CORVETTE C5 1997 to 2004


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The C5 (1997-2004)

The 1997 Corvette was the most completely redesigned Corvette since its inception. A new engine, along with completely redesigned interior, exterior, and suspension components, was introduced with the C5 Corvette. Unlike previous Corvettes in which the transmission was directly behind the engine, the transmission was placed between the rear wheels to offset the weight of the engine in the front. The wheel base was increased, and a new 346ci LS1 engine with 345hp was introduced. The 1997 Corvette featured the familiar hidden headlamps and quad tail lamps but had a much rounder exterior than its predecessor. Only 9,752 coupes were produced. The C5 was well received, and in one review Motor Trend stated "As if anyone doesn't know it already, the new Corvette is unfathomably good."

A convertible was added in 1998, and for the first time since 1962, the design featured a trunk with outside access. An Indianapolis 500 pace car replica featured a purple exterior, black and yellow leather interior, yellow wheels and special accents. In 1999 a fixed roof coupe, lighter in weight than either the hatchback coupe or convertible, was introduced. Also added as an option was the Head Up display that projected instrument readouts onto the windshield, which allowed for viewing information without shifting vision to the dashboard.

Two new exterior colors were available in 2000: Millennium Yellow and Dark Bowling Green Metallic. Additionally, a thin-spoke wheel design became standard. In 2001 Chevy introduced a Z06 model powered by the LS6 385hp engine. Z06 models also had titanium exhaust systems in contrast to the standard stainless steel system. The LS1 engine’s output was increased to 350hp.

In 2002 the LS6 output was increased to 405hp. A 50th Anniversary Edition was offered in 2003 as a coupe or convertible with an LS1 engine. This Edition featured dark red paint, a new Magnetic Selective Ride Control system, painted aluminum wheels, and emblems. The last C5 generation Corvette was produced in 2004. A Commemorative Edition Z06 coupe featured LeMans Blue exterior paint, unique wheel centers, and special emblems. The next chapter in Corvette history was set to begin in January 2004 when the C6 was introduced at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan