The name “Corvette” is the longest continuously running car nameplate in the world. It dates back to 1953 when the little Chevrolet started life as a show car. The C1, originally just a concept car for the 1953 New York Auto Show, generated so much interest that GM was convinced to build a production version. Every C1 Corvette was a convertible—a coupe wasn’t added until a decade later, in 1963—and every generation of the Corvette since then has offered a convertible variant.
All of that rich history has us waiting anxiously to see what the new 2020 Chevy Corvette C8 convertible has in store. As you’re well aware by now, the C8 adopts a mid-engine layout, a concept first proposed by the father of the Corvette, Zora Arkus-Duntov, to take the sports car’s performance to the next level. Even if the main goal of the mid-engine ‘Vette is to crush supercars that cost twice as much like the Porsche 911 GT3 and Audi R8, that doesn’t mean you can’t still have a little drop-top fun while doing it.
The new 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible features a retracting hard top for the first time. The roadster fairings behind the driver and passenger headrests—there mostly for rollover protection—mimic the looks we’ve seen from Ferrari and McLaren convertibles. The new car makes the same power as the coupe: 495 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque with the performance exhaust. The retractable roof panel folds down in 16 seconds, and Chevrolet tweaked the suspension to cope with the added weight that comes when you add a folding hard top.
Now that Arkus-Duntov’s dream of a mid-engine ‘Vette has finally been realized, we can look back at every convertible Corvette in history. Not every Corvette convertible has been a looker, but all of them have offered open-top thrills and a soundtrack that their coupe counterparts couldn’t match. See the evolution of the Corvette convertible in the photo gallery below!