Corvette C5 1997-2004

The Most Completely Redesigned Corvette of Its Time

The new fifth-generation C5 Corvette became the most completely redesigned Corvette since its origin in 1953. Scrapped was the C4 engine in addition to the total concept of how the C4 was engineered. This new generation Corvette would get a top level upgrade like no other Corvette in the past!

1997 Chevrolet Corvette

1997 Chevrolet Corvette

1997 Corvette

From the ground up, the larger 17” wheels were mounted in front and 18” in the rear. There was no provision made for the new C5’s spare tire because run-flat designed tires were in for its new design. An extra thick strong backbone along with hydroformed rails would be Cs new frame.

Earlier Corvettes bolted its transmission directly behind the engine as most traditional American cars were, however the 1997 version placed it in the back of the car between the rear wheels where its weight could be used to offset that of the engine in the front. This transaxle arrangement would be the first of such for Corvette.

Styling themes from the two previous Corvette generations were prevalent on the new C5.   The clamshell hood disappeared and a less expensive conventional hood took its place. A 5.7 liter engine was under this new hood, however this time it would produce an impressive 345 horse power. This more powerful engine was also completely new and unrelated to any previous Corvette V8.  Like the old Chevy small-block, the C5’s Gen III LS-1 was an all-aluminum design using all the latest production technologies.

All this power and redesign made the C5 Corvette an instant sensation at a base price of $37,500 and only 9752 were produced that year.   With the C5s lighter frame and powerful motor, it was clocked at 4.8 seconds during a 0-60 match up with Ferrari. It was also roomier as well as easier to get in and out of. All of this adds up to the most excellent Corvette in so many ways thus far of its 45-year history.

Convertible Tops For 1998 Corvette

1998 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible

1998 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible

Convertibles were added to the 1998 Corvette as well as a long awaited trunk that was accessible from outside the car. Magnesium wheels would be added as an option to the Corvette enthusiast seeking weight savings. A purple Indianapolis 500 replica in convertible was also offered as the 45th anniversary edition collector car.  The 1998 was powered by a 5.7 liter V-8 with 345 horsepower with a top speed of 170 mph and clocked at 4.6 seconds in the 0-60 challenge!

1999 Corvette

The 1999 C5 brought in a lighter fixed-roof coupe at a price of $38,777. The intent behind the fixed-roof coupe was hinted at by the fact that it could only be had with the six-speed manual transmission.  As with all technological improvements, a surprisingly effective head-up display unit that projected major information on the windshield in front of the driver was an option for the 1999 C5 Corvette.

2000 Corvette

The 2000 C5 saw two new colors for 2000. A Millennium Yellow and Dark Bowling Green Metallic colors were added for the exterior as well as a new interior color of Torch Red. Five spoke forged aluminum wheels were also an option for the Corvette as well as fixed room and convertible. Chevrolet produced 33,682 models in this year but with only 2941 of them being the fixed room model.

Chevrolet Introduces Z06 For 2001 Corvette

2001 Chevrolet Corvette Z06

2001 Chevrolet Corvette Z06

Chevrolet brings the ultimate Corvette in 2001 with this year’s model of the Z06 on the fixed roof coupe. Increased horse power on the Z06 for Corvette was now up to 385 and a titanium exhaust system carried this through. The Z06 was fitted with a FE4 suspension system that was stiffer and had thicker anti-sway bars than other C5s, special lightweight wheels and bigger, lighter, more aggressive Goodyear tires that were not run-flat in design. This new lighter faster Z06 either matched or exceeded the ZR-1’s performance for far less money. Only 5773 Z06 units were produced in that year.

2002 Corvette

As if a good Z06 couldn’t get better, the 2002 Z06 was pumped up in horse power to an astounding 405 hp, matching the highest output of the ZR-1.  Z06 also received a retuning of its suspension to its maximum performance for 2002. The LS1-powered model introduced a new color for the outside, described as Electron Blue and there were several revisions to the sound systems on the inside.

2003 Corvette

The long awaited 50th anniversary of the Corvette had folks wondering what Chevrolet was going to come out with for 2003. This unique Corvette was trimmed as a 50th anniversary edition or an Indianapolis 500 pace car with either an LS1-powered hatchback coupe or convertible. Also slapped on the 50th Anniversary car was special logos as well a special deep red paint for its exterior and a new Magnetic Selective Ride Control system. Non-anniversary Corvettes got a new power passenger seat and dual-zone climate control system. The total production of Corvettes for this year was 35,469.

2004 Chevrolet Corvette2004 Corvette

The C5 ended this generation in 2004 with commemorative editions of all three models. The Z06 received a new carbon-fiber hood and revised shock valve system.  The Corvette had reached its climax and little change seemed necessary at this point!

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