Corvette's New Stingray Convertible Could Revolutionize General Motors

By Katie Spence
December 21, 2013
The Motley Fool




With the top up, the 2014 Corvette Stingray convertible is designed for a refined driving experience. A thick, three-ply fabric top, along with sound-absorbing padding and a glass rear window, contributes to a quiet cabin and premium appearance. General Motors.

If you know a fair amount about cars, you've probably aware that one of the big problems with convertibles is the reduction in performance, compared with coupes. Yes, you get to experience the wind blowing through your hair and the roar of the engine, but that comes with a price -- specifically, a loss of structural rigidity and increased weight.

However, in the latest iteration of the Corvette Stingray convertible, General Motors (NYSE: GM ) tackled this problem head-on. And the result could help revolutionize General Motors' brand.

A convertible that handles like a coupe
There are exceptions, but more often than not, a convertible is designed after its coupe sibling. Consequently, installing the hydraulics for the convertible top adds weight, and removing the top negatively affects structural rigidity -- this often results in what's known as scuttle, or cowl, shake, which is where the chassis flexes, causing a noticeable vibration. In other words, if you're looking for performance, convertibles aren't the way to go.

However, according to Motor Authority, when General Motors design director Tom Peters first planned the new Corvette Stingray, he designed it as an open-top car. As a result, removing the top doesn't negatively affect the car's structural integrity. More importantly, when Motor Authority test-drove the Corvette Stingray convertible, it said, "there's really no shudder, no recognizable difference between the latest C7 Corvette, whether you go for it in Coupe or Convertible form."

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