In 1975, due to Federal safety regulations, Chevrolet discontinued the Corvette Convertible. At the time, consumers were unsure if a ragtop ‘Vette would ever be made again. Well, in 1986, Chevrolet put those fears to bed by releasing both Coupe and Convertible versions. The Convertible was re-engineered to handle the stresses of the high-performance engines in the Corvette, and the Convertible weighed the same as its hard-top counterpart.
Several groundbreaking new features were added for 1986. Anti-Lock brakes (ABS), which were adapted from the Bosch design, used an ECU to manage brake line pressure in order to eliminate wheel lock. The Chevrolet Vehicle Anti-Theft System (VATS), helped prevent auto-theft by requiring a special key be used. This key produced a specific amount of electrical resistance which the ignition lock cylinder measured. If the key did not produce the amount needed by the car, then the car would be disabled until detection of the proper amount of resistance. Corvettes were programmed to need one of fifteen different levels of electrical resistance.
35,109 Corvettes were sold for the ‘86 model year. Of these, 7,315 came with the cloth top, and sold for a base price of $32,032. The base price for the coupe was $27,027. Early production models were equipped with iron cylinder heads, and produced 230hp, but partway through production, GM switched to aluminum heads. These produced 235hp and were installed on all ‘86 convertibles.