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.
VM: Will Chevrolet offer a factory-issued rollbar for the car?
JF: At this point, we have no plans to bring one out, but we did consider it. For now, we'll leave that to the aftermarket.
VM: Are all '13 Corvette factory colors and trim packages available to the 427 convertible?
JF: It will be available in all exterior, interior, and top colors that we offer for 2013, and in 2LT, 3LT, and 4LT trim levels. At this point that includes non-recommended color/trim/top combos, and get ready for this: Black returns as an exterior color for the model year.
VM: Will production or dealer allocation of the 427 convertible be constrained to increase its exclusivity?
JF: No. We will build as many as people want. We aim to please.
VM: What date will they be available for customer order?
JF: Dealer and customer ordering opens in late March 2012.
VM: When will dealer deliveries begin?
JF: We expect them to be in dealer showrooms in June of this year.
VM: Will they be available to order until summer 2013?
JF: No. Our 2013 Corvette model run is not going to be a full 12-month run. It will be a bit shorter. We start production in May 2012 and will end production in the first quarter of 2013.
VM: What will pricing be for the model and its options?
JF: We'll announce pricing in the spring.
VM: Is the 427 convertible signed up for pace-car duties at Indy, Daytona, or other speedways for 2013?
JF: We cannot disclose an answer to that question at this point.
VM: What options are available to augment the 427 convertible buying experience?
JF: It is available for the Engine Plant Build Experience (EPBE), where you help build your Corvette's engine at our Performance Build Center. It will also have a unique VIN sequence and you can specify the last digits of your VIN.
VM: Will the Corvette 427 convertible live beyond the 2013 model year?
JF: We can't answer that, but have no doubt that 2013 is the last model run for the C6 Corvette, Grand Sport, Z06, and ZR1. If you're sitting on the fence about getting a 427 convertible, a Z06, or a ZR1, now is the time to put your order in.
Note: For '13, all Corvettes will feature 60th Anniversary badges on the fascias (and the "waterfall" panel on convertible models), as well as 60th logos in the instrument-panel gauge cluster and on the sill plates.
'13 Chevrolet Corvette 427 Convertible Collector Edition
- Model: Chevrolet Corvette 427 Convertible Collector Edition
Body styles/driveline: Two-door convertible; rear-wheel drive Construction: Composite body panels, hydroformed steel frame with aluminum and magnesium structural and chassis components Manufacturing location: Bowling Green, KY Displacement (cu in/cc): 427/7,008 Bore & stroke (in/mm): 4.125 x 4/104.8 x 101.6 Block material: Cast aluminum Cylinder head material: Cast aluminum Valvetrain: Overhead valve, two valves per cylinder Fuel delivery: SFI (sequential fuel injection) Compression ratio: 11.0:1 Horsepower: 505/377 at 6,300 Torque (lb-ft/Nm at rpm): 470/637 at 4,800 Recommended fuel: Premium required Estimated fuel economy (city/hwy): 15/24 (no guzzler tax) Transmission: Six-speed manual (automatic trans is not available)
- Front: Short/long arm (SLA) double wishbone, cast- aluminum upper and lower control arms, transverse-mounted composite leaf spring, monotube shock absorber; Magnetic Selective Ride Control
Rear: Short/long arm (SLA) double wishbone, cast- aluminum upper and lower control arms, transverse-mounted composite leaf spring, monotube shock absorber; Magnetic Selective Ride Control Traction control: Electronic traction control; active handling
- Type: Front and rear power-assisted disc with ABS with six-piston front and four-piston rear calipers, cross-drilled rotors
Rotor diameter x thickness (in/mm): Front Brake swept area (sq in/mm): Front
- Wheelbase (in/mm): 105.7/2,685
Overall length (in/mm): 175.6/4,460 Overall width (in/mm): 75.9/1,928 Overall height (in/mm): 48.7/1,236 Curb weight (lb/kg): 3355/1,522 Weight distribution (% front/rear): 50/50
Interior volume (cu ft/L): 52/1,475 Legroom (in/mm): 43/1,092 Shoulder room (in/mm): 55/1,397 Hip room (in/mm): 54/1,371
- Cargo volume (cu ft/L): 11/295 (top up); 7.5/212 (top down)
Fuel tank (gal/L): 18/68.1 Engine oil (qt/L): 10.5/9.9
Note: Information shown is current at time of publication.