Here’s Why the C5 Might Be the Most Iconic Corvette of All Time

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C5 Corvette Full Lineup

Road & Track pinpoints just how the fifth-generation model set the stage for the ‘Vette’s best years.

We can’t say we’d thought about it before, but our friends at Road & Track are right — this current generation of enthusiasts only knows good Corvettes.

Was the C5 the beginning of the Corvette's golden era?

Of course, there are some fans who contend that there’s never been a bad Corvette. To them, the C7 is an extension of the car’s 60-plus years of success. But there are likely more who agree with Road & Track’s recent report. It argues that some of the Corvette’s strongest years began with the introduction of the C5 in 1997.

In the words of writer Jack Baruth: “If you graduated in 2017, then chances are that you were born in 1994, which means that the C5 was already on the streets by the time you could recognize and identify different kinds of cars.”

Baruth discusses how pivotal the C5 is in the car’s history, especially considering that the Corvette program was almost killed after the C4 Grand Sport. Had it not been for defiant people like Russ McLean, the C5’s platform manager, the Corvette likely would have died.

Baruth cites the book All Corvettes Are Red to highlight how daring the efforts were to save the car. That includes working on a fraction of the budget that should have been afforded for the car.


ALSO SEE: You Really Need This Rare C4 Callaway Speedster!


“The car should have been a total loser; it was done on a shoestring by people who often donated their own time and effort over and above their day jobs at GM,” writes Baruth. “Yet in the end, the car was more than just good enough; it single-handedly established the modern concept of Corvette-as-overdog-bully that persists among auto enthusiasts of all stripes.”

Yep, we think that pretty much says it all.

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