The car: 2013 Chevy Corvette 427 Convertible
The power: 505 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque coming from a 7-liter V-8 engine routing power to the rear wheels via a six-speed manual transmission.
The speed: 0-60 mph in 3.8 seconds on its way to a 190+ mph top speed.
The price: Base price is $76,900. As tested: $91,320
The details: Recipe for the 427: Take from the Z06 one engine, driveline, rear axle, optional Magnetic Ride Control, optional carbon fiber hood and fenders, mix with ZR-1's rear spoiler and lightweight wheels wrapped in Michelin PS2 rubber. Hack off the roof. Drop onto a steel frame (the Z06's aluminum frame would flex too much without a roof). Add open road. Serves one driver and one passenger.
The C6 Corvette's days are numbered. Chevrolet recently confirmed it would unveil the next generation, 2014 C7 Corvette just ahead of the Detroit Auto Show in January. As with many other cars when the sunset of their existence approaches, the obligatory special edition rolls out. But rather than just slap some unique trim and a limited production run on a C6, Chevy went and made arguably the best version this generation of Corvette has seen.
Sure the 427 does almost nothing to update the long-panned and hopelessly outdated interior. But with some extra power, helpings of exotic carbon fiber and a power-retractable roof, this car gives you all the brute force of the Z06 with the extra liveability a convertible affords.
Not only is this a special edition for the C6, but the model I tested also wore the 60th Anniversary design and stripe packages, which celebrate...the 60th anniversary of the Corvette. The design package adds $1,075 and the white exterior, suede-wrapped steering wheel, shift lever and parking brake, a blue convertible top and various logos and trim pieces throughout the car. Another $850 went towards the stripes you see here.
Another $9,500 added to the base 427 items like power leather bucket seats with memory, a power-retractable roof and a leather-wrapped interior. Items like a navigation system, heads-up display, Bose sound system, Xenon headlights and keyless entry with push-button start are standard.
The drive: Take anyone who purports to enjoy cars/driving and put them in the driver's seat of this 427 and they're going to enjoy themselves. I don't care how sophisticated or urbane they may claim their automotive proclivities to be. Looking out over the long hood while sitting low to the ground and having the wide, flat trunk sitting behind you is a great start. Firing up the ignition and hearing all seven liters (427 cubic-inches) of American muscle burble and growl is a great second date. Slipping the tightly spaced and heavy short-throw shifter into first and taking off consummates your relationship. It's a thrill the entire time.
By the time you're in second gear, this engine will pull towards the horizon forever. Fault convertibles for some added chassis flex all you want; the additional sound this one allows to penetrate your skull is worth it in my book. Besides, it's only when the suspension is in 'Sport' mode and either you or the road are rough do you notice any meaningful chassis twitch.
Unfortunately, the best aural results require a small bit of effort before you drive. To comply with sound regulations on its 427, Z06 and ZR1 Corvettes, the cars all have a fuse that regulates an exhaust flap during idling and low RPM cruising. By simply yanking this little guy out (it's only for this function), you have access to the Corvette sound the way it was intended; low, throaty and heavy with the delicious pop and cackle of exhaust overrun. Taking it towards its redline only makes this engine seem more stout and never once gets tiring.
Meanwhile, the steering is tight and linear and matches the precision required from the gearbox. The stability control has a competitive mode that allows for more liberal goosage of the throttle for tail-happy antics.
The interior of this car may not have aged well, but its ride certainly has. The Magnetic Ride Control's 'Tour' setting gives you a wonderfully refined ride that's never too stiff for daily driving. The convertible top can only function when the car is stationary, but once it's in place, it's great at sealing out the elements. This adds to the feeling of refinement.
If you're a Corvette fan, and have at least $76,000 kicking around, I say head for a 427. Sure the C7 will undoubtedly have a more world-class interior, a V-8 to make gearheads proud and handling superior to this last-stage C6. But this 427's motor has few flaws and fewer equals and to sample it with no roof over your head is something any fan of internal combustion will love.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times