Whether viewed as a struggling municipality that’s seen better times or a metaphor for America’s industrial decline, Detroit is anything but pretentious. The same is true of the Corvette. There are no airs about this sports car, whether you’re talking about the entry-level $49,600 coupe or the $111,600 ZR1.
There was then, perhaps, no better venue to sample the new, 2013 Corvette 427 Convertible Collector Edition than the streets of the Motor City. By its very name, this car recalls the halcyon days of big blocks, muscle cars and street racing on Woodward Avenue—the legendary thoroughfare that runs north out of the city and has long been metro Detroit’s cruising hot spot. The city was firing on all cylinders back in the ’60s, and there are signs today that the engine that is Detroit is starting to rumble back to life.
Likewise, the 427 Convertible illustrates the resilience and relevance of an all-American icon. It is the latest in the series of commemorative models that mark the end of a Corvette generation. The tradition dates back to 1982 and the end of the C3 generation, but never before has one of these models been so thoroughly re-engineered. As the name implies, the 427 Convertible is powered by the Z06’s 505-horsepower LS7 engine, but more than simply a factory convertible with a more powerful engine, it combines comprehensive changes throughout—from Z06 carbon-fiber front body components to ZR1 wheels and tires and uniquely calibrated Magnetic Selective Ride Control shocks—to create a well-balanced, high-performance sports car.
For the record, our tester was sprayed in lustrous Crystal Red and fitted with optional black “Cup” wheels, along with optional carbon-fiber rocker extensions and front splitter, as well as silver headlight housings. It also wore 60th anniversary logos that all 2013 Corvettes wear, which shouldn’t be confused with the available 60th Anniversary Design package that includes an Arctic White Exterior with a Blue Diamond leather interior. The options pushed our test car’s $75,925 MSRP up to about $80,000. A 427 Heritage package is available; it adds a hood graphic reminiscent of the classic stinger hood.
Our window of opportunity with the 427 Convertible opened on a Friday afternoon and closed on a Monday morning. It turned into three days of automotive happenstance that could only take place in the Motor City.
Friday: 1 p.m.
It would be easy to assume this car is essentially a Corvette Grand Sport convertible fitted with the LS7 engine—and frankly, that was our assumption before sliding behind the wheel. But there is much more to the 427 Convertible than simply the 505-horsepower engine married to the convertible body, and it didn’t take more than the first five minutes behind the wheel for that fact to reveal itself.