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Supercars: The Road & Track Guide
Cars of Exceptional Speed, Power and Beauty
by Editors of Road & Track

Chevrolet
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The Corvette Z06 that is the foundation for the 427 Limited Edition offers carefully executed levels of capability and technology, making it one of the best performance values on the market.

The Z06’s LS7 7.0L engine reintroduced the 427-cubic-inch engine to the Corvette lineup. It uses racing-derived lightweight technology, including titanium connecting rods and intake valves, to help boost horsepower and rpm capability – it is rated at 505 horsepower (377 kW).* The only transmission offered with the Z06 is a six-speed manual.

In the car’s 3,162-pound (1,437 kg) package, the LS7 engine helps deliver 0-60 mph performance of 3.7 seconds in first gear, quarter-mile times of 11.7 seconds at 125 mph and a top speed of 198 mph (as recorded on Germany’s Autobahn) – the Z06 also circuited Germany’s famed N ü rburgring racetrack in a time of 7:43. The Z06 has a unique aluminum body structure for optimum stiffness and light weight for the fixed-roof body style. Perimeter rails are one-piece hydroformed aluminum members featuring cast suspension nodes, which replace many welded steel components on other Corvette models. Advanced structural composites featuring carbon fiber are bonded to the aluminum structure. Wider front wheelhouses, for example, are carbon composites and the passenger compartment floors combine carbon-fiber skins with an ultra-lightweight balsa wood core. A firm, race-proven suspension works harmoniously with large 18 x 9.5-inch cast-spun aluminum wheels and 275/35ZR18 tires in the front, and 19 x 12-inch cast-spun aluminum wheels with 325/30ZR19 tires in the rear to achieve lateral acceleration of more than 1 g. Complementing the suspension system and large rolling stock is an equally capable four-wheel disc brake system, consisting of 14-inch (355 mm) vented and cross-drilled front rotors and 13.4-inch (340 mm) vented and cross-drilled rear rotors.

The front rotors are acted upon by large, red-painted six-piston calipers that use six individual brake pads. Individual brake pads are used because they deliver more equalized wear compared to what would otherwise be a pair of very long single-piece pads. For the rear brakes, four-piston calipers with four individual brake pads are used. A Delphi four-channel ABS system is standard, as is a very competent active handling system – complete with a Competitive Driving mode. History of the Corvette and the 427 engine

The Chevrolet Mark IV V-8 debuted in the Corvette in 1965 and was dubbed the big-block, because it was physically larger in all respects than Chevy’s other V-8 engine, which became known as the small-block. In ’65, the big-block was offered in a 396-cubic-inch displacement, with a maximum rating of 425 gross horsepower (317 kW). In 1966, the big-block received larger cylinder bores and grew to its legendary 427-cubic-inch form. It came in two power levels: 390 hp (291 kW) and 425 hp.

By 1967, the Corvette’s 427 engine was a legend in its own time and was offered with a unique induction system that featured an inline trio of two-barrel carburetors. Known as the “L71” (its order code), it was characterized by a large, chrome triangular air cleaner assembly. It was rated at 435 gross horsepower (324 kW). The ’67 big-block Corvettes were easily distinguished from their small-block brethren by a raised “stinger” hood.

A handful of Corvettes with the “L88”-code 427 engine slipped out of the factory in 1967, each rated at 430 horsepower (321 kW), but the L88 would be more closely associated with the redesigned 1968 and ’69 models. The L88 breathed through a single four-barrel carburetor rather than the L71’s three two-barrels. The triple-carburetor induction system was still available, however, as the Corvette was offered with both the L88 and L71 versions of the 427.

No less than six versions of the engine were offered in 1969, the final year for the 427. They included the L88, the L71 and a very rare ZL1 427 that was built with a lightweight aluminum cylinder block. Only two regular-production Corvettes were built with the ZL1 engine, putting them on the short list of the most collectible Corvettes in history.

The big-block increased in size to 454 cubic inches in 1970, and the original big-block engine family exited the Corvette lineup after the 1974 model year. The 2008 Corvette Z06’s LS7 engine offers big-block displacement and horsepower, but in a more efficient small-block architecture. *SAE certified.

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