After the dramatic move to a mid-engined layout, the second biggest shock at the launch of the new, eight-generation Chevrolet Corvette was the promise of a right-hand-drive version.
The all-American sports car has been produced since 1953, but only ever in left-hand drive. However, moving the engine behind the driver makes the conversion much easier.
More than a year since the C8 Corvette was revealed, though, some fans are becoming impatient about when we will see RHD models. That patience is likely to be tested a little longer.
No transatlantic cancellations
North American market production of the new model began in February 2020. General Motors previously stated ‘early 2021’ as the predicted launch date for right-hand-drive C8 Corvettes.
The good news is that, despite Covid-19, the RHD Corvette is still in the works. Chevrolet began testing pre-production versions earlier this year, and also released an image of how the interior will look.
Yet the UK is unlikely to get earliest access to the mid-engined model. Japan, which saw its entire initial allocation of 300 cars sell out immediately, will take the first deliveries.
American performance for all
Building a right-hand-drive Corvette means it becomes a viable option for a number of new markets. South Africa, India, New Zealand and Australia will all be able to enjoy the American icon with the steering wheel on the ‘correct’ side of the cockpit.
Australian buyers have existing experience of performance Chevrolet models. Holden Special Vehicles converted more than 1,000 examples of the Camaro muscle car to right-hand drive, before the company became defunct earlier this year.
A new GM Speciality Vehicles outfit will be responsible for selling the Corvette in Australia, with a target of late 2021 for deliveries. Australian enthusiasts can order the Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck in RHD format, too.
Ready for launch?
For those in the Northern Hemisphere, the new Corvette is now officially predicted to be with dealers ‘from the second half of 2021’.
UK customers will be able to take advantage of a launch edition model, priced from £81,700 for the Stingray coupe. The comes in the top-level 3LT trim, with features including magnetically adjustable suspension and exterior tweaks.
All versions of the C8 Corvette sold in Europe will come fitted with the Z51 Performance Package as standard. This takes the 6.2-litre V8 engine to 495 hp, and adds extras like Brembo brakes and a freer-flowing exhaust.
Chevrolet will also offer the folding-hardtop Stingray convertible version of the Corvette, priced from £87,110.
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