Skip to main content

Why the corvette convertible now has a hardtop roof

The new 2020 Corvette Convertible is finally here, and for the first time in history, it has a folding hardtop roof. I’d be lying if I said I’ve seen much angst and anger over this fact, but I’d also be lying if I said I didn’t expect it to happen. People hate change, historic marquee fans as much as anyone. So why did the General Motors engineers change from a cloth roof to a hardtop? Let us count the reasons why.

The most obvious reason to adopt a metal and plastic roof is security. The constant bane of any convertible owner is the bogeyman (ne bogeyperson) of a ne’er-do-well with a knife, seemingly around every corner ready to hack into your convertible roof and steal all the loose contents of your car’s cabin. I’d love to see actual police reports of how common this is, but it can’t be that widespread given the fact that most new convertibles are still cloth topped. While the lack of security is certainly high on the soft top’s negatives list, it is doubtful this was the main reason for the change in C8 Corvette.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

As I just mentioned, cloth roofs are the most common type of convertible, and it has been thus ever since the introduction of the first automobiles. The reasons why the first “convertibles” and the majority of today’s true convertibles are soft tops are the fact that they are lighter, simpler, less prone to catastrophic failure, and less expensive to produce at the factory. In any automaker’s twin goals of producing cars profitably and creating a good ownership experience, cloth roofs have historically had all the advantages.

What has changed, and what was certainly front of mind for the Corvette C8 engineers, was the buying public’s current demand that our cars be temple-silent once we are ensconced inside their plush cabins. As a society, we now expect our vehicles to be completely without wind noise, rattles, shakes, or knocks of any kind. The reduction of noise – or NVH (Noise, Vibration, and Harshness) to us car nerds – is without a doubt the primary reasoning behind General Motors going through the extra headache and expense of designing, manufacturing, and servicing warranties on the folding hardtop.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

This reduction in noise, and the solid roof itself, lend the C8 a more upscale and mature feel. This is no bad thing for a car model that has historically battled with a perception of poor quality and cheap materials (sexy fiberglass!) and has always been attempting to join the “big-boys” club of sports cars. Previous generations of the Corvette have been lauded for their big horsepower, but not much else. A noise-cancelling and security-enhancing folding hardtop could do wonders for this reputation, and might just gain them entry into the Europeans’ fancy sports car club.

Editors' Recommendations

Topics
Adam Kaslikowski
Former Digital Trends Contributor
I don't have oil in my veins, but I do have it all over my carpets and clothes. Over my 10-year journalistic career, my…
The 6 best car GPS trackers in 2024
For the ultimate peace of mind, equip your car with a GPS tracker
GPS Tracker for your car

Whether you’re concerned about your vehicle being stolen or just want to keep tabs on a teen driver, you’ve probably considered installing one of the many car GPS trackers. The high price for LoJack or other subscription-based tracker services may have kept you from pulling the trigger, but these days, a highly-rated device is much more affordable. They do come standard in some modern vehicles, but not all, and sometimes cost extra to have installed even by the manufacturer. There's no denying that they are useful. So, if you want to treat yourself to some peace of mind -- whether your vehicle is parked right outside or thousands of miles away -- it might be time to think about installing one of the best GPS trackers for your car.

 
The best car GPS trackers in 2024

Read more
The 6 best car phone holders in 2024
Belkin BoostCharge Magnetic Wireless Car Charger with an iPhone 14 Pro.

Belkin BoostCharge Magnetic Wireless Car Charger Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

Installing a car phone mount in your vehicle is the best way to make sure that you have easy access to your smartphone when behind the wheel. While you shouldn't be using your phone while driving, having it mounted on your windshield, dashboard, vent, or anywhere else will let you take a quick glance when you're using a navigation app, or to change your playlist when you stop for a traffic light, for example. Instead of having to pick up your device, it will be easier and faster to get these done while it's on a car phone mount for less time of having your eyes off the road.

Read more
Should you buy a used EV? Maybe, but it’s complicated
2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5 Limited AWD rear end side profile from driver's side with trees and a metal fence in the back.

Electric cars are slowly but surely getting cheaper. Over the past year or so, Ford and Tesla have been discounting their most popular electric cars while other brands, like Rivian, are laying the groundwork for all-new cheaper models.

But you'd still be hard-pressed to call electric cars cheap, and buying a completely new car in the first place is a hurdle in and of itself for many potential buyers. According to Statista, used car sales represented around 74% of all car sales in 2022, and while this figure is likely to change as electric cars get cheaper, the fact remains that most car buyers would prefer to save cash and buy used rather than buy something new.
Buying a new car ain't what it used to be
Buying a car with an electric powertrain doesn't necessarily need to be all that different from buying an internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle. But there's a little more to it than that.

Read more