Three Days in the D

Also from Issue 76

  • 1967 Restomod
  • C5 Buyer's Guide
  • 1957 Convertible Restoration
  • 2004 C1 Conversion
  • Tech: MSRC Shocks
  • 1973 Manta Ray GT
  • Racing: Le Mans
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We instinctively braced for impact on the pock-marked, expansion-jointed and generally lumpy streets around Detroit, but the 427 Convertible absorbed surface irregularities like a pothole sponge, even with the suspension setting turned to Sport. More impressive was the car’s solidity. The body didn’t rattle, the windshield header didn’t shimmy and only on the sharpest of impacts did we detect some reverberation in the steering wheel.

We asked Jeff Nowicki, ex-GM designer, longtime Corvette racer and former owner of Specter Werkes/Sports, to assist in some of the car-to-car shots we needed for our story’s action photos. He drove while we hung out of a chase car snapping photos, then we pressed him for an opinion. “I’m impressed,” he said. “I’ve driven countless C6s, but this combination of the LS7 and Magnetic Ride Control with the convertible is damn-near perfect. It would be easy to drive this car 1,000 miles and you’d know you would still have the capability to outrun just about anything on a road course. It would be interesting to test this car on the track.”

We thought the same, but our time with the car didn’t allow for instrumented testing. That means we’d have to rely on Chevrolet’s performance numbers, which include an estimated 0-60 mph performance of 3.8 seconds, eclipsing the quarter-mile in 11.8 seconds, lateral acceleration of 1.04 g and a top speed of more than 190 mph. The 427 Convertible’s curb weight of 3,355 pounds is within five percent of the Z06’s 3,199-pound figure. Factoring in the LS7’s output, the 427 Convertible has a power-to-weight ratio of 6.64:1. That’s better than the Audi R8 Spyder (7.58) or Ferrari California (8.31). More than its light touch on the scales, the 427 Convertible has a balanced feel. The car is very controllable and easy to place with both the steering wheel and throttle.

Friday: 7:45 p.m.

After the photo shoot, we ventured onto Woodward Avenue to check out the throngs of cars that appear on warm summer nights. Within a couple of blocks, we came up on a blue C6 with the vanity plate “CALIBR8,” which we knew belonged to tuner Greg Banish of Calibrated Success. His seminars, books and videos about EFI tuning are popular, and he puts his advice to use in his personal Corvette. Its twin-turbo LS3 engine pumps out about 670 horsepower. It was the first time all day we’d rolled up on something that might have an edge on the 427 Convertible. “Nothing to worry about with this car,” Banish said, laughing. “It’s all tire spin at the stoplight.”

After chatting with Banish about the finer points of fuel injectors and the tuning prospects for the direct-injected Gen 5 small-block V8 in the forthcoming C7 Corvette, we called it a day. It was on the way home that we realized the seats—revised for 2012 with new bolsters and carried over for ’13—add another dimension to the driving experience. They are more supportive than anything from the factory we’ve experienced in the past and the microfiber inserts provide a fair share of grip themselves, while looking very upscale.

Saturday: 8:00 A.m.