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The Corvette was born as a convertible. Only 300 were built during its inaugural year – all of them Polo White with red interiors. The Corvette was exclusively offered as a convertible for its first 10 years. Seven versions of the small-block V-8 were offered in 1960, with the most powerful being a fuel-injected 283-cid edition rated at 315 horsepower. Roman Red was the year’s most popular exterior color. This was the first year the Corvette was offered in both coupe and convertible body styles – with the coupe being the now-classic “Split Window” model. Buyers were split, too, but convertible sales slightly edged coupe sales: 50.75 percent to 49.25 percent. The legendary 427 big-block engine arrives in the Corvette, offered in “L36” 390-horsepower and “L72” 425-horsepower versions. These two optional engines were selected by nearly 40 percent of all Corvette customers in ’66. It was the last year for the iconic 427 big-block engine, but it still accounted for nearly 40 percent of all the Corvettes produced. Only 116 of them came with the 430-horsepower “L88” 427, which was originally developed for racing. Two “ZL1” Corvettes were built in ’69, using all-aluminum versions of the high-powered 427. A public more concerned with fuel economy than cruising turned away from convertibles in the mid-Seventies. Only 4,629 Corvette convertibles were built in 1975, representing only about 12 percent of production that year. The convertible was dropped from the Corvette lineup the next year, and wouldn’t return again for more than a decade. The Corvette convertible returned after a decade-long hiatus, leading the Indianapolis 500 as the official pace car. All convertible models were considered pace car replicas in 1986 and came with Indianapolis 500 graphics that could be installed at the customer’s discretion. The Corvette Collector Edition marked the end of the fourth-generation Corvette and was offered with the LT1 small-block or the optional 330-hp LT4. Of more than 5,400 were built – all of them Sebring Silver – but only 1,381 were convertibles. The Corvette made its fourth appearance at as the Indy 500 Pace Car (previously pacing the race in 1978, 1986, and 1995). With purple exterior paint accented by yellow graphics and yellow wheels, the 1,163 Indy 500 Pace Cars stand out in any gathering of Corvettes. A 50th Anniversary Edition was offered for coupe and convertible models, matching Ruby Red exterior paint with Shale interior trim. Convertible models received a Shale top, too. Of the 14,022 convertibles sold in ’03, more than half were 50th Anniversary Editions. Once again, the Corvette returned to the “Brickyard” to pace the Indianapolis 500. This time, the pace car and 500 replicas were dressed in black and silver to honor the 1978 Corvette Pace Car – the first Corvette to pace Indy. Of the 500 replicas, 266 were convertibles. The Corvette Grand Sport hit the street, bringing Z06 chassis technology to the Convertible -- with 1g skidpad performance and 0-60 times of less than 4 seconds. Grand Sport accounted for more than 70 percent of Convertible sales in 2010 -- and more than 78 percent in 2011. After more than 40 years, the Corvette Convertible and the legendary 427 engine are reunited in the Corvette 427 Convertible Collector Edition. Powered by the LS7 427-cubic-inch (7.0L) small-block V-8, it blends elements of the Z06 and ZR1 to create the fastest and most capable convertible in Corvette’s history.


60 Years of Corvette Convertibles

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