For the first time in Corvette history, the new Stingray’s top is fully electric, meaning there is no mechanical latch for the driver to physically release; the top can be raised or lowered in 21 seconds by pushing a button to the left of the steering or via the key fob. And there’s a new trick: These operations can be performed at speeds of up to 30 mph.
Supplied by the Haartz Corporation of Acton, Massachusetts, the top features three-ply construction that has been optimized for sound insulation and all-weather protection. The outer layer is an acrylic twill (available in black, gray, blue and a tan called Kalahari), the inner layer is rubber and the interior lining is a polyester fabric. Says Juechter, “The top is extremely well sealed and quiet, so the driving experience—including the chassis tuning and everything else associated with the driving experience—is the same whether you’re driving a coupe or a convertible.”
The shape of the top is similar to that of the C6 convertible’s, with a rectangular, glass rear window; the Stingray coupe’s rear quarter windows did not make the transition to the convertible layout. The coupe’s rear fender-mounted air inlets, which feed automatic transmission and electronic limited-slip differential coolers, were also lost in translation. Automatic and Z51 Performance Package-equipped convertibles will still have the heat exchangers, but they will draw cooling air from the bottom of the car.
Reflecting the Stingray’s sharply creased styling, the headrest fairings on the rigid tonneau cover now have a much more angular design—the C6’s rounded humps are gone. In addition, the fairings now sport black accent panels. The “waterfall,” the cockpit panel between the seats that flows from the tonneau, has been preserved. As before, it bears the Corvette crossed-flag emblem, albeit the new V-shaped one.
The last time Chevrolet offered a Stingray convertible was 1975—nearly four decades ago. That’s a long time, but this 2014 version looks to be worth the wait.