Do you have opposable thumbs and an 8mm socket? If so, we’ve got a do-it-yourself project for C7 convertibles that’s as easy as using a fork.
Better still, the results are dramatic and eye-appealing. It’s the replacement of the factory tonneau cover inserts with leather-trimmed versions from Nowicki Autosport. For about $400 for the pair, they quickly and easily replace the originals, adding a decidedly upscale accent when the top is dropped. They’re available in the standard Stingray and Z06 interior colors so you can match them to the seats or go rogue with a contrasting color. They’re also offered in chic carbon fiber.
Part of the simplicity of the project is due to Chevrolet designers’ customer-focused planning. Knowing the Corvette epitomizes personalization, they designed a number of its components, such as these inserts, to be easily upgraded. Thanks, guys.
With that 8mm socket, a bag of chips and the distraction of a golf tournament on the TV in the background, we did the swap in something like half an hour. There might have been one beer involved. Maybe. We then stood around for another half-hour basking in inflated pride and Instagramming images of a DIY project that was so empowering, we’re heading out to buy more tools for even tougher projects; after we accumulate a few more “likes,” that is.
Seriously, though, this is the sort of easy, at-home personalization project that anyone can do and as you can see from the photos, the results are indeed dramatic. Whether it also makes you look slimmer, restores hair and drives your spouse to slip into something more comfortable is unverifiable. Results, as they say, may vary.
01. Chevrolet could have molded the C7 convertible’s tonneau cover as a single piece, but thoughtfully added the body-color, composite inserts behind the headrests as a nod to the personalization they knew owners would appreciate.
02. Rather than replacing the inserts with painted plastic versions, Nowicki Autosport takes it up a few notches with leather-trimmed inserts that definitely add a premium touch. They match the leather of the seats and are available in all of the Stingray and Z06 interior colors. The set lists for $395 and are part of a broader range of C7 accessories from the company.
03. The first step in the project simply involves pushing a button. With the top lowered, push and hold the top’s power button until the tonneau cover extends to approximately the position shown here. Releasing the button holds the top in place.
04. Now it’s time to crack open the socket set your father-in-law got you for Christmas last year and loosen the nuts holding the inserts onto the tonneau cover. You simply reach under the cover to access them.
05. Here’s a look at where the fasteners are located. One 8mm nut per corner for each insert, or eight of them altogether. That’s the extent of the match involved for this project.
06. Now, it’s simply a matter of dropping on the new inserts and reusing the nuts to tighten them onto the tonneau cover. A light application of muffler oil can be used to lubricate the studs, if necessary. Job done.
07. See, we said this was a simple project with dramatic results. The new leather inserts look and feel like a million bucks on the Corvette, making their $395 cost a real value. If only every bolt-on project were this easy!
Nowicki Autosport’s Z06 Michelin Tribute
To show off its new ConceptZ line of C7 Corvette Z06 aero and styling components, Nowicki Autosport built a black Z06 that pays tribute to company founder Jeff Nowicki’s quarter-century relationship with Michelin. The car has been fitted with new ConceptZ carbon-fiber parts such as the hood insert, rockers, fender vents, rear spoiler, brake ducts and more. The Michelin-themed graphics include a ghosted Bibendum—the official name for the rotund Michelin Man mascot—on the hood. The car also incorporates elements from additional partners such as Purifoy Chevrolet, Brembo, BASF and Mobil 1. Looks great to us.