The real star of the 1999 Corvette show was the new hardtop model. It’s MSRP was $394 cheaper than the coupe, and $6,802 cheaper than the Convertible from which it took its styling cues. The hardtop was eighty pounds lighter than the other two ‘vettes, and it included the manual transmission and Z51 suspension from the factory. It was essentially the convertible with a fixed hardtop, and since the top was always attached, it was 12% stiffer than the coupe (Corvette Black Book).
To help keep costs down on the hardtop, Chevy limited what options were available. Only five colors (white, Light Pewter, Nassau Blue, Black, and Torch Red) were available, and standard black interior was the only choice. The new for ‘98 telescoping steering wheel wasn’t available on the hardtop either, but RPO UV6, the heads-up display, was offered on all models as an $375 option.
In its first year, the hardtop only sold 4,031 cars. 18,078 coupes sold, and 11,161 convertibles moved off of dealer lots, bringing total production for the 1999 model year to 33,270.