The C7 Corvette Stingray is dead. Long live the C7 Corvette Stingray.
Ivan Schrodt, a longtime benefactor of Bowling Green’s National Corvette Museum, saw to it Wednesday that the next-to-last C7 (or seventh-generation) Corvette and the very last Stingray model to roll off the assembly line at the General Motors Bowling Green Assembly Plant will live on at the museum just a couple of gear shifts from the plant.
Schrodt, who served on the museum’s board of directors from 2008 through 2012 and had previously donated six other Corvettes, handed over the sports car’s keys to museum CEO Sean Preston, who drove it into its spot in the museum’s Skydome.
“The event today started when I got a call from Preston telling me that General Motors had offered the museum the opportunity to buy the last Stingray,” said Schrodt, a Wisconsin native who holds a doctorate in chemical engineering and is retired from his position as chairman of Integrated Paper Services.
Schrodt said he and his wife, Mary, “didn’t hesitate” to purchase the Stingray with the Z51 performance package and ensure that the historic vehicle would have a home in the museum.
“We purchased the car, which is the last front-engine Stingray that will ever be made,” Schrodt said. “Now we have handed that car over to the safekeeping of the museum.”
The white Stingray with what’s called an “adrenaline red” interior has taken a place in the Skydome’s generational display that features a number of Corvettes.
Few of those cars are more significant than the Stingray that came off the assembly line Nov. 14 and signaled the end of a run of producing front-engine models that started in 1953 and the beginning of the eighth-generation models with a mid-engine design.
“It’s very important for the museum to have this car,” said Derek Moore, National Corvette Museum curator. “It’s the last front-engine Stingray and really ends a 66-year era. We appreciate Dr. Schrodt for allowing us to have this car.”
Corvette Assembly Plant Manager Kai Spande was also happy to see the last C7 Stingray find a home in the museum that showcases and honors the history of the sports car that has been produced in Bowling Green since 1981.
“To have the second-to-last Corvette and the last Stingray here is very special,” Spande said. “The C7 has been wildly successful. To see the last one come down the line with nothing behind it was kind of bittersweet.”
The C7 was introduced in 2014 and earned the “Automobile of the Year” award from Automobile Magazine and other honors for its styling and performance.
Schrodt, who owns a 2016 C7 model, calls it “absolutely the most incredible car I’ve ever owned.”
But now Schrodt, who has also played a key role in providing cars and scholarships to Warren County Area Technology Center students, has been captured by the buzz over the mid-engine C8 Corvette.
He has already placed his order for a C8 Stingray, which recently won the 2020 MotorTrend Car of the Year award even before full-scale production of the mid-engine model has begun.
The Bowling Green GM plant is “undergolng launch-related downtime” until Dec. 6, according to Corvette Assembly Plant Communications Manager Rachel Bagshaw. She said production of the C8 Corvettes should start in February.
GM announced in April plans to add 400 hourly workers and a second shift at the Corvette plant as it ramps up production of the C8. Most of those workers have already transferred from other GM locations and will bring total employment at the plant to about 1,400.
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