Generation-C5 - Corvette 1997-2004

The fifth generation Corvette (C5) was built from 1997 until 2004. The C5 came equipped with the LS1 engine, and is a convertible vs. the coupé, which weakened the vehicles structural integrity, so the car was equipped with a hydroformed box frame as means to remedy the structural integrity.


Third generation: 1997 – 2004

Manufacturer: Chevrolet

Model: Corvette (C5)

Production of the C5 Corvette began in 1997 as a coupe and ended with the 2004 model year. The convertible appeared the next year in 1998 and ran through 2004. The C5 had a top speed of 181 mph and was judged by the automotive press as improved in nearly every area over the previous Corvette design with the inclusion of a torque tube and rear transaxle along with the car's much increased structural rigidity and much more curvaceous design. The rear of the car became larger for increased trunk space including the ability to hold a set of golf clubs. This storage concept continued through the C6 and C7 also.

Corvette Z06 Hardtop Coupe
Also introduced with the C5 was GM's new LS1 small block. This third-generation small block V8 was completely redesigned. Now all-aluminum, it featured a distributor-less ignition and a new cylinder firing order. It was initially rated at 345 horse power and 350 foot pounds of torque, but was increased to 350 horse power in the 2001 edition. The new engine, combined with the new body and its low 0.29 drag coefficient, was able to achieve up to 28 mpg on the highway.
For its first year, the C5 was available only as a coupe, although the new platform was designed from the ground up to be a convertible, which returned in 1998, followed by the fixed-roof coupe in 1999. One concept for the FRC was for it to be a stripped-down model with a possible V6 engine. By 2000, FRC plans laid the groundwork for the return in 2001 of the Z06, an RPO option not seen since Zora's 1963 race-ready Corvette. This is the first time that the Corvette was available in three different body designs. 
The Z06 model replaced the FRC model as the highest performance C5 Corvette. Instead of a heavier double-overhead cam engine like the ZR-1 of the C4 generation, the Z06 used an LS6, a 385 net horse power derivative of the standard LS1 engine. Using the much more rigid fixed roof design allowed the Z06 unprecedented handling thanks to upgraded brakes and less body flex.  Those characteristics, along with the use of materials such as a titanium exhaust system and a carbon fiber hood in the 2004 model year led to further weight savings and performance gains for the C5 Z06. The LS6 was later upgraded to 405 horse power for 2002–2004. Although the Z06's rated power output equal to that of the C4 ZR-1, the improved rigidity, suspension, brakes, and reduced weight of the C5 produced a car quicker than C4 ZR-1.

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