That’s not just hyperbole. At 3404 pounds, the 427 weighs just 151 pounds more than the Z06/Z07 we tested last year on the same tires. When you’re dealing with 505 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque delivered on a “curve” as flat as a pool table, 151 pounds is nothing. Just look at the numbers: The 427 hit 60 mph in 3.8 seconds, same as the Z06/Z07. In 60-0-mph braking, the 427 actually beat the Z06/Z07 by 1 foot, stopping in just 101 feet. The quarter mile, though, is where we really saw the difference. The 427 was just a tenth behind in the quarter, running it in 11.9 seconds to the Z06/Z07’s 11.8, but the 427 tripped the light traveling 121.5 mph while the Z06/Z07 was doing 123.4 mph. The difference was also evident on the skidpad, where the 427 posted a max of 1.06 g average to the Z06/Z07’s 1.08 g average. As you can guess, that translated to the figure eight as well, where the 427 ran a 24.1-second lap at 0.84 g average to the Z06/Z07’s 23.1-second lap at 0.90 g average. The 427, then, really is a credible Z06 convertible.
At least, that’s what it feels like behind the wheel. Anyone who isn’t a professional race car driver and tells you he can feel a 151-pound weight difference in a 500-hp car is lying. On the street, the 427 feels every bit as monstrous as the Z06. The raw power of the LS7 seems endless, and running up to its 7000-rpm redline is just asking for a visit with Johnny Law. It really is a shame that the valves in the mufflers don’t open until you’re over 3000 rpm and standing on it, because you’ll only hear that glorious engine note for a second before you’re in felony territory.
As it should, that ton of power also comes with a ton of grip and a ton of brakes. Our test car came with the standard Pilot Sport tires and steel brakes rather than the Pilot Cup tires and carbon-ceramic brakes of the Z06 Carbon Edition, but you’ll never know the difference on the street. The 427 still stops and turns better than most cars on the road, and, let’s be honest, this collector’s edition convertible isn’t likely to see any serious track time. The test crew tells me that at the limit with computers off, there’s a small margin of slip before the car comes around on you, but you shouldn’t be turning the computer off on the street in a car like this anyway. For most intents and purposes, the 427 moves just like a Z06 without a roof.And what moves they are as you blast down an empty road, wind in your hair, engine screaming, gears slamming, steering wheel vibrating. It takes a good drive in a Corvette to understand why people love them. I’m not looking at the interior and as long as I slow down for the turns, I’m not falling out of the seats too badly. I won’t dwell on the DVD navigation, the ‘leather’ dash, and so on, either. Nothing’s going to change between now and the C7’s pending debut.
The people agree. Maybe it was the Z06 body and wheels, or the alluring silver-blue over white paint. Whatever it was, the 427 got looks even in Southern California, where people see plenty of flashy cars and even more Corvettes. Something about the Corvette resonates in the American psyche; that aspirational but still attainable vibe it exudes draws people in–even people who don’t like Chevys.
If there’s one thing I’ve heard consistently from winemakers, tasting-room managers, sommeliers, and people at the liquor store, it’s that above all, wine is meant to be imbibed and enjoyed. They also consistently point out that not all wines age well, so you’re often better off drinking it rather stashing it away somewhere for decades. The C6 Corvette has reached its zenith in the 427, and aging won’t make it any better. Uncork the roof, pour on the throttle, swirl the tires, and enjoy.