Back in 1968, a whopping 18,639 convertibles left Chevy showrooms, compared to 9,936 coupes.
While it has a long way to go toward matching that sales domination of the first-year C3 convertible, the new C8 hardtop convertible is definitely proving vastly more popular with customers.
Indeed, Harlan Charles, product marketing manager for Corvette, says between 35 to 40 percent of C8 sales so far have been convertibles – about double the 20 percent take for the C7 generation.
The resurgence of the C8 convertible – which costs about $7,500 more than the coupe version – comes as no surprise to Chevy, though.
“We expected the new retractable hardtop convertible design offering no compromises in performance and functionality would be a larger percentage of sales than previous years, which is exactly what we’re seeing,” Charles told CarBuzz.
He says the new mid-engine Corvette is attracting new, younger customers to Corvette while keeping the loyal base of existing Corvette owners.
“People love the retractable hardtop design and how quickly the top operates,” Charles explains. “Our customers who road trip their Corvettes also appreciate the full capacity of both trunks no matter what position the roof is in.”
So why the sudden rebirth for the convertible?
One reason is that it’s no longer a soft canvas top and features a two-piece hardtop roof powered by six electric motors that can lower the top in only 16 seconds at speeds up to 30 mph while adding less than 80 pounds to the weight of the car. Luggage space in the rear trunk also remains the same as the top folds on top of the engine. Some people like the fact that it retains a similar appearance to the coupe, unlike past versions, though for this writer, that’s actually a negative. I like the way the dark ragtop contrasts with previous generations, especially in silver, gray, and white.
About the only negative to the C8 convertible is that the 495-horsepower LT2 V8 engine is not visible from outside the car, the way it is in the coupe. But the convenience of not having to remove the roof panel of the coupe and store it in the trunk manually is definitely a nice trade-off for the convertible, isn’t it? Too bad they can’t figure out a way to make the roof panel removable automatically.
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