Corvette, an American motoring institution and a name synonymous with cool is about to celebrate a milestone birthday, the old girl is approaching her 60th birthday celebration.
The sleek lines and slow curves have always drawn attention to Corvette, the convertible seems to extenuate that effect. In many ways a return to the original Corvette’s that celebrated a Californian lifestyle, freedom and good looks. The 427 Convertible celebrates her birthday in top down, wind in the hair style.
Corvette news continues with the release of this years ZR1, the last of the current C6 generation. The new generation 2014 C7 corvette also seems to be taking shape, a shape that may divide the corvette community. Included for your viewing pleasure are preview videos for the 427 convertible, the 2013 ZR1 setting records at the Nurburgring race track.
Happy Birthday Corvette, The 427 Collectors Edition Corvette
The 427 has been a labor of love for GM, the 427 constructed as a tribute to the convertible, drawing on all of the best available technology to produce a celebration to its lineage. In the process creating a truly unique Corvette.
The chassis for example returns to the steel roots of older Corvettes, the aluminium chassis of current Z06 corvette’s isn’t suitable for a convertible in terms off stiffness, twisting. The carbon fibre panels are carried over from the latest models, in this case the very stiff panels help the convertible resist twisting.
The engine is a direct adaptation of the racing engine used by the American LeMans winning team. The hand-crafted, naturally aspirated 427 engine is able to produce 505 hp and 470 lb-ft. Titanium push rods and valve covers along with other racing technologies help to make this the most powerful convertible ever produced by Chevrolet.
With this celebration of days gone by GM can’t be accused of skimping on technology. Able to play the catch phrase game with the best of them the technology includes; Magnetic Selective Ride Control, carbon fibre panels and aero package, launch control, active handling, traction control, cross-drilled brake rotors with six piston callipers and dual mode exhaust system.
The technology and design come together forming a perfect storm of performance numbers. The 6 speed manual rear wheel drive, top down Corvette, will do 0-60mph / 100kph in 3.8 seconds and power on to 190 mph / 316 kph, given enough road.
By all reports the 427 is a drivers car. Super car performance and handling are both present, taking the road back from necessity. The 427 will have people driving nowhere in particular, at strange times of the day. The Sunday 6am run down an empty highway may just see the fastest middle aged men in the country, in their Corvettes. The return of the American Supercar.
“This is the fastest and most capable Corvette convertible yet,” says Harlan Charles, Chevrolet Corvette Product Marketing Manager. “We have added Z06 and ZR1 technology to the Corvette convertible. The carbon-fiber domed hood, Z06 fenders and ground effects reduce weight.”
The 60th Anniversary Package for the Convertible.
Completing the celebration GM have released the 60th Anniversary Package for the 427. The option pack features an Arctic White exterior, Blue Diamond leather-wrapped interior with micro-fiber accents. An optional graphics package is available the includes full-length racing stripes in Pearl Silver Blue along with commemorative badging.
The hard top Corvette hasn’t been left unaltered during this busy year of celebrations for GM and Corvette. The current generation C6 Corvette is to receive one last update before it is superseded by the brand new and controversial 2014 C7 Corvette, the science-fiction Corvette.
Team Penske driver Ryan Briscoe had an opportunity to test drive the 2013 Corvette ZR1, being handed the pace car duties at this years Indianapolis 500, the 2013 ZR1 is America’s super car. Briscoe reported “the car handled the grooves pretty well, the corners here are so fast and the corner speeds were between 140-150 mph, but always felt right in control. I was able to apex it down below the white line in all four corners and get the power back down really confidently. It’s an impressive machine.”
The 2013 ZR1 is also available with the 60th Anniversary Package, with it’s Arctic Whitee paint work and pearl silver racing stripe the new ZR1 looks good in white, not something that every car can claim.
GM have continued to evolve the handling and performance of the current generation coupe’s. The 2013 sees the engine and aero packages receive a final upgrade.
The convertible isn’t the only corvette to benefit from the Corvette Racing Teams engine technology. The racing inspired LS9 V8 engine is the heart of the 2013 ZR1. The supercharged 6.2 litre LS9 engine is capable of generating 638 bhp and 604 lb-ft of torque at 3800 rpm, hyper car numbers.
The engine includes dry oil-sump technology taken from the race engines, moving the engine sump externally and supplying oil to the engine under pressure, ensuring proper distribution even in the high g environment of racing.. Titanium intake valves and connecting rods along with the 4 lobe Eaton Twin Vortices Series supercharger all carry over from it’s race bred brothers.
The ZR1 of course features GM’s other latest technologies such as Magnetic Selective Ride Control, Launch Control system with Performance Track Management, a four-channel ABS system. Brembo carbon-ceramic disc brake rotors ensure the ZR1 stops as well as it goes.
GM continues to invest heavily in composite materials. The latest panel and aero package makes heavy use of carbon fibre, keeping weight to a minimum and improving chassis strength. Carbon fibre has been used in the front fenders, hood, roof, front splitter, rocker panels and floor pans.
All of these tweaks and upgrades make the 2012 ZR1 the fastest Chevrolet ever produced, capable of accelerating from 0 to 60 mph / 100 kph in 3.4 seconds, stretching out to the super car top speed of 205 mph 340 kph. The ZR1 during development lapped the famed Nurburgring’ Nordschleife (“north loop”) in 7:19.63. The new ZR1 is available now starting at $112,600 USD.
2014 C7, The Next Generation
News is also starting to trickle out of the new Corvette , the 2014 C7. In development since 2007 many rumours of a change in engine layout have circulated. Spy shots have confirmed the layout will stay classic Corvette, with the big block V8 up front and rear-wheel drive. The C8 generation will be mid-engined if the speculation is to be believed.
Many very early concept images of the new C7 suggest GM has radically changed the rear of the new Corvette, with sharp lines replacing the Corvettes traditionally soft round curved rear. Included in this change are new LED rear lights along with what appear to be LED headlights, as seen in the latest crop of spy shots. While the technology will remain the latest spy shots suggest a much more subtle change is on the way.
GM has spent over a billion dollars retooling and updating it’s engine factories across America, the shift is towards smaller capacity, supercharged engines over the big block engines of the past. With a 5.5 litre engine rumoured to replace the current 6.2. The new engine is said to include direct injection, variable valve timing, and produce 440 bhp.
Expect the new king of the hill C7 to be released January 2013, the actual 60th birthday of the Corvette family. Originally displayed to the world for the first time at the 1953 GM Motorama car show in New York. At the time it had only been given concept car status, while the first models went on sale to the public later that year, the car on display was in-fact that same production ready model.
The stuff of childhood dreams and bedroom wall posters, the Corvette is a modern day classic, the America’s super car. GM is working hard to keep the dream alive and the future appears bright. While the 427 Convertible revels in the spirit of a classic the new 2013 ZR1 is pure super car, with the performance and power to forces its way into the category. Only leaving questions of what’s next, will the C7 be a radical face lift or simply tinker at the edges?
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