Time to save up if you want to get your hands on any of these Corvette variants

The 2020 Chevrolet Corvette C8 is a lot of things to a lot of people. For some, it’s an engineering home run. For others, it’s a history-making performance car. Whatever your thoughts are of the Corvette C8, there is one thing that everyone can agree on. The Corvette C8’s market launch, whenever that will be, is going to be one of the most anticipated dates in the calendar. As it is, Chevrolet hasn’t announced when the C8 will arrive. We only know that production of the mid-engine performance car will kick off late this year. With that current timetable, it’s reasonable to expect the model becoming available to the masses sometime in early 2020. That’s less than a year from now, so it’s not that far into the future. Once the C8 arrives, questions will now be asked about the model’s other trim levels and when those are coming out. The Corvette C8 Convertible will assuredly arrive soon after the C8 launches, but what about the Z06, Grand Sport, and dare we dream, the ZR1? It’ll probably take Chevrolet a few years to round out the entire C8 lineup, just as it did with the C7-generation Corvette. That’s not going to stop us from speculating, though, right? Cross your fingers that our estimates are correct because if everything that’s been rumored about the Corvette C8 ZR1 is true, then that bad boy can’t come soon enough.

Chevy C8 Corvette Convertible Launch Date

When Can You Buy the C8 Corvette Convertible, Z06, Grand Sport, ZR1: A Timeline
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Now that the Chevrolet Corvette C8 is out, we can look forward to a new batch of teases, renderings, and spy photos of future C8 variants and derivatives. The next version that’s likely to be unveiled is the Corvette C8 Convertible. Judging by the respective timetables of the C6-generation and the C7-generation Corvette, Corvette C8 Convertible should début sometime later this year, maybe even towards the end of 2019. Remember, the Corvette Stingray Convertible debuted at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show, only two months after the Corvette Stingray’s world début at the 2013 North American International Auto Show, which took place in January of that year. If this precedent holds, we could be seeing the Corvette C8 Convertible sooner than later. Now, the only major auto show that falls within this truncated timetable is the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show in September. It’s unlikely, though, that Chevrolet would début such an important piece of American sports car history outside U.S. soil so there’s a chance that Chevy could delay the Corvette C8 Convertible’s release to November so the sports car can make its début either at the 2019 SEMA Auto Show (November 6) or the 2019 Los Angeles Auto Show (November 23).

When Can You Buy the C8 Corvette Convertible, Z06, Grand Sport, ZR1: A Timeline
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That said, there is one other important date in the Corvette calendar that’s happening next month.

The 2019 National Corvette Caravan takes place from August 28 to August 31 in Bowling Green, Kentucky. If there was a time and a place for the Bowtie to unveil the Chevrolet Corvette C8 Convertible, this would be it.

For those who don’t know, the celebration is hosted only once every five years and it just so happens that this year’s celebration coincides with the 25th anniversary of the National Corvette Museum. No auto show in this world can compete with the seamless tie-in between the National Corvette Caravan and the début of the Corvette C8 Convertible. Mind you; there were rumors that Chevrolet was going to unveil the Corvette C8 in this event before those rumors were put to bed when the Chevrolet debuted the next-generation Corvette last week in Los Angeles. But just because that’s how it played out, that doesn’t mean the automaker has no important plans for the Corvette Caravan. It’s the perfect place for Chevy to début the Corvette C8 Convertible. I’d be very shocked — shocked!! — if it doesn’t happen there. If it does, look for Chevy to launch the Corvette C8 Convertible sometime later this year, possibly near or around the time of the holiday season.

What can we expect from the Chevrolet C8 Corvette Convertible?

When Can You Buy the C8 Corvette Convertible, Z06, Grand Sport, ZR1: A Timeline
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The Chevrolet C8 Corvette Convertible is the next model on the docket, and it could arrive sooner than you expect. Considering how fast the turnaround could be, it’s remarkable that Chevrolet has managed to keep details about the model under wraps for as long as it has. Then again, that didn’t stop Chevy from showing a preview of the upcoming Corvette C8 Convertible during the Corvette C8’s debut last week. If you were in attendance during the event or if you watched the live stream until the end, you might have caught a fleeting glimpse of the Corvette C8 Convertible. The photo didn’t reveal anything that we didn’t know already — the convertible’s roof folds away; big surprise, right? — about the Corvette C8 Convertible, but it was still admittedly a cool sight to see.

Don’t expect a lot of changes to the Corvette C8 Convertible, at least compared to the base Corvette.

It should still use the same 6.2-liter LT2 V-8 engine that produces 490 horsepower — or 495 horsepower if it’s equipped with the optional Z51 performance package — and 470 pound-feet of torque. Expect the convertible to be a tick or two slower than the coupe, though, when it comes to acceleration time. The extra weight that comes with that foldable roof should be a performance detriment, at least if you care about that stuff. Everything else should be chalk, though I do suspect that Chevrolet has a few surprises in store for us once the Corvette C8 Convertible arrives. Whatever those surprises are, they’re probably going to be worth their weight.

Chevy C8 Corvette Z06 Launch Date

When Can You Buy the C8 Corvette Convertible, Z06, Grand Sport, ZR1: A Timeline
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The Chevrolet Corvette Z06 is always the first performance-spec version of the Corvette to arrive after a next-generation model is introduced. That was the case with the C6 and C7 generations of the sports car, and unless something drastic happens, we can be certain that form will hold with the Corvette C8 Z06.

Past timetables also showed that the Z06 trim arrived around a year after the next-generation model’s debut.

Some people might argue that it’s too long a gap between trim releases, but it makes sense since Chevrolet wants to give the base Corvette C8 and the Corvette C8 Convertible some room to breathe before a better version arrives. In that one year, Chevrolet will probably roll out a few aftermarket concepts of the C8 Corvette, similar to what they did with the Corvette C7 Stingray at the 2013 SEMA Auto Show. Chevrolet could also spend this one-year gap between debuts showcasing new packages for the Corvette C8. The Bowtie already announced the Z51 package for the new Corvette so you can be sure that it’s going to grab some headlines in the coming months.

When Can You Buy the C8 Corvette Convertible, Z06, Grand Sport, ZR1: A Timeline
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Then there are the special edition models. Chevrolet knows how important special edition models are in cultivating a long-term interest in the Corvette C8. Look for a few SEs to arrive sometime later this year and in the early part of 2020. That’s how Chevy’s going to fill the gap before it releases the performance-spec Z06.

As far as logical places go, Chevrolet has a new calendar of auto shows and events to pick from in 2020. It could début the Corvette C8 Z06 at the 2020 New York Auto Show in April of next year.

It could also use one of the major auction events, be it Barrett-Jackson or Bonhams, as the venue for the C8 Z06’s release. Heck, next year’s Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance takes place on March 2020. Chevrolet had a huge presence at this year’s event, and with the Concours d’Elegance celebrating its 25th year in 2020, Chevy could have an even bigger presence at that event.

Having said — and speculated — all that, there’s just one event that makes the most abject sense for Chevrolet to début the Corvette C8 Z06: the 2020 North American International Auto Show.

When Can You Buy the C8 Corvette Convertible, Z06, Grand Sport, ZR1: A Timeline
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In case some of you have forgotten, the 2020 North American International Auto Show isn’t taking place in January anymore. Starting next year, it’s happening in June, or to be specific in the case of next year’s event, it’s happening from June 6 to June 20, 2020. That fits perfectly into the one-year gap between the début of the base Corvette C8 and the Corvette C8 Z06.

More importantly, the NAIAs is where Chevrolet unveils its most important vehicles.

That’s the event where the Chevrolet Corvette C6 debuted in 2004. That’s where the Chevrolet Corvette C7 debuted in 2013, and that’s where the Corvette C7 Z06 debuted one year later in 2014. Since the Chevrolet Corvette C8 made its début in somewhat of a random fashion, look for Chevrolet to give the 2020 NAIAs — the first time it’s being held in June — an important version of the Corvette C8 to showcase as it prepares for the model’s launch in the 2020 summer season.

What can we expect from the Chevrolet C8 Z06?

When Can You Buy the C8 Corvette Convertible, Z06, Grand Sport, ZR1: A Timeline
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To be clear, there has been no word on Chevrolet’s end about a C8-generation Corvette Z06. So while it’s technically not a certainty that we’ll see a Z06-spec Corvette C8, everyone and their momma knows that it’s coming sooner than later. The Z06 serves an important role for any Corvette line. It is, effectively the bridge between the base Corvette and the more high-strung versions like the Grand Sport and ZR1. In a word, it would be weird if Chevrolet leaves out the Z06 in this particular Corvette generation.

So, we’re proceeding with the belief that a Corvette C8 Z06 is arriving. It’s just a matter of when it’s arriving, how it’s going to look, and what kind of performance capabilities will it have. I already mentioned that the Corvette C8 Z06 could make its debut at the 2020 North American International Auto Show next June. We know, to a certain extent, what it’s going to look like, too. Imagine the Corvette C8 and throw in some aesthetic and aerodynamic upgrades.

When Can You Buy the C8 Corvette Convertible, Z06, Grand Sport, ZR1: A Timeline
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The Corvette C7 Z06 came with a unique carbon fiber hood with a larger vent, larger front fender vents, air blades over the inlet on the rear fenders, and larger rear-fascia openings, among others. I’m not saying that we should expect the same upgrades — a vent on the carbon fiber hood would be useless this time — on the Corvette C8 Z06, but similar improvements should be in order, especially if the car’s going to be faster and more powerful than the base Corvette C8. Speaking of which, it’s been established that higher-spec versions of the Corvette C8 will carry a different engine from the new LT2 unit powering the base model. One engine that’s been widely talked-about is the mysterious LT7 unit that’s rumored to trace its roots to Cadillac’s vaunted Blackwing V-8 engine.

Details are still scarce about the LT7 unit, but it’s believed to carry an output of around 700 to 800 horsepower, enough to turn the Corvette C8 Z06 into a full-blown, performance-spec supercar.

The LT7 is also rumored to form one part of the hybrid powertrain equation that Chevrolet is developing for the range-topping version of the all-new Corvette C8.

Perhaps this new LT7 engine is more important than any of us are giving it credit for. We should be able to know more about it in the coming months. Who knows, we might even see it up-close and in person at the 2020 New York Auto Show.

Chevy C8 Corvette Grand Sport Launch Date

When Can You Buy the C8 Corvette Convertible, Z06, Grand Sport, ZR1: A Timeline
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The next release after the Corvette C8 Z06 is a little tricky because we don’t exactly know if it’s the Grand Sport, the ZR1, or perhaps even some unnamed variant that Chevrolet is keeping a tight lid on. Even if it’s just the first two, there’s no clarity which of the Grand Sport or the ZR1 will arrive first, at least if you base it on Chevy’s past strategic releases. Sure, the C7 Grand Sport came before the C7 ZR1, but the reverse happened with the C6-generation Corvette. The ZR1 arrived first in December 2007 before the C6 Grand Sport arrived 18 months later in April 2009.

Given what’s been rumored, though, I’m of the mindset that the C8 Grand Sport will arrive; first, that is unless a different version of the Corvette C8 takes its place in Chevrolet’s Corvette rollout calendar.

If it is the Grand Sport, don’t be surprised if it takes two full years after the unveiling of the Corvette C8 Z06 for the Corvette C8 Grand Sport to show up.

That was the timetable Chevy followed in the previous generation when the Corvette C7 Grand Sport was introduced at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show. If this timetable is followed to a tee, we shouldn’t expect to see the Corvette C8 Grand Sport until 2022. It’s a longer-than-you’d-want wait, but there are reasons for that, including the possibility that the Corvette C8 Grand Sport could become the “face” of the refreshed and facelifted version of the Corvette C8. A three-year gap between the two models is a long enough time for Chevrolet to refresh what would then be a three-year-old model.

When Can You Buy the C8 Corvette Convertible, Z06, Grand Sport, ZR1: A Timeline
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Then there’s also the point of giving each variant of the Corvette enough room to grow on its own without another version arriving quickly to steal its proverbial thunder. This is especially important with the Corvette C8 Z06 because, as the first higher-spec version of the all-new Corvette, the Bowtie is going to try to squeeze every last drop of juice it can from it. That would involve building Z06-specific packages and developing Z06-based special edition models. Who knows, Chevrolet could even look to Hollywood and provide the Corvette C8 Z06 with some TV and movie opportunities. Don’t laugh. It’s happened in the past.

Once people get used to — that’s a more flattering way of saying “get tired of” — the Corvette C8 Z06 and start clamoring for a new Corvette C8 variant, that’s the time the Grand Sport enters the stage.

It’s too far into the future to pinpoint a specific event where the Corvette C8 Grand Sport could début, but I will be surprised if it happens earlier than 2022.

The three-year wait from today sounds like a long time, but it also gives Chevrolet enough time to develop what could become the first-ever 1,000-horsepower, hybrid Corvette in history.

What can we expect from the Chevrolet Corvette C8 Grand Sport?

When Can You Buy the C8 Corvette Convertible, Z06, Grand Sport, ZR1: A Timeline
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Since the Chevrolet Corvette C8 Grand Sport is still probably around two years away, it’s hard to expect something from it when you know that a lot of what it’s about will be determined by how the all-new Corvette model evolves in the next year so. I can say that, based on experiences with the Corvette C7 Grand Sport, this model should resemble the Corvette Z06 more than it will the base Corvette. That means (probably) a wide body kit, beefier tires, larger brakes, improved chassis and suspension specs, and of course, a meaty engine. Now, it’s worth noting that the previous-generation Corvette Grand Sport shared an engine with the base Corvette, so it’s going to be interesting what kind of engine Chevrolet decides to put in the new model. I think form will hold and the LT2 engine will be used on the Corvette C8 Grand Sport, but stranger things have happened, especially now when we’re venturing into completely new territory with a mid-engine Corvette.

Chevy C8 Corvette ZR1 Launch Date

Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 Bemutatkozott az első középmotoros Corvette, egyből itt a ZR1 csúcsváltozat. #xtomidesign

Posted by X-Tomi Design on Sunday, July 21, 2019

Roughly 18 months after Chevrolet unveiled the Corvette C7 Grand Sport, the flagship Corvette C7 ZR1 finally arrived in November 2017 when Chevy debuted the racy performance car at the 2017 Dubai Motor Show. As curious as it was to début the ZR1 in Dubai, it’s not that strange of a deal, at least if you know the clientele in that market. In any event, the November 2017 début meant that the Corvette C7 ZR1 couldn’t be classified as a 2018MY vehicle by the time production started early last year. And so, it became the 2019 Corvette C7 ZR1.

Now, how does that, in any way, shed light to the projected timetable of the Corvette C8 ZR1? It doesn’t, for several reasons. First, the Corvette C8 isn’t an evolution of the Corvette C7. It’s an entirely different model. Second, the formula that worked for the Corvette C7 ZR1 is unlikely to work with the next-gen ZR1, largely because the model that it will be based on comes with a new architecture, new tech features, and, of course, a new engine that’s located on the opposite end of where Corvette engines used to be.

When Can You Buy the C8 Corvette Convertible, Z06, Grand Sport, ZR1: A Timeline
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This is a good thing, folks. Chevrolet effectively has a clean slate to work on completely different Corvette ZR1 from the ones that we’ve gotten used to. There’s a reason all this talk about a hybrid Corvette that can supposedly produce more than 1,000 horsepower has gained steam in the last few months. The rumors have gained steam because there’s more than a kernel of truth in them. Chevy has said that it will tap into hybrid technology for the all-new Corvette. It’s unclear how that’s going to manifest at the moment, but that’s precisely why you shouldn’t expect to see a model like the Corvette C8 ZR1 for at least another four years, maybe even more. T

here have been whispers that a 2023 début for the Corvette C8 ZR1 is in Chevrolet’s calendar, and while that is a likely timetable given what we know about Chevrolet’s strategy of giving each Corvette variant enough room to breathe and grow into its own, it still too far away into the future to think of that timetable in concrete terms.

A lot of things can still happen between today and 2023. Maybe Chevrolet’s development of the Corvette C8 ZR1 speeds up, and the car is ready earlier than that. Maybe Chevrolet follows its Corvette C6 strategy and unveils the ZR1 before the Grand Sport. That’s not impossible. Consider all these scenarios fluid for the time being, though it’s also important to keep an eye out for whatever Corvette-related news Chevrolet drops in the coming months. There’s a good chance of chatter surrounding future Corvette models and their respective timetable in that time.

For now, though, pencil the Corvette C8 ZR1 to début sometime in 2023, maybe even 2024, with a big “to be determined” sign right next to it.

What can we expect from the Chevrolet C8 ZR1?

When Can You Buy the C8 Corvette Convertible, Z06, Grand Sport, ZR1: A Timeline
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Since the Chevrolet Corvette C8 Grand Sport is still probably around two years away, it’s hard to expect something from it when you know that a lot of what it’s about will be determined by how the all-new Corvette model evolves in the next year so. I can say that, based on experiences with the Corvette C7 Grand Sport, this model should resemble the Corvette Z06 more than it will the base Corvette. That means (probably) a wide body kit, beefier tires, larger brakes, improved chassis and suspension specs, and of course, a meaty engine. Now, it’s worth noting that the previous-generation Corvette Grand Sport shared an engine with the base Corvette, so it’s going to be interesting what kind of engine Chevrolet decides to put in the new model. I think form will hold and the LT2 engine will be used on the Corvette C8 Grand Sport, but stranger things have happened, especially now when we’re venturing into completely new territory with a mid-engine Corvette.

Further reading

The 9 Mid-Engine Corvette Concepts That Didn't Make it To Production
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Read all about the mid-engined Corvette concepts that never made it to production!

2020 Chevrolet Corvette Zora ZR1 Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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Read our speculative review of the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Zora ZR1

2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 Exterior
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Read our full review of the 2019 Chevy Corvette ZR1

1953 - 1962 Chevrolet Corvette C1 High Resolution Exterior
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Read up on the 1953-1962 Chevy C1 Corvette

1963 - 1968 Chevrolet Corvette C2 High Resolution Exterior
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Check out our review of the 1963-1968 Chevy C2 Corvette

1969 Chevrolet Corvette 427/430 L88 Exterior
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Read our in-depth review of the 1969 Chevy Corvette 427 C3

2001 - 2004 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 (C5)
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Read up on our review of the 1997-2004 Chevy C5 Corvette

2010 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport High Resolution Exterior
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Read up on the 2005-2013 Chevy C6 Corvette

2014 - 2016 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Check out our full review of the 2014-2019 Chevy C7 Corvette

The 9 Mid-Engine Corvette Concepts That Didn't Make it To Production
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The 9 concepts that led to the mid-engined Chevrolet Corvette C8

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