More than 40 years have passed since Chevrolet labeled a Corvette with a 427 badge, but beginning this summer for a limited run the legendary nameplate will return on a convertible model commemorating the marque’s 60th anniversary. The car was unveiled to the public for the first time Friday night at the Barrett-Jackson auction in Scottsdale, Ariz., where the rights to purchase the first car with serial number 001 will be auctioned off Saturday night. Proceeds from the sale will go toward the AARP’s Drive to End Hunger charity, coordinated through Chevy dealer and NASCAR team owner Rick Hendrick.
The 2013 Corvette 427 Convertible Collector Edition will be the fastest and most capable convertible in Corvette’s history, according to Corvette chief engineer Tadge Juechter. Along with the 427, Chevy will offer a 60th Anniversary Package available on all 2013 Corvette models.
The 427 Convertible takes elements from both the Z06 and ZR1 models. The 427 is fitted with the LS7 engine from the Z06 that makes 505 hp and 470 lb-ft, making it the most powerful engine ever put into a Vette convertible. Like the Z06, the 427 Convertible is only available with a six-speed manual.
The Corvette 427 Convertible will have the same driveline and rear axle system from the Corvette Z06, a rear-mounted battery and standard Magnetic Selective Ride Control. The standard 19-inch front and 20-inch rear wheels are wrapped in ZR1-style Michelin PS2 tires. Lightweight machine-face Cup wheels--introduced on the 2012 Corvette Z06 with Z07 and Corvette ZR1 with PDE performance packages--come standard and include unique gray-painted pockets. Black Cup wheels or chrome ZR1-style wheels are also available.
The 427 Convertible is fitted with several carbon-fiber components to help reduce weight, including carbon fiber raised hood (introduced on the 2011 Z06 Carbon Edition), carbon fiber Z06-style fenders and carbon fiber floor panels. “CFZ” carbon fiber front splitter and rocker panels are optional on the 427 Convertible and included with the 60th Anniversary package.
Juechter said the 427 is also being used a bit as a test-bed for some C7 Corvette technology, where they are using advanced composite materials to help reduce the weight of the car by some 40 pounds, tipping the scales at 3,555 pounds. Juechter said he wouldn’t reveal which components have been modified but that the overall weight savings gives the 427 Convertible a power-to-weight ratio of 6.64--in other words, 1 horsepower to every 6.64 pounds of vehicle weight. According to Chevrolet, that’s better than the Porsche 911 Turbo S Cabriolet at 6.90; the Audi R8 GT 5.2 FSI Spyder at 7.58; the Aston Martin DBS Volante Convertible at 7.82; and the Ferrari California Convertible at 8.31.
Juechter said the 427 Convertible should make the trip from 0 to 60 mph in 3.8 seconds, run a quarter-mile in 11.8 seconds and have a top speed of more than 190 mph. Lateral acceleration is 1.04 g.
The 427 Convertible is available in 2LT, 3LT and 4LT trim levels and will carry a unique vehicle identification number sequence, similar to the Corvette ZR1.
All 2013 Corvette models, including the 427 Convertible, will be available with a 60th Anniversary Package, featuring an Arctic White exterior with a Blue Diamond leather-wrapped interior with suede accents. Convertible models will have a blue fabric top.
Additional content includes a ZR1-style rear spoiler, special badging, gray-painted brake calipers and the “60th” logo on the wheel center caps, steering wheel and seat headrests. 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.
For 2013, 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.
The 2013 427 Convertible is not being built in limited numbers, Juechter said they will build as many as they can sell. But it will be built only for the 2013 model year as the sixth generation of Corvettes wind down. Chevrolet officials have not said when the seventh-generation Vette will be launched, but Juechter said C6 model production will stop about a month before the C7 builds begin, giving the plant in Bowling Green, Ky., time to make the model switchover.
Prices for the 427 Convertible were not released but sources expect the model to start at less than $80,000.