Chevrolet Corvette: 1997-2004, C5

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The 5th generation was a completely new car since 1953 and had nothing in common with C4 Corvette. The radical changes for Vette were engine and transmission. Transmission  was separated from the engine and put in the back now.  This was nothing new to other car manufacturers, but new to Corvette. Suspension was still with aluminum links and transverse leaf springs, wheels became 18 inch that were poked into run-flat tires. The frame was quite large, had thick backbone which gained extra strength. The engine had nothing in common with C4 too – although it still was 5.7 liter V8 [3rd generation “LS-1”] it was completely new all-aluminum herd of 345 horses, 6-speed manual or 4-speed automatic transmission. C5 was quite a big news in the market – affordable, powerful, fast [0-60 mph in 4.8 seconds], spacious, beautiful…

The only body available in 1997 was hatchback coupe that’s styling was modern continuation of C4 Corvettes. The next year Corvette line was enriched with convertible and got to be a pace car in Indianapolis race. The fixed roof coupe was introduced to the public in 1999 and was available only with 6-speed manual. Fixed roof coupe was a reason for 2001 Z06 to come. Z06 had high-compression light-weight version of LS-1 with 385 HP and titanium exhaust system. It also got special FE4 suspension [stiffer and thicker] with special light-weight wheels and a good price tag. The next year, Corvette Z06 was powered with outstanding 405 HP, better than last year’s suspension and revised sound system. 2003 was the year of 50th Corvette anniversary, so it was natural reason for the special edition to come, but Z06 was almost unchanged. The 2004 Corvette was know to be the last in this generation, so Z06 featured carbon-fiber hood revised shock valves – nothing to improve more. It was time for C6 to come.

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