Corvette drops a hint of the ragtop it will reveal at the Geneva Motor Show next month.

General Motors has confirmed one of the auto industry’s worst-kept secrets, formally announcing plans to reveal the convertible version of the all-new 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray at the Geneva Motor Show on March 5th.

The coupe version of the “C7,” as it’s known to aficionados, made its formal debut at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, last month, and was considered the big hit of that gathering. At the time, Chevy officials hinted that other variants of the ‘Vette would quickly start rolling out.

“Every Corvette is designed at the outset as an open car,” said Tadge Juechter, Corvette chief engineer. “The new Stingray is no different, with the coupe and convertible designed to excel in any situation – be it your daily commute, a drive across the continent, or charging through twisting back roads.”

In a conversation with last December, Juechter revealed that a convertible was on the books from the moment the C7 project got underway.  That meant coming up with a design that didn’t depend on the structure of its roof to retain the necessary chassis stiffness for a truly world-class sports car.

In fact, Juechter noted there will be no cross beams or additional bracing needed for the Corvette Stingray Convertible, a significant advantage over some competing models because it means no added weight or loss of cargo or passenger space, nor any impact on the vehicle’s center of gravity. That said, the Convertible will almost certainly pick up a small amount of weight due to the added mass of the foldaway roof.

It is expected GM will adopt a much more modern soft top than in the outgoing, sixth-generation Corvette. If it’s in line with a competitor like the Porsche Boxster, for example, it could be retracted or raised in a matter of less than 20 seconds.

The decision to unveil the 2014 Corvette Stingray Convertible in Europe emphasizes Chevy’s goal of transforming the ‘Vette from a primarily American sports car into a truly global nameplate.  Initial reviews suggest that, at least from a design perspective, it has the best chance of expanding its reach of any Corvette in decades.

The coupe version of the C7 will reach market in the second half of 2013, with the convertible likely to follow in time for next year’s al fresco driving season.

While mass production of the sports car is still months from launch, Chevrolet did auction off the first model, serial number 0001, at the recent Barrett-Jackson Auction in Scottsdale, Arizona, where it raised $1.1 million for the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, a major art and automotive design school.

GM plans to auction off the first convertible, meanwhile, at the Barrett-Jackson auction in Palm Beach, later this year. Money from that even will go to support the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute, also in Detroit.

Chevy is expected to follow the Corvette Convertible with a number of other C7 variants including the next-gen versions of the Z06 and ZR1 models.

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