On January 12, Chevrolet introduced the Corvette 427 Convertible Collector Edition, along with a 60th Anniversary Package that will be available on all '13 Corvette models. It is the first time in more than 42 years that GM has produced a 427-powered Corvette convertible for the car-buying public.
"The 2013 model year will be historic for Corvette, marking its 60th Anniversary and the final year for the current sixth-generation of America's Favorite Sports Car," says Chris Perry, Vice President, Global Marketing and Strategy for Chevrolet. "We couldn't think of a more fitting way to celebrate these milestones than bringing back one of the most-coveted combinations in the brand's history--the Corvette convertible and a 427 cubic-inch engine."
The 427 convertible will be fitted with the same handbuilt 7.0L LS7 small-block--rated at 505 hp--that has powered the Z06 since 2006. It also includes the driveline, rear axle, and rear-mounted battery from the Z, as well as Magnetic Selective Ride Control.
ZR1-spec Michelin PS2 tires wrap the 19-inch front and 20-inch rear lightweight machine-face Cup wheels, which were introduced on the '12 Z07 and ZR1 PDE performance packages; they're distinguished by unique gray-painted pockets on the 427 'vert. Black Cup wheels or chrome ZR1-style wheels are also available.
The optional 60th Anniversary Package outfits 427 convertibles with an Arctic White exterior, a Blue Diamond leather-wrapped interior with suede accents, a blue top, a ZR1-style rear spoiler, special badging, gray-painted brake calipers, and a "60th" logo on the wheel center caps, steering wheel, and seat headrests. If that's not enough bling to be your thing, an optional graphics package adds full-length racing stripes in Pearl Silver Blue, including a tonal stripe stitched into the convertible top, extending the graphic theme over the roof.
Chevrolet is quick to note that the new limited-edition is not a Z06 convertible, though performance stats have not been dialed back much from that LS7-powered coupe on this one-year-only drop-top. It delivers an estimated 0-60-mph performance of 3.8 seconds, quarter-mile performance of 11.8 seconds, lateral acceleration of 1.04 g, and a top speed of more than 190 mph.
So why did Chevy decide to finally offer the 427 in a drop-top Corvette for the 21st century? To find out, VETTE spoke with Corvette Product Manager John Fitzpatrick.
VETTE magazine: Why is Chevrolet finally releasing a Corvette 427 convertible to a modern audience?
John Fitzpatrick: It is a chance to recognize an amazing part of Corvette's legacy. In the late '60s, people often asked themselves, "When will I get my 427 convertible?" Today, we are able to make that dream a reality.
VM: What held you back from doing it sooner?
JF: This car builds on all of the technology and learnings we've used to transform the C6 Corvette into a masterpiece. The 427 convertible incorporates things like Magnetic Selective Ride Control, carbon-fiber pieces, and the rear-mounted battery, which just weren't available when we launched the C6.
VM: Why is your announcement of the upcoming 427 convertible not tied to the Z06?
JF: The 427 convertible is a fifth model in the Corvette line, joining the base and convertible, the Grand Sports, the Z06, and the ZR1.
The modern-era Z06 was always designed as a coupe only, but the 427 convertible has a very special place for us in Corvette history. It seemed natural to go back to our legacy and say, "Let's give it one more try!"
VM: What differences are there between the 427 convertible and the Z06?
JF: The biggest difference is the frame construction. The 427 convertible doesn't have the aluminum frame of the Z06, which was solely designed to be a coupe; instead, it uses the steel frame that underpins the Grand Sport convertible.
VM: Did Chevrolet engineers increase the 427 convertible's structural rigidity beyond the specs of the Grand Sport convertible to accommodate this new model's significantly higher power output?
JF: We feel the current Grand Sport frame is capable of handling the torque and power the 7.0L engine will put out.
VM: How does the 427 convertible's tuning compare to the Z06 and ZR1?
JF: It's fair to say that the 427 convertible is not as track-focused as the Z06. It is very capable--the fastest Corvette convertible we've ever done--but it's not tuned the same way we tune the Z06 and ZR1.