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The eighth-generation Chevrolet Corvette has already marked a number of firsts for the storied sports car: First mid-engine Corvette. First standard model to hit 60 mph in under 3 seconds. First with a dual-clutch transmission.

Add another: The 2020 Corvette convertible will be the first with a retractable hardtop.

Chevrolet introduced its latest topless Corvette in Cape Canaveral, Florida, on Wednesday. A convertible model has been available with every generation of Corvette. The original 1953 car was offered only as a soft-top. Corvette introduced a removable hardtop in 1956. The current Stingray coupe has a removable targa mid-roof section.

But the 2020 Corvette will be the first to offer a completely retractable hardtop that stows behind the passenger compartment. The design works much like the hardtops on more-expensive mid-engine supercars like the Ferrari 488 Spider that retails for $284,650.

The convertible option will be offered on the Corvette as a $7,500 premium over the standard $59,995 model. Like the C7 Corvette before it, the C8 was designed from the ground up to go topless without compromising the car’s core, dynamic integrity.

“Our goal from the beginning was to make sure customers didn’t have to sacrifice any functionality, performance or comfort when choosing the hardtop convertible,” said Corvette engineering manager Josh Holder. “We managed to keep the same design theme as the coupe, as well as the exceptional storage capacity and track capability.”

By stowing the hardtop in the rear deck between two aircraft-inspired nacelles, the tonneau cover will obscure the engine compartment (the engine is displayed under glass in the hardtop coupe) but will not compromise rear or front storage. The rear cargo space can still hold two golf bags, while the front can stow an airline-spec carry-on bag and laptop case.

The nacelles are reminiscent of the flying buttresses on convertible Ferrari 458 or Lamborghini Huracan. The Corvette’s hardtop retracts in 16 seconds at speeds of up to 30 mph.

A body-colored roof is standard; Carbon Flash metallic-painted nacelles and roof are optional.

Though it will no longer be externally visible, the engine in the Corvette convertible will be the same 495-horse V-8 found in the standard car. New vents behind the tonneau cover will help the beast breathe.

Corvette designers were careful to design the convertible to resist engine heat with minimal air-resistance. The composite top stows in a lightweight, shielded compartment to manage engine temperatures. With the top up, the C8 convertible sports an identical drag-coefficient as the coupe.

The Corvette Stingray coupe goes into production in Bowling Green, Kentucky, later this year. The convertible will following in the late first quarter of 2020. The convertible will also be offered for international markets with right-hand drive.

Potential buyers can now build and price their Corvette at Chevrolet.com.

Henry Payne is auto critic for The Detroit News. Find him at hpayne@detroitnews.com or Twitter @HenryEPayne. Catch “Car Radio with Henry Payne” from noon-2 p.m. Saturdays on 910 AM Superstation.

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