Why Corvette only makes one model of car

Chevrolet Corvette C5 - The fifth generation

Excellent brakes, good steering, driving comfort, space and ergonomics - with these prerequisites, the C5, Corvette's latest generation, made its debut in 1997. And for the first time, there was also a choice of three body styles (coupe, targa and convertible).

In addition, it was one of the fastest cars in the world, which accelerated from 0 to 100 km / h in 4.7 seconds with a 6-speed transmission. It drove exactly 3 km / h faster than the fastest C4 and only 15 km / h slower than the ZR-1. Likewise, she had a braking distance of only 38.1m when she braked from 100km / h to 0. So the expectations were met again. As a driver, you immediately felt that there was something new about the C5.

The new Corvette was an idea bigger than the C4. The wheelbase grew by 21 cm, the width of the vehicle was 11 cm wider at the front and 7.6 cm wider at the rear. Likewise, the car was just 2.5 cm higher. But thanks to weight-saving materials, the new C5 was 36 kg lighter than its predecessor. In keeping with tradition, pop-up headlights and four taillights were installed.

The interior was also better thought out now. On the one hand you now had 3.8 cm more head and shoulder room and 8.6 cm more space for the hips, on the other hand you had a better thought-out cockpit. The deeper bonnet allowed a better view of the road. This revision made it possible to see 5.4 meters more road in front of the car. This fact, of course, had the imminent effect of increasing driver control. From this model on, the drive was separated from the chassis, so that the V8 engine vibrated more from the 4 exhaust pipes and no longer through the entire structure of the car. To prove the sportiness, aluminum pedals were mounted. To make progress on the practical side of the car, the handbrake was moved to the center console of the car and all of the gadgets and displays behind the steering wheel were changed, with more analogue, clearer displays. Thus the Mäusekino found its death and also the associated reviews. The rear part of the car, which in the Corvette C4 was often criticized as too big and too "shaved off", had twice as much packing space in the C5 and now reached 707 liters, without the aerodynamics having to lead underneath. The standard engine the car was delivered with was a small-block, 5.7 liter V8, called LS1, with 345 hp at 5,600 rpm and 474 Nm at 4,400 rpm. The engine was combined with a standard 4-speed automatic transmission, but on request a 6-speed manual transmission could be ordered for 815 USD.

A total of 9,752 vehicles were manufactured in 1997.


A Corvette C5 becomes the pace car for the Indianapolis 500 race

In 1998 a Corvette C5 was used as a pace car for the Indianapolis 500 race for the fourth time in history. Only small changes were made to the pace car itself. The LS1 engine got a new intake and a new exhaust system which increased the engine power by 25 HP to 370 HP. The car was lowered an idea, a roll bar was installed behind each seat and rear-facing beacons were installed in the cladding of the hood.

Chevrolet took advantage of this event and built a total of 1,158 copies of this pace car. This optional package was available for an additional charge of USD 5,039 (USD 5.804 for manual transmission). Since the mechanical interventions and safety devices were not built into the copies, this option included a variety of other features, plus the exclusive Radar Blue paint, signature decals, two-tone wallpaper and yellow wheels. One of the options was an anti-slip system, which was activated when the car slipped sideways. It braked different wheels individually, activated the traction control and tried to get the car back on track.

Another option was magnesium wheels, which cost $ 3,000 but were unexpectedly well received by buyers. The option was therefore only available at intermittent intervals, as there was no replenishment.


Corvette C5 is voted Car of the Year 1998

In 1998 the Corvette was voted "North American Annual Car" by US citizens. This thanks to their strength, their design and the good workmanship. The convertible had also received a certain share of the praise. The engineers had managed to manufacture and adapt the top in such a way that no reinforcements were needed for the structure of the top, as is necessary in most open-top cars. Thus the convertible was only 1 pound heavier than the coupe and it was only slightly less rigid than the convertible top on the coupe. The convertible top did not have to lose its practical part either, as the car could be covered or uncovered within approx. 20 seconds. In addition, it was the first sports car convertible since 1962 that had a real trunk (393 liters). So it was more than any other convertible in its time. In order to make this additional space possible, an electrically lockable roof was dispensed with.

The C5 received not only praise but also criticism. So there were always a few changes, most of which were aimed at eliminating "unwanted noises". Starting with better window insulation to a quieter electric fuel pump, this increased driving comfort.

In 1998, Chevrolet sold 31,084 Corvettes (38% of which were convertibles), the highest number since 1986.


1999 - new model with fiberglass roof

In 1999, two new options for the Corvette can be ordered. Innovations such as the electrically adjustable steering column or electrically adjustable leather seats, which the C5 already had, set a certain standard which had to be increased. On the one hand there was now a "Twilight Sentinel", a sensor-controlled system that automatically activated the headlights at dusk, and on the other hand a "Head-Up-Display", which projects information on speed and engine speed onto the windshield as a supplement. The latter idea was borrowed from high-tech jet fighters.

Much more important for this year, however, was the new Corvette model. In short, it was a convertible with a solid fiberglass roof. This made the structure 12% more rigid than the simple coupe and it weighed 41 kg less than this. This model was even cheaper than the Coupe, at $ 394. Although it had the Z51 performance steering suspension, which otherwise had 1,165 USD, a 6-speed gearbox (the only one available for this model) and a 345 PS LS1 small-block V8 engine as standard. The difference to the normal coupe was only slight, the acceleration from 0-100 km / h was made in 4.8 instead of 4.9 seconds. Nevertheless, 4,031 customers opted for the hardtop instead of the coupe. Thanks to the hardtop, 33,270 Corvettes were sold this year.
And as if that weren't enough, the Corvette also found its way back into the GTS class. With the C5-R they came in 3rd place in the GTS class and also 3rd in the GT2 class at the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona.

Thus, shortly before the start of the new millennium, the Corvette found itself back in the place where it belonged. Both on the street, where you could drop them off, and on the racetrack.

There were no major changes in 2000. A color "Millennium Yellow" was introduced, which could be obtained for an extra $ 500. The 5-spike aluminum wheels were improved and larger stabilization columns were introduced in the Z51 Packet together with redesigned shock absorbers. Sales rose to 33,659 units and the Corvette C5 took its first victory in the American LeMans series race.


2001 - new model "Corvette C5 Z06"

The following year, the hardtop was replaced with the new Z06. This car had a new engine called the LS6. Based on the standard LT1 5.7 liter engine, the LS6 had a higher compression ratio (10.5: 1 instead of 10.1: 1) and thus increased the engine's power to 385 hp and 521.40 Newton meters. The car accelerated from 0-100km / h in just 4 seconds, making it one of the fastest road cars in the world.

Thanks to the new model, sales picked up again. In 2001, 35,537 cars were sold, of which 5,798 were Z06s.


Special editions of the Corvette C5

The convertible as a special edition in "Millennium Yellow"
A special edition was introduced, which was made in only 60 copies. For 86,000 USD, you got a Corvette Cabriolet based on the Z06. A 5.7 liter engine with 405 hp and a torque of 544 N / m was installed here. This car achieved racing car qualities, it should be noted that it is a convertible.
The edition was made exclusively in the “Millennium Yellow” paintwork.


The special model "50th Anniversary" debuts on the 50th birthday.

In 2002 the Corvette celebrated its 50th birthday, and the special edition "50th Annyversary" was launched on this special occasion.

This edition was available as a convertible as well as in the Targa version in the special color "Crimson Tintcoat Metallic". An emblem with the number 50 can be found both on the body (logo on the side of the fender) and in the interior.


Commerative Editon (reminder issue)

2004 is the last for the Corvette C5. The press had already obtained some spy photos showing the C6 and Chevrolet announced the commemorative edition of the Corvette C5. The souvenir edition as an option on the Z06 cost 4,335 USD and included, among other things, a carbon fiber roof that made the car almost 5 kg lighter. The coupe painted in "Le Man Blue" was recognized by the two red framed silver stripes that ran from the bonnet over the roof.

Motor Trend magazine noted that this Z06 souvenir was supposed to be the fastest showroom Corvette they had ever tested. What was certain was that the Corvette C5 was a very successful generation and the last Z06 edition had an extremely good end.


Technical data of the Corvette C5

Construction time: 1997-2004

Engine: V8 unit made of aluminum
Displacement: 5,666 cc
Power: C5: 344 - 350 hp
C5 Z06: 385-405 hp

Transmission: selectable: 6-speed (Tremec 56) or 4-speed automatic (TH4L60e)

Vmax .: 284 km / h

Dimensions (L, W, H): 4,570, 1,870, 1,200 mm
Empty weight: 1,470 kg

The new price of the Corvette C5 in Germany at the end of 2004 was 51,078 to 68,600 euros, depending on the equipment and engine!


Pictures of Chevrolet Corvette C5

Click on a picture to open the gallery

Photos: © GM Company

Video of Chevrolet Corvette C5 Z06