America’s sports car, the Corvette, is well over sixty years old! It’s still hard to believe, but January 17, 2013 marked the sixtieth anniversary of Corvette’s debut at the General Motors Motorama show, held at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. Establishing a foundation for Corvettes to come, Prototype EX-122 was a white, two-seat convertible featuring an all-fiberglass body. Chevrolet brought those underpinnings forward into the twenty-first century with the 60th Anniversary Edition Corvette convertible, and added power far beyond the wildest Corvette dreams of 1953 – a 427 cid V8 producing a prodigious 505 horsepower.
Special Corvette 60th Anniversary Edition
In celebration of Corvette becoming a sexagenarian, Chevrolet went beyond the graphics and trim packages of previous anniversary editions and introduced a special engine and drivetrain for the C6 convertible, harkening back to the fire-breathing Corvette convertibles of days gone by. The 427 cu. in. LS7 engine and drivetrain from the C6 Z06 gave the Anniversary Convertible a performance envelope that should have been stamped “Special Delivery” – 3.8 seconds from 0 to 60 mph, 11.8 seconds to cover the quarter mile, and a top speed of 190 mph. As with the Z06, only a six-speed manual transmission was offered.
But it wasn’t just about the engine and drivetrain. Chevrolet also used carbon fiber for the hood, fenders, and floor panels to keep the convertible’s weight down to a relatively svelte 3,355 pounds. The available Anniversary Package, RPO Z25, included Arctic White paint and a Blue Diamond leather-wrapped interior, and the 60th Anniversary Graphics, RPO Z30, added Pearl Silver Blue racing stripes. The eye-catching Corvette was topped off by, what else, a Blue convertible top with tonal racing stripes stitched into the fabric.
Driving the C6 427 Convertible
The driving characteristics of the 427 convertible are very similar to the Z06. The 427 V8 was hand-assembled in GM’s Performance Build Center, and the dry sump engine mates with the driveline and rear axle system from the Z06. A rear-mounted battery and standard Magnetic Selective Ride Control give the 427 good balance and provide the best possible ride and handling.
Car and Driver magazine recorded test figures of 0 to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds, lateral acceleration of 1.03 g, and 70 to 0 braking in only 144 feet. The 427 engine earned special praise from Car and Driver: “The LS7’s 505 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque seem to manifest at every point in the rev range…” Road & Track concurred, saying, “There’s simply no downside to the Z06 engine. It’s amazingly tractable, yet it comes on like a scalded lion when fed a premium diet.”
Todd Nouse and Vinnie the Vette
Todd Nouse of Reston, Virginia is a member of the Old Dominion Corvette Club based in Loudoun County, Virginia, and the proud owner of a 60th Anniversary Edition 427 Convertible named Vinnie. Vinnie is an unusual name for a Corvette, but Todd explains that his wife deserves the credit: “My wife Tracey names almost everything in the house. The names generally share a common first letter with the object being named. She gave Vinnie his name, as in “Vinnie the Vette’.”
Todd purchased Vinnie in December of 2013 at Ted Britt Chevrolet in Sterling, Virginia. Vinnie is used as a daily driver, weather permitting, and now has about 27,000 miles on his odometer. What prompted Todd to take the plunge on the 427? “Attraction for the anniversary edition was purely visual. I saw it in in Road & Track, and fell in love.”
Todd Nouse’s Corvette Childhood
Todd’s love affair with Corvettes began at age nine when his Uncle Bud came to visit, driving his new black-on-black 1959 Corvette convertible with a red interior. A few years later, Todd’s father became the City Editor of the Detroit Free Press, and one of the job perks was the ability to sample vehicles from the Detroit manufacturers. Says Todd, “It seems like we had a different vehicle every weekend, except in the winter. Corvettes, Chrysler 300s, Barracudas, SS Impalas, etc. Our favorites were always the Corvettes, and we sampled a bunch of them.”
The first car Todd drove was a 1962 Corvette. He and his father were out sampling the Corvette one Sunday and headed for a local mall, back in the days when malls were closed on Sundays. Todd and his father swapped seats and Todd had the chance to drive the Corvette around the deserted mall parking lot. It was quite an experience for someone not yet old enough to have his driver’s license. “Been hooked ever since,” he says.
Todd (and Vinnie) are big fans of Corvette Racing
Todd is also hooked on road racing, thanks to his father. The Waterford Hills Road Racing track was about an hour’s drive from the family home in Michigan. Todd not only caught the road racing bug, but also did a little racing at Waterford Hills in an A Production Corvette. Today, Todd and Vinnie are big fans of Corvette Racing and visited the National Corvette Museum (NCM) this summer for the museum’s complete TV coverage of the 24 Hours of LeMans. At this year’s Twelve Hours at Sebring, Todd and Vinnie were chosen to chauffeur legendary Le Mans racer Tom Kristensen in a pre-race parade around the track honoring the invited dignitaries.
Vinnie is getting also acquainted with Todd’s childhood memories, as he has been privileged to be the official Pace Car for Waterford Hills Road Racing’s Vintage Race Weekend. Vinnie is proud that he gets to wear a complete set of official strobe lights and some really cool pace car graphics. If Corvettes could smile, Vinnie would be grinning from ear-to-ear.
Should you ever see Todd, Tracey, and Vinnie on the road, be sure to give Todd and Tracey a big Corvette Wave. As for Vinnie, we suggest a thumbs-up and a hearty “Yo, Vinnie!”
Waterford Hills Road Racing – http://www.waterfordhills.com/index.shtml