In 1953, General Motors pulled the wraps off a pure white confection of fibreglass and chrome; a two-door, two-seat convertible roadster that was pretty as a pin-up and, unfortunately, a total slug. Not to worry: a few years later they’d shoe-horn in a small-block Chevy V8 and there was no looking back.
Sixty years later (sort of), and here’s Chevy’s way of looking back over the decades with a last hurrah for the sixth generation Corvette. It’s been a long and bumpy road, what with the emissions-strangled weak-sauce of the 70s, the plastic fantastic 80s and 90s, and finally, a little more well-deserved street cred in the 2000s.
Aside from the throwback paint and 60th anniversary decals, this last-of-the-breed-special wears a storied badge, namely “427,” same as the old big-block Sting-Rays. However, just as the Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG has only a 6.2L V8, Chevy has had to fudge the numbers a bit for marketing purposes. By rounding down.
Stuffed under the hood of this thing is a seven-litre, 505 hp, 470 lb/ft V8 engine: the same mill you get in the track-special Z06. Yes, the interior quality is a bit dodgy. Yes, the outside panels (those that aren’t carbon-fibre) flex like a fibreglass garden shed when you poke them. And yes, the overall fit and fitment would not be acceptable if it said “Hot Wheels” on the bottom, let alone for a $100K+ sportscar.
But here’s a question for you: who the hell cares?
Take a deep breath, cinch your seatbelt and dial in all the lateral support you can get out of the squidgy bucket seats. Then, having muttered an incantation against speed traps, stomp the pedal.
At 3,000 rpm, the exhaust baffles flick open and it’s like you just let a tyrannosaur off the leash at a dog park. There’s no wind-up, no hesitation; the ‘Vette simply explodes down the road, an open-air experience that makes you feel like Wile E. Coyote strapping himself to an extra-large ACME rocket.
It’s not like this is a straight-line dragster either – while those steamroller-sized Michelin Pilot Sport tires throw in the towel against the power of the V8, they’ve got the kind of lateral grip you’d expect from a Le Mans car. Of course, with all those horses on tap, you want to be careful mid-corner.
Deliciously old-school, the 427 ‘vert is a throwback in the best sense of the word. In a world where electronic nannies coddle us at every turn, where synthesized speed is more about the car than the driver, where a sense of fun is being ruthlessly engineered out of our driving lives, this car reaches back across the years and finds something special.
It ain’t perfect. But it also ain’t about to apologize for kicking your ass.
2013 Corvette 427 Convertible
Base MSRP: $89,410
As Tested: $114,190