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For the 1997 model year, the first C5 Corvette,  there were only two body styles, a fastback coupe and a convertible. The convertible was the first of the Corvettes to have a trunk since 1962. The C5 Corvette saw a reversal of a trend started by the C4. With those cars, the lines simplified, but with the C5 models, the body lines tended to subtly reverse that trend. The C5 Vettes had the more aggressive look of the C3 models, while increasing the cars aerodynamics.

The C4 year of the Corvette saw the return of the convertible, this time with an integral roll bar, but GM now had a problem with the coupe; with the total removal of the roof, the coupe could collapse in the event of a rollover incident. The engineers solved the problem by using a hydroformed box frame, which remained the same for two generations of Corvettes. This frame style also solved a squeak problem that plagued the C4 models. In 1999, GM marketed a hard-top called a “fixed roof coupe.” This new model had a trunk similar to the convertibles, making a total of three models to choose from.

Chevrolet Corvette 1998

© Toynutz | 1998 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible

The transmission in the C5 moved to the rear of the vehicle and connected to the all-new LS1 engine by a torque tube giving the C5 Vette an ideal 50/50 front to rear weight distribution. The LS1 engine produced 345hp (257 kW), which increased in 2001 to 350hp (261 kW). If you chose an automatic, it was the older style 4L60 automatic transmission, but if you chose the standard, you got a new Borg-Warner T-56 six-speed. This transmission could take your C5 Vette to a top speed of 175 mph (282 km/h).

Chevrolet Corvette 1998 rear

© Toynutz | 1998 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible

Visibly, there was little change in the C5 generation of Corvettes, only new colors, different wheel covers, horsepower increases, and some new options to choose from. Three of the more popular new options were HUD (heads up display), an active handling system,  and variable assist steering, which varied the assist from the power steering unit, and the operator had more assist at low speeds and progressively less as the vehicles speed increased.

Chevrolet Corvette 2004

 © Steirus | Newer Car, 2004 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible

The C5 Corvette was a very fuel efficient vehicle, considering the power it had at the drivers disposal. The car achieved EPA ratings of 18 city/25 highway mpg with the automatic and 19 city/28 highway mpg with the standard, so the high-powered Vette avoided the “gas guzzler tax” put on many other vehicles in its class. Many factors contributed to the cars fuel efficiency, among them were its low drag co-efficient and relative light weight. The low weight was partially due to having ride flat tires instead of a spare tire.

The automatic transmission upshifted at the earliest possible moment, while the standard had a computer-aided shift, which obligated the operator to shift from 1st to 4th under certain driving conditions, the owner could purchase an aftermarket device to inhibit this mandatory shift mechanism. The suspension choices were somewhat limited for a basic C5 Vette. In 1999-2000, an option was the FE3 sport suspension or the F45 selective ride control suspension. The Z06 model was an exception and had no optional suspension choices; the FE4 racing suspension was the only one on that model. The F5 Vette could match or beat most of the premier performance and sports cars of its time. This car could do 0-60 in 4.7 seconds and a standing quarter-mile in 13.2 seconds with the six-speed standard transmission.

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