Turning 60

Also from Issue 73

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In terms of suspension tuning, the 427 Convertible is not as stiff at the Z06. Its spring rates, shock valving and anti-roll bar diameters are closer to those found on the Grand Sport convertible. “We wanted it to be more of a road car than a track car,” explains Charles. That said, the model’s roadholding capabilities are still extremely high. It generates 1.04 g of lateral acceleration, a figure that places the 427 Convertible among the world’s highest-performing supercars.

There’s no doubt about it, the Corvette has come a long way since its debut, making the car’s 60th birthday a milestone worth celebrating. According to Charles, the 60th Anniversary Package’s Arctic White exterior color was chosen not only because the original ’53 show car was white, but because it is a traditional color that has been offered every model year. However, instead of pairing a white exterior with a red interior—as was used on the Motorama show car—Chevy decided to do something a little different. The option group’s interior has Blue Diamond leather upholstery, and convertible models feature a matching blue top.

The pre-production vehicle you see here does not have the correct roof. We wish it did because we could then show you what Chevy is calling a “tonal stripe,” a dark strip of fabric stitched into the top that lines up with the optional Pearl Silver Blue racing stripes. Up until now, Corvette convertible tops have interrupted such stripes because they were constructed of a single-color fabric—think ’96 Grand Sport Convertible.

Other 60th Anniversary Package features include suede upholstery on the steering wheel and shift lever, an embossed logo on the headrest and various special badges, as well as a full-width, body-color rear spoiler and gray-painted brake calipers. The 427 Convertible gets a few 60th Anniversary items all its own: a carbon-fiber front splitter and carbon-fiber rocker panels, both borrowed from the Z06’s CFZ option package.

It looks as though the 2013 model year will be the end of the road for the large-displacement Corvette V8. In the near future, stricter Corporate Average Fuel Economy regulations will make it very difficult to bring such a big engine to market. Cutting-edge technologies such as direct fuel injection will make the next-generation of Corvette engines more efficient while preserving, or perhaps even improving upon output, but they can’t save the 7.0-liter displacement. “This might be the last chance to buy a 427 V8,” says Charles.

While the 427 Convertible is not officially a limited-edition model, and Chevy has no specific number of cars that it intends to build, there are nevertheless enough production constraints, such as the LS7 engine being hand-built, that demand will likely outstrip supply when production begins this summer. No matter how many 427 Convertibles are assembled, it’s destined to become a classic.