Why the Chevrolet Corvette C5 is an awesome piece of American
My irrational relationship with the Chevrolet Corvette C5 began at the turn of the last
millennium – the year 2000 marked the return of the Corvette to Le Mans and as a young
race-goer I instantly fell in love with the ground-shaking baritone blare emitted from the
competition cars’ straight through side exit exhausts.
Snared by the racers, I developed a wholly unhealthy penchant for road going ‘Vettes of C5 vintage.
At face value it might not seem it, but this is a great ‘guilty pleasures’ car.
What engine does the Chevrolet Corvette C5 use and how powerful is it?
The C5 Corvette is a long way from the most attractive, impressive or sophisticated sports car – it’s
arguably far from the best Corvette even – but guilty pleasures aren’t ruled by the head.
Although the ‘new’ 5.7-litre V8 for the C5 still had pushrod actuated valves operating just two ports
per cylinder, it kicked out a healthy 345hp and a typical Motor City rumble that ruled the heart.
How fast is the Chevrolet Corvette C5?
The standard car could hit 62mph from stationary in 4.7 seconds and hit 175mph, eclipsing more
sophisticated contemporary European machinery, such as the ‘996’ generation Porsche 911 and the
And the best bit about it was the C5 in standard form cost just USD $37,495 in 1997. Even with import
taxes that put it at less than the price of the M3, which it completely outstripped for performance.
What does the Chevrolet Corvette C5 look like inside?
It’d match the late 20s to early 30s mpg of its continental contenders, too – according to Chevrolet
the C5 would return “highway fuel economy” of 33.6mpg combined.
It’s arguably not aged as well as the two European coupes – chromed rims, slabby styling, a droopy
nose and an interior that, although sounding clichéd, genuinely wouldn’t look or feel out of place in a
budget supermini haven’t helped the C5’s case in becoming a classic.
How much should I pay for a used Chevrolet Corvette C5?
Pampered used examples can be advertised for around USD $20,000 – it’s a serious slice of
performance for the money.
It might not be to everyone’s tastes, but it’ll definitely be different and turn some heads, too. It might
have its drawbacks, but the C5 Corvette is a hidden gem – although often overlooked in favour of the
newer, more European C6 generation car (pictured), it’s still got some great features.
What interesting features did the Chevrolet Corvette C5 get?
The ‘90s ‘Vette got a targa top roof. The all-new chassis for the ‘97 model was designed with a
convertible in mind and in such a way that the roof didn’t provide any meaningful structural rigidity.
A removable panel between the top of the windscreen and the rear of the cabin meant you could
have the best of both worlds; protection from the weather, but the ability to let it in – and that grin-
inducing noise – when conditions merited it.
Were there any other Chevrolet Corvette C5 variants?
The car evolved throughout its eight-year life, with many C5 variants being produced. There were
special editions to commerorate the Indianapolis 500 pace car, the Corvette’s 50th anniversary and its
Le Mans victories, as well as the more-focused Z06, which got a 385hp V8.
Then there was the Z16 version – a commemorative car based on the Z06 producing 405hp – which
dropped the 0-62mph time to a 911 Turbo and Ferrari 360 Modena rivalling 3.9 seconds. For
references, the new 2014 Corvette Stringray will only do it in 4.0.
What sophisticated materials did the Chevrolet Corvette C5 use?
Far from being an unsophisticated design, with its ‘cart spring’ transverse leaf spring rear suspension,
the C5 was good enough underneath to make it a seriously successful racer.
Lightweight composite bodywork, a titanium exhaust (Z06 models), aluminium suspension
components and structural roof parts in magnesium helped keep the C5’s kerb weight below 1,500kg.
Allied to near perfect 51:49 weight distribution and electronically adjustable suspension (hi-tech for
1999, remember) it created a relatively sweet handling car.
Why the Chevrolet Corvette C5 is an awesome piece of American muscle and a guilty pleasure??
The C5 did a lot for the Corvette nametag, regaining the respect the boot badge had lost with the C2
and C3, as well as laying the foundations for the latest car. It
Think of it as an American TVR – brawny, brash and with a whole heap of pent up performance – just
going about its business in a slightly different way. Despite the dated styling there’s much to love, and
it’s my guilty pleasure. I’ll take a Z06 in yellow, please.