As Chevrolet looks back at 60 years of Corvettes, the focus today is the C5 generation that started in 1997 and ended in 2004. Corvette Product Manager Harlan Charles filmed this tribute to the 5th gen Corvette from the Corvette Time Line at Detroit’s Woodward Dream Cruise last month.
The C5 generation was a complete reinvention of the Corvette that continued the tradition of refinement and helped usher the American sports car onto the world stage. One of the big deals in the design for the C5 Corvette was the return of an actual trunk which disappeared from Corvettes after 1962. Harlan says by moving the transmission to the rear and splitting the gas tanks behind the seats, it gave the C5 Corvette much needed cargo space which allowed the car to serve as a daily driver as well as making it great for road trips.
Technology was still a huge emphasis and we saw the C5 generation Corvettes equipped with active handling, stability control, a heads up display and all Corvettes were introduced with run-flat tires. All Corvettes were built with hydro-formed steel frame that was very strong and helped lower the overall weight while reducing the number of parts needed to assemble.
The C5 Corvette marked the return of factory racing with Corvette. Corvette Racing began racing the C5-R and the team won the 24 Hours of Le Mans three times and the ALMS Manufacturers championship 4 times during the era. Chevy marked the success of the Corvette Racing team by offering the 2004 Commemorative Edition.
In 2003, Corvette celebrated its 50th Anniversary and the occasion was marked with a special 50th Anniversary package.
Finally, the C5 Corvette would mark the return of the Z06 performance model. Introduced in 2001, the Corvette Z06 featured the 385-horsepower LS6 and when the generation came to a close in 2004, the Z06 was rated at 405 horsepower.
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