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Chevrolet Building Two Special Edition Corvettes For The Japanese Market

When one thinks of Corvettes, the thoughts are generally about long roads in America where drag races take place, or of carving canyons in the only true American sports car. One does not, however, think about Japan when one thinks of a Corvette, yet the land of the rising sun is getting two ultra-limited editions models that are for the island nation only.

Of course, offering the Corvette C8 in right hand drive has led to sales in Australia, New Zealand, the UK, and yes, Japan. In 2023, 567 brand new Stingray models arrived on their shores, and for 2024, 40 of the cars that land there will be either the “Edition CERV1,” limited to 20 units, or the “Heritage Edition,” again limited to 20 units.

Why Japan Is Getting Exclusive Special Edition C8’s

The basic reason, if you don’t dig too deeply into is, as to why Japan is getting special editions is because the C8 is selling like crazy for a “foreign” car there. As mentioned above, 567 C8’s in one year is superb as that averages out to just about 1.5 Corvettes sold per day, if you count weekends.

To dig a little deeper as to the naming of the two C8 special editions, it comes about mostly due to the Japanese people’s respect for the past while also searching for new ways and new ideas. This entire idea is held within the word 温故知新, or “onkochishin,” which literally translates to “Respect the old, create the new.” The subtleties of it, however, circle more around learning the basics, then learning all the accumulated wisdom to master something, and then creating the new.

Japanese culture is very different from what many North Americans know in the sense of mastering a skill. Over here, you can apprentice for someone in a wide range of industries for anywhere between 1 to 4 years and then be considered as having mastered the basics and the knowledge. To the Japanese, often the bare minimum apprenticeship is 10 years, and then a lifetime pursuing perfection after that.

Zora Arkus-Duntov and the 1959 CERV1
Zora Arkus-Duntov and the original CERV1 prototype. An idea from 7 decades ago has now been realized, which Chevrolet Japan wishes to honor. Image via Chevrolet Japan

In that way, when Zora Arkus-Duntov first proposed a mid-engine Corvette back in the late 1950s, the C8 is seen by the Japanese as honoring that promise of a powerful mid-engine American sports car. Be it that it took General Motors nearly 7 decades between the original prototypes of the C2 to the production C8, those years tie in to the apprenticeship discussion above. It took 70 years for it to be done right, after learning all the basics and then accumulating all the knowledge through the C2 to C7 generations before the C8 was finally perfected.

It also ties into the idea of the master, Arkus-Duntov, creating the “Chevrolet Experimental Racing Vehicle” (CERV) series to prove that the placement and power worked, although the idea was ultimately rejected. The CERV1 was a race car with a Corvette V8 in the middle, and was obscenely fast with the lightness of the body and the sheer horsepower of all eight cylinders roaring.

But, that car came after many years of successful Corvette C1 sales, which was the origin of the car we all love. Seeing as this is the first generation of Corvette that comes with a RHD version as part of the main production line, Chevrolet Japan decided to give the Japanese a taste of what the C1 was like, at least in terms of colors.

The Heritage Edition and the Edition CERV1 are both priced above the standard C8’s price in Japan of ¥14,200,000 (approximately $96,030), although underneath they are unchanged from the Stingray’s basic construction and running gear. These special editions, in the same vein as the Indy 500 Pace Car special editions in the USA, are cosmetic only.

Edition CERV1 Features

Comprised of 15 coupes and 5 convertibles, these 20 Corvettes come with the running gear of a Stingray. Where the special edition part comes in is with the paint, as it is a replica of the Silver Flare paint with Edge Blue racing stripes that was used on the CERV 1 in 1959.

It will come as a 2LT spec, but with the GT2 seats in the coupe and the competition seats in the convertible. As well, it comes with Edge Yellow brake calipers.

Corvette C8 Edition CERV1
The Edition CERV1 Japanese special edition of the Corvette C8. The paint and racing stripes color come directly from the original CERV1 prototype vehicles. Image via Chevrolet Japan

A special set of 20-inch five-spoke wheels in semi-gloss black contrast with those calipers.

Edition CERV1 Corvette C8 wheels
Semi-gloss special edition 5-spoke wheels accented by the yellow brake calipers. Image via Chevrolet Japan

The interior will come in a mix of Jet Black and Navy Blue, to recreate the same feel of the small cockpit of the original CERV1.

CERV1 interior
The dark blue and black interior of the Edition CERV1 looks positively menacing with the two tones subtly playing off of each other. Image via Corvette Japan

As with all Corvette special editions, there will also be a small numbered badge somewhere in the interior, although none of the special editions have been delivered yet, so no one knows quite where it will be.

1959 CERV1 Prototype
The 1959 CERV1 prototype that demonstrated that a mid-engine Corvette not only worked, but could also be ridiculously fast. Image via Corvette Japan

It is priced at ¥15,100,000 (approximately $102,120) for the coupe and ¥18,900,000 (approximately $127,820) for the convertible.

Heritage Edition Features

Probably the more interesting of the two special editions for most prospective buyers, the Heritage Edition was inspired by the Corvette C1, introduced in 1953. It will also come as 15 coupes and 5 convertibles.

The Heritage Edition will be the first Corvette that will try to carry the specific shade of Adrenaline Red for the interior of the C1.

1953 Corvette C1 interior adrenaline red
While there have been many shades of Adrenaline Red over the years, the C8 Heritage Edition is the first one that will carry as close to the exact same shade as the C1 from 75 years ago in a special variant color only available on this car. Image via Carscoops

The exterior also gets a special edition paint, a Seawolf Grey tri-coat finish which will be a first for the Japanese market.

Heritage Edition Corvette C8
The Seawolf Gray on the Heritage Edition will be the first (and possibly only) time the tri-coat color is available for the Japanese market. Image via Chevrolet Japan

It will also be getting a special set of 20-inch forged aluminum wheels that are finished in gloss black.

Heritage edition Corvette C8 wheels
Finished in gloss black, the forged aluminum wheels of the Heritage Edition look amazing with the grey body color and yellow calipers. Image via Chevrolet Japan

Instead of the numbered badge being in the central console area, for the Heritage Edition, it will be located above the car information plate in the door jamb, keeping in line with how the original C1 was badged with its manufacturing plate.

Heritage edition Corvette C8
The interior of the Heritage Edition has a special variant of the original C1’s red interior color. Image via Chevrolet Japan

It is priced at ¥17,400,000 (approximately $117,674) for the coupe and ¥18,900,000 (approximately $127,820) for the convertible.

Are There Going To Be Special Editions For Other Regions?

This is a question that can only be answered with a non-committal “Maybe.”

The onus for the Japanese market special editions came from Chevrolet Japan directly, and was agreed to by General Motors in the US. We wouldn’t be surprised to see more special editions for Europe, Oceania, South America, or even other parts of Asia, as the C8 is the first truly global market Corvette.

Don’t forget, there are also multiple trims of the C8 coming in the next few years, such as the twin-turbo ZR1 and the hypercar C8 Zora. We’ve also already had a special edition for North America, with the 75th Anniversary Edition.

Truth be told, if there were no more special editions for the C8 generation, we would be shocked. General Motors is winning major accolades the world over with the first proper supercar to come from Chevrolet, so only time will tell what the next special edition could be!