The current Chevrolet Corvette is old. Seriously. The C6, as it's known (that's shorthand for the sixth-generation car), debuted in 2004 as a 2005 model. Here we are in 2012, and the C6 remains in service. It's great-looking. It's fast. It's fun. But still: old. And the end of the line is in sight.
2013 is the final model year for the C6 Corvette, and to send it out with a bang, Chevrolet has taken the hand-built, 505-horsepower, 7.0 liter (i.e. 427 cubic-inch) V8 from the high-performance Corvette Z06 coupe and dropped it in a convertible for the first time. The result is the car you see here: the 2013 Chevrolet Corvette 427 Collector Edition Convertible. We spent a few days with one (and even took it on TV), so here's a quick rundown.
In a nutshell
What's not so good
The two-stage exhaust is quieter at lower revs, and gets louder when you really put your boot to the accelerator. Quiet's boring. There's a fuse that controls the butterfly valve that opens and closes to help regulate the exhaust noise. Pull that fuse, and the valve gets pinned open, making for all thunder, all the time. This is extremely satisfying. After all, if you're going to spring almost 100 grand for the ultimate convertible Corvette, you may as well make sure the world hears you coming. (There are aftermarket modifications that allow Corvette owners to manually control this feature with a switch. In fact, I know one who has it mapped to one of the HomeLink garage-door buttons, which is a more elegant solution than yanking a fuse in the passenger-side footwell.)
The last of the C6 Corvettes goes out with a bang in celebration of the nameplate's 60th anniversary. The Corvette 427 Convertible is loud, mean, nasty, fast, and so much fun that you'll have a deranged grin on your face hours after you've parked it. But the same goes for less expensive Corvettes, so it boils down to this: if you're a hardcore collector, jump on the 427 Convertible, because it'll be a rarity, and it's undeniably awesome. If you want all the looks, 90% of the performance, and, realistically, the same amount of fun, save yourself around $30,000 and get a standard Corvette droptop or the Grand Sport convertible. And if you can wait until 2013, do it, because the all-new 2014 Corvette, which should debut in January at the Detroit Auto Show, will be better in every quantifiable way.