One of the perks available for customers who custom order a new Corvette is the ability to order a Photo Album that captures your Corvette in various stages as its being built at the Corvette Assembly Plant. You can see an example of the Photo Album as CorvetteBlogger contributor Jeremy Welborn shared his 2020 Sebring Orange build with us last year.
The National Corvette Museum offers these photo albums for $700 each, and they are quite popular due to the fact that the plant has yet to resume the Buyer Tours which allowed buyers to watch their car being assembled in person.
Unfortunately, the NCM Photo Albums have recently been suspended and if you had ordered one for 2021 that’s still awaiting production, your money is being refunded. You would think that these are a pretty good fundraiser for the Museum, so why the suspension? The Corvette Museum’s website only says they are temporarily unavailable. However, an email posted to Facebook from the R8C Delivery staff says the reason is that “visitor access is being suspended at the plant,” and it continues, “Because of this, our team is not able to enter Bowling Green Assembly for the remainder of the 2021 model year.”
Those photographers have been allowed in the plant throughout the COVID pandemic, and now that a majority of Americans have had at least one vaccination shot, it doesn’t seem likely that the NCM’s photographers are suddenly being barred from entry due to concerns over the coronavirus. We can’t think of any other reasons why the plant would “deny access” to visitors unless they are working on a model yet to be revealed.
In the pre-production phase of a new Corvette model, there are the “Alphas” which are the earliest versions of the Corvette and they are traditionally hand-assembled. Development then progresses to the “Betas” which are assembled on the assembly line. As those builds become perfected, GM will then start building saleable pre-production cars for the Captured Test Fleet. As the widebody Corvette Z06 has been widely expected to arrive as a 2022 model, could it be that the Corvette Assembly Plant will be running the first widebody “N50” cars (on the C8s VIN, N is the ’22 model year while 50 is pre-production) down the assembly line over the course of the next few months?
The Corvette Team is expected to offer details for the 2022 model year later this week during the National Corvette Museum’s Bash Event and it’s still anyone’s guess on whether they will announce the Z06 or the E-Ray models for 2022, both of which are expected to be widebody versions of the C8 Stingray. The Z06 is the model we are expecting next but the rumor mill has been surprisingly silent these last few months.
We believe that if there is a new model for the 2022 model year, the Corvette Team will only be announcing a future date for a “special reveal event” as they did for the C8 Stingray to ensure maximum press coverage of the model instead of revealing the major details of the new model at the Bash.
C8 Corvette / Facebook
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