1999 Chevrolet Corvette: Models, Features, and Performance

When Corvettes first hit the dealerships, the idea was to have a sporty and enjoyable car that anyone could afford. Even as this icon of the American street machines up through the 70’s, Chevrolet did a good job of maintaining this founding principle. However, as technologies improved and Vettes became more powerful, the price tag gradually increased. This is where the 1999 Chevrolet Corvette leaves its signature on the history of this storied model.

History of the 1999 Corvette

1999 Chevrolet Corvette

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As time passed, the Corvette became more of a luxury sports car that fewer people could actually afford to own. While this may have helped to add an exotic appeal to the car, it also added some concerns within the GM corporation. The fear was that the Corvette was becoming such an exclusive car that sales were starting to decline; the trend indicated that the decline was not over.

This growing concern was the leading motivator that caused the early planning process for the C5 Corvette. The corporation began toying with the idea of a Corvette variant that would appeal to the budget-minded consumer. This model would have fewer amenities than the convertible and coupe models but would also have a lower price tag.

Throughout the planning process, several prototypes were created for the budget Corvette. However, research clinics learned that the results from potential customers were not very good. What they found was that the majority of the customers involved in the research felt that a “cheaper” model of the popular C5 Vettes would hurt not only sales but would also damage the public view of the Corvette. Regardless of this insight, it was decided that the 1999 model year would feature a new budget-friendly variant. Enter, the 1999 Chevrolet Corvette hardtop.

Known as the Fixed Roof Coupe (FRC), the 1999 Chevrolet Corvette was basically a convertible that had a fixed roof that was constructed with fiberglass. It was marketed as Corvette designed for the serious performance enthusiasts; the body that was more rigid than the Coupe helped for the variant to live up to the hype.

Most Popular 1999 Corvette Models

For the 1999 Corvette, there were three models consumers could choose from:

  • base coupe;
  • hardtop coupe;
  • convertible.

All three of the two-door models came factory with an automatic transmission. If a customer wanted the 6-speed standard transmission would cost the buyer an additional $815. Here is a closer look at each model and the features customers could pick from.


1999 Corvette convertible

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The 1999 Corvette Convertible came with the same 5.7L engine as the other two models. For amenities, this model comes with the standard equipment you can expect to find on the base model. However, there were numerous options that consumers could add including a telescoping and tilting steering wheel and a heads-up display. Unlike most convertibles, the 1999 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible weighs the same as the base coupe, meaning no performance loss.

Base Coupe

For those that wanted the security of a hardtop but some of the driving experiences that come with a convertible could take the base coupe home. As with the more expensive convertible, the coupe came with the standard equipment people have come to expect in a Corvette. However, they could choose from several optional features. The main difference here, besides the type of roof, is the price. The base model could be had for between $5,000 to $7,000 less than the convertible.

Hardtop (Budget Vette)

1999 Corvette Hardtop

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This new variant offered drivers the Corvette experience, however, at a cheaper price. With a price tag nearly $7,000 less than the base coupe, the hardtop was difficult to differentiate from its more expensive allies. Other than a slightly different profile than the coupe, they looked very much alike.

The hardtop also came factory with a 6-speed manual transmission, 3.42 limited-slip axle, Goodyear Eagle F1 tires, and the Z51 suspension. In spite of the information received from consumers during the research phase, the 1999 Corvette FRC turned out to be a fan favorite. In fact, many collectors today search for these sleeping giants.

Getting Support and Information for the 1999 Chevrolet Corvette

  • CarGurus.com. This website features a plethora of information for all topics automotive. If you have any questions, you can post your question in a forum. You will get answers from other fans and professionals.
  • Vettehound.com. If you are looking to buy your own ‘99 Vette, you might want to try vettehound.com. This site specializes in helping connect buyers with people looking to sell their Corvettes.
  • Corvetteactioncenter.com. For those in the process of restoring their classic 1999 Chevrolet Corvette, you may be looking for a place to find original replacement parts. Sites like eBay and similar resellers are a good starting point. However, Corvetteactioncenter.com has a forum filled with information that deals specifically with 1999 and 2000 C5 Corvettes.

Further Options for the 1999 Chevrolet Corvette

While many view the Corvette as pure perfection, there are those that still think they can improve on its look and performance. If you are one of these 1999 Corvette lovers, then you are in luck. As with any model year of this impressive car line, there are plenty of aftermarket accessories and parts to be found on the market.

Whether you want to add a ground effects kit or are looking for some mind-blowing engine components, you can find them easily with a simple internet search. As stated above, there are also plenty of sites that revolve around the 1999 FRC and can provide an untold amount of information.

Summing Up

What was originally thought to be a mistake by many consumers ended up being one of the more popular Corvettes to hit the pavement. While any Corvette can be truly appreciated by car enthusiasts, the 1999 Chevrolet Corvette hardtop took the automotive fans by storm. No, it didn’t have all of the bells and whistles but it had what matters, the heart of a lion.

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