DETROIT - Chevrolet announced the 2008 Corvette 427 Limited Edition Z06,a limited-production model that pays homage to the big-block Stingraymodels of the mid-1960s. The 427 designation refers to the cubic-inchdisplacement for the highest-performance engines offered between 1966and '69 - and is also the cubic-inch equivalent of the Z06's 7.0L LS7small-block V-8.

The 427 Limited Edition Z06 features a Crystal Red Tintcoat exterior,the first Z06 ever offered with a red metallic tintcoat paint. It alsofeatures graphics on the hood and fascia that evoke the style of thefamed "stinger" hood design and graphics that were offered with 1967models equipped with the 427 engine. Also unique to this model are "427"hood badges. Each example is numbered and signed by Wil Cooksey, theCorvette assembly plant manager who is retiring after 15 years on thejob, and comes with a certificate of authenticity.

"The heritage of the 427 designation with the Corvette is legendary,"said Harlan Charles, Corvette product manager. "Recognizing the tie-inof the original 427 engine and the LS7's 427-inch displacement has beenon the Corvette team's mind since the Z06 was introduced, and we'rethrilled to express it in this special model."

Available under order code Z44, this special Z06 enters production thisspring. Only 427 will be offered in the United States and Canada, with78 more exported outside North America. That's a total of 505 productionvehicles - the same number of horsepower produced by the LS7 engine.

The special-edition Corvette carries a MSRP of $84,195 and includes the3LZ premium equipment package with a custom, leather-wrapped interior. Anavigation system is the only option ($1,750). As with other Corvettemodels, customer delivery is available at the Corvette Museum, inBowling Green, Ky.

A breakdown of the 427 Limited Edition Z06's unique content includes:

* Crystal Red Tintcoat exterior paint with stinger-style graphics and427 hood badges

* Exclusive, new chrome wheels

* Body-color rear spoiler and door handles

* Exclusive dark titanium custom leather-wrapped interior

* Special Crystal Red interior trim plate graphic pattern

* Console armrest signed and numbered by Wil Cooksey

* "427"-embroidered seats and floor mats

* "Z06" sill plates

The 427 Limited Edition Z06 joins the Indy 500 Pace Car replica -available in coupe and convertible configurations - as the secondlimited-production Corvette model introduced for 2008, givingenthusiasts and collectors a wealth of choices. In January, Chevroletalso announced the 2009 Corvette ZR1, which enters production later thissummer.

"There's never been a better time to be a Corvette enthusiast," saidCharles. "The performance and refinement are exemplary and specialeditions, like the 427 model, enrich the heritage of America's sportscar."

Corvette Z06 details

The Corvette Z06 that is the foundation for the 427 Limited Editionoffers carefully executed levels of capability and technology, making itone of the best performance values on the market.

The Z06's LS7 7.0L engine reintroduced the 427-cubic-inch engine to theCorvette lineup. It uses racing-derived lightweight technology,including titanium connecting rods and intake valves, to help boosthorsepower 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 helpsdeliver 0-60 mph performance of 3.7 seconds in first gear, quarter-miletimes of 11.7 seconds at 125 mph and a top speed of 198 mph (as recordedon Germany's Autobahn) - the Z06 also circuited Germany's famedNuerburgring racetrack in a time of 7:43.

The Z06 has a unique aluminum body structure for optimum stiffness andlight weight for the fixed-roof body style. Perimeter rails areone-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 thealuminum structure. Wider front wheelhouses, for example, are carboncomposites and the passenger compartment floors combine carbon-fiberskins with an ultra-lightweight balsa wood core.

A firm, race-proven suspension works harmoniously with large 18 x9.5-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 therear to achieve lateral acceleration of more than 1 g. Complementing thesuspension system and large rolling stock is an equally capablefour-wheel disc brake system, consisting of 14-inch (355 mm) vented andcross-drilled front rotors and 13.4-inch (340 mm) vented andcross-drilled rear rotors.

The front rotors are acted upon by large, red-painted six-pistoncalipers that use six individual brake pads. Individual brake pads areused because they deliver more equalized wear compared to what wouldotherwise be a pair of very long single-piece pads. For the rear brakes,four-piston calipers with four individual brake pads are used. A Delphifour-channel ABS system is standard, as is a very competent activehandling 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 dubbedthe big-block, because it was physically larger in all respects thanChevy'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 amaximum rating of 425 gross horsepower (317 kW). In 1966, the big-blockreceived larger cylinder bores and grew to its legendary 427-cubic-inchform. 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 wasoffered with a unique induction system that featured an inline trio oftwo-barrel carburetors. Known as the "L71" (its order code), it wascharacterized by a large, chrome triangular air cleaner assembly. It wasrated at 435 gross horsepower (324 kW). The '67 big-block Corvettes wereeasily distinguished from their small-block brethren by a raised"stinger" hood.

A handful of Corvettes with the "L88"-code 427 engine slipped out of thefactory in 1967, each rated at 430 horsepower (321 kW), but the L88would be more closely associated with the redesigned 1968 and '69models. The L88 breathed through a single four-barrel carburetor ratherthan the L71's three two-barrels. The triple-carburetor induction systemwas still available, however, as the Corvette was offered with both theL88 and L71 versions of the 427.

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

The big-block increased in size to 454 cubic inches in 1970, and theoriginal big-block engine family exited the Corvette lineup after the1974 model year. The 2008 Corvette Z06's LS7 engine offers big-blockdisplacement and horsepower, but in a more efficient small-blockarchitecture.

*SAE certified.