at play in these prices and these are just asking prices, but the primary reason for this price disparity is the easiest one to see, the paint. With a difference of over 15,000 resale dollars, wouldn’t you happily pony up an extra $5-10k up front?

Will GM Actually Implement a PTS-Style Option for the Corvette?

It is anyone’s guess at this point but it doesn’t seem to currently be in the cards. Two excellent opportunities to introduce such a program have recently passed us by. When the Assembly Plant received its new $439 million paint shop, many were expecting an announcement about further customization options to follow, but one never came. That was in the middle of an existing Corvette generation though, so it wasn’t surprising that they didn’t want to implement such a major change to production at that point.

7.18.19, when all eyes were on the reveal of the mid-engine C8 in Tustin, CA, Chevrolet had another golden opportunity to tout a multitude of new paint options. Instead, they stuck to their old exterior color playbook.

One idea that gives us some hope is a slow roll-out of the program as a Z06 (or similar) exclusive option that could trickle down to other Corvettes once the processes are perfected.

Time will tell if GM has any Customized Corvette Paint options up their collective sleeves but until anything becomes official, all we can do is continue reminding them that there is demand for such a program and experiment with different color wraps like Corvette Forum member, “Mookster” did with his C7 ZR1. How could the good folks at GM see creations like this and not want to profit from making more unique ‘Vettes of their own?

The C8 Corvette Needs a 'Paint to Sample' Program

Colors We Would Like to See on the C8 Corvette: Pearl White
Colors We’d Like to See on the C8 Corvette: Spitfire/Krypton Green
Colors We’d Like to See on the C8 Corvette: Rally Green Metallic



  1. What GM needs to offer, color livery-wise, for this car:

    The 2-tone Mako Shark livery (the colors on the C3 prototype)

    Laguna Blue (saw it on a ’63 @ NCM last spring…and looked amazing)


  2. Ever paint a room and when it’s done say, what was I thinking of and repaint it another color? I reserve my judgement on a color after I have seen it on my proposed new vehicle. Except black. A lot of differences in whites. Now if you have the time and money you could always repaint the new car if you disliked the color you selected.

  3. Why don’t they stop playing around with these awful colors and give us the Pearl White.

  4. when I was a kid, HOT WHEELS had the same colors. I guess after 50+ years that corvettes are being sold, the new colors would make a difference, to who ? Porsche buyer will always buy a Porsche
    A corvette buyer, will still buy Corvette RED or any color that is in the palette for that term of production colors.
    What happened to Atomic orange?

  5. Good comments so far guys and they highlight what is so great about PTS; we all have our favorite paint colors, and with this option, we could get them from the factory, even if they aren’t a part of the current palette.
    You want Pearl White? You’ve got it! Atomic Orange or Laguna Blue your favorite? They’re yours! You would also gain an unheard of level of exclusivity from ordering “off menu.”

    Brian, you might be on to something with the two-tone Mako Shark II paint job seen here:
    Offering a handful historical liveries like this or a riff on the pair of two-tone paint jobs from the C3 (’78 Pace Car and ’82 Collector’s Edition) for a further upcharge would be pretty cool! With so many iconic paint schemes (not to mention the incredible array of non-Corvette colors), the possibilities truly are endless!

  6. As a buyer of the C8 with a factory build date of 3-23 to 3-28, we optioned our C8 with what we wanted. GM has a great number of options to build the car the way we wanted. The only place we compromised was in the chose of exterior color. Out of the 12 colors offered, we picked the one that was the best for us over the poor choice of colors offered. But not really a color that we wanted. I would be interested in a program that would allow a personal choice of custom colors. And would be willing to pay extra for it.

  7. To bad you had to settle on a color you didn’t “LOVE” . That’s the issue. I love my sterling blue C7 GS.
    That was one of the reasons I cancelled my initial order on the C8.

    I do like the rootbeer color, but wouldn’t order one

  8. I think the weak area of Corvette-dom is now the poor color choices. I don’t care for half of them, a few I kind of like, but the choices are just terrible for a car of this upgraded quality and uniqueness. The “new” bronze color offered this year has had very poor response and low orders as I understand it. That should speak volumes to who ever at GM is dictating color choices. My build date is also 3/23 and I chose a color that I have not had before, I hope I enjoy it, but I see many colors on other brands I would have rather had.

  9. Why not start by at least offer the entire prior palette of Corvette colors from Polo white to Black Rose Metallic?

  10. Black could’t be ordered in some late 1970’ies years ……so there was a possibility to get your vette delivered in a primer coat……after you had to look for your own available color…….so…..??

  11. The C8 color selection is awful, but the wheels — all of them — are worse. C6 & C7 wheels are MUCH more attractive. And why no chrome wheels? They’ve been a customer favorite (just look at the production stats) that made big profits for GM. Whoever is responsible for current paint & wheel options is incompetent.

  12. SRT did a good job with the Viper in the color department, especially with the exclusive color and stripe combinations. GM needs to improve the colors they offer on the Corvette, they are always subpar compared to the competition.

  13. Kenneth, I like that idea as well if they don’t want to do a true PTS. I nearly included opening up the entire GM portfolio as a compromise in that second to last paragraph.
    Making current and historical GM colors available would make most people very happy (I’d love it!) but then I thought, if Dodge can do a 1 of 1 program, surely General Motors can too.

  14. @George C.
    Don’t take this the wrong way, as I’m just the messenger answering your question candidly. But the reason GM did away with factory chrome wheels on the C8 is that they are seen to be the exclusive domain of a buyer demographic that GM is trying to move the Corvette away from, rightly or wrongly. Moreover, the demographic that the General is now chasing is supposedly very particular about owning a model of car that is regularly seen on the road with the “wrong” appearance items like chrome wheels, even if there’s isn’t optioned that way. I typically don’t go for chrome wheels myself, although they looked stunning on my copper red Miata, but I think you’ll find most Corvette dealers will offer a dealer add-on at point of sale to have the wheels chromed if you want.

  15. I am an older guy, and so are many, many Corvette buyers. I like a clean, shinny car, with chrome wheels and in fact own a C6 like that. Regarding the paint, having many unusual paint choices may not be such a great idea, especially if the car needs body work in the future. The auto body shop would find it hard, if not impossible to match the color.

  16. I completely agree! The best way to continue this high-end focus with a shift to the exterior would be to finally offer Corvette customers the opportunity to choose their own paint colors from outside of the mainstream color palate. Go with it, it’s what customers want.

  17. Wow… considering GMs history of NOT being able to do a non-orange peel paint job in the simple factory colors like white or black with perfect matched plastic nose and rear………. I’d say it would be hilarious to see what work of Art would be born of a customized paint choice?

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