Shh! Did you hear that? That was the sound of Corvette Z06 “purists” around the globe, collectively losing their isht when Chevrolet revealed the 2015 Z06 Convertible. It was “bad enough” when they learned that the track-honed version of the C7 Stingray would be available with an automatic transmission – this latest revelation is clear proof that Chevy has gone off the map!
Or maybe not. You see, Chevy is claiming that the al fresco C7 Z06 is actually 20 percent stiffer than the fixed-head C6 Z06, and because it doesn’t require any additional chassis stiffening, it will weigh almost the same as the hardtop C7 Z06. “Until recently it was not possible to create a lightweight, open-roof structure strong enough to cope with the braking, cornering, and acceleration of Corvette’s top performance models,” Corvette chief engineer Tadge Juechter explains. “The frame for the Z06 convertible leverages advancements in computer-aided engineering, metallurgy, and manufacturing techniques – many of which were not available just five years ago.”
According to GM, the only structural differences between the Z06 Coupe and Convertible are provisions for mounting the power-folding top, and repositioned safety-belt mounts. The cloth top will be available in four different colors, features sound-absorbing padding and a glass rear window, and can be operated remotely via the key fob, and at speeds of up to 30 MPH (hopefully not at the same time…)
The soft top necessitated elimination of the cooling ducts for the transmission and differential from the tops of the quarter panels, with the coolers relocated underneath the Z06 ‘vert. However, the other performance specs remain essentially unchanged, including the 625-plus horsepower supercharged LT4 powerplant.
So far, we’ve seen a good bit of consolidation in the Stingray line compared to the C6 – instead of a Grand Sport model, the Z51 package largely replicates the added features, and the C6 Z06 and 427 Convertible have been merged down into a single C7 lineage. The question still remains, though – Will there be an über-C7 to step into the shoes of the C6 ZR1?