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the greater leap, C3 to C4 or C4 to C5?

 
Old 07-05-2019, 06:43 PM
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L98auto
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Default the greater leap, C3 to C4 or C4 to C5?

To me, and many others, our C4 represents one of the greatest leaps forward from the previous generation of Corvette. Its been stated many times over that the C4 made the Corvette a "world class" sports car and the numbers comparing it to contemporary sports cars of the time back that up. Having a good amount of wrench time as a classic Vette mechanic for some years, I'll attest the C4 is far beyond the dated, more pedestrian engineering found in the outgoing later C3s.

From time to time, I see arguments made for the case of the C5 being the greatest leap forward. While, I'll admit I'm ignorant of much of the C5's inner workings beyond what I've studied in books and manuals, I still see the C4 as being a more radical step from what came before. I may be preaching to the choir here but what are your honest thoughts?
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Old 07-05-2019, 07:37 PM
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hcbph
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From what I've read and heard, the C3 to C4 change was the bigger jump. From what I've read, the C5 chassis was pretty much a continuation of the C4 chassis.
So I'd say look at the C3 to C4 transition for the biggest improvements.
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Old 07-05-2019, 08:08 PM
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I went to a Corvette dealer in Michigan to look at a 77 back in 1995. My son and I did a test drive and then took a 86 coupe for a drive.
What a difference. Better handling, HVAC, brakes, conveniences, power and style. I bought the 86 even though it was more expensive.
Having said that - have you ever driven a C5 Z06? I think they are excellent buy right now and the performance over a L98 or LT1 is spectacular.
My opinion then is the C5 Z06.
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Old 07-05-2019, 08:09 PM
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I believe the consensus is that the C3 -> C4 was the more significant of the two changes and lead to the current era of Corvettes.
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Old 07-05-2019, 08:23 PM
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Well if you compare apples to apples an 82 automatic vs 84 automatic and 96 automatic coupe vs 97 automatic coupe Iím going to say the C5 was the greater leap 50 horsepower more tied for largest Horsepower increase between corvette generations with C6 for base models better fuel economy braking and handling lighter more technology and a more comfortable car an 84 over an 82 was most of that as well except it only had 5 horsepower more and was definitely NOT more comfortable than an 82

Now if both the 96 and 97 are manuals Im going to say itís a tossup because of the LT4 engine

I also donít feel the 04 to 05 was as big a leap as either because they are basically the same car except for the extra 50 horsepower 25 torque and fixed headlights

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Old 07-05-2019, 09:03 PM
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C3 was an architecture from the early 60s itd worth noting the c4 and c2 are fundamentally the same underneath. The chassis difference between the two is beyond huge. The c4 to c5 change was an improvement, but they were both modern chassis.

If you go off hp, the 345 to 400hp increase in the c5 to c6 generation is bigger than 330 to 345, and I'd you go off the auto (you shouldnt) it's still only 300 to 345.

The real biggest change was c1 to c2. They added a ROOF.
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Old 07-05-2019, 09:59 PM
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Depends on how you compare. If you go strictly by last of one generation to first of the next:
i.e. 82 C3 to 84 C4 vs 96 C4 to 97 C5

If this is what you are comparing I would say the C4 to C5 is the bigger leap. My reasoning is the C5 introduced an entirely new powertrain and a transaxle with a torque tube. Further the powertrain was modern with individual coils, a crank sensor and an aluminum block. It also can be had with a heads up display and other minor refinements.

The C4 had a powerplant which was a holdover from a the C3 and a similar powertrain layout. It did offer some major advances in aluminum control arms and a transition to a space frame instead of a perimeter frame, but I don't think it is as significant IMO.

If you are comparing first of the generation to first of the next generation or last of one generation to last of the next generation

i.e. 68-84 vs 84-97 or 82-96 vs 96-04

If these are your comparisons then it is reversed IMO the C3 to C4 is a bigger leap.

Last edited by auburn2; 07-05-2019 at 10:02 PM.
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Old 07-05-2019, 10:27 PM
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C3 to C4 was the biggest jump in Corvette history. Although the C4 hasn’t gotten the respect it deserves, it pretty much saved the Corvette. I own both a 71 and an 88. Although the 71 has its character the 88 is so much more advanced. The 71 pretty much shares its chassis with a C2 vs the C4 sharing virtually nothing except for the small block V8. The C4 had handling, braking,technology and performance that was there with the euro exotic cars. The C4 was eventually thrown out of the SCCA and had to create their own Challenge series since the C4 destroyed every car out there. C4 to C5 was a reskin with several advancements.
C7 to C8 will be the biggest change since the C3 to C4
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Old 07-05-2019, 10:53 PM
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Originally Posted by auburn2 View Post

If you are comparing first of the generation to first of the next generation or last of one generation to last of the next generation

82-96 vs 96-04.
if you compare those as well as a
62--67
04-13
13-19

no question the C3 to C4 is the greatest leap especially an LT4 car and thatís because the C4 made the greatest leap of any generation during its run

the C5 and C7 arguably the smallest because aside from wheels and a BIG 5hp bump an 04 is basically the same car as a 97 and similarity with a 14 and 19 except NO bump

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Old 07-06-2019, 12:49 AM
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I think both the C4 and C5 represented huge leaps forward. There were so many advancements for each when they came out and this was irregardless of horsepower.

Just seems like so many forget how important the C4 was in leaping the Corvette into the modern era. When you consider the C3 chassis came from the C2 so by 1982 it was almost 20 years old. The C4 Chassis was designed in the late 70's so it was in need of some big advancements by the mid 90's.

Just cannot imagine Corvette in the modern era without the contributions of both the C4 and C5.
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Old 07-06-2019, 08:42 AM
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From 3 to 4 would be the larger leap IMO. In many ways. The laminated frame and the targs top fiasco. The aluminum suspension. Electrical integration. MPFI, Opti, the LT5, electronic suspension. The C4 successes and failures lead to a better C5.
C1 to C2 had big changes irs disc brakes and obviously styling
C2-C3 mostly styling
C4-C5 mostly a new powertrain. A change in how the corvette would be engineered; without a roof. Easier to add it than remove it.
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Old 07-06-2019, 10:11 AM
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It's not the easiest question to answer. My answer is as follows:
Performance: the C3-C4 change represents the single greatest leap in performance from one gen to the next. We are not talking about acceleration, since the C2/3 was all over the map in that regard (both the fastest and slowest Corvettes were C3s up until at least 2006). But in terms of chassis/suspension capabilities, it was night-and-day jumping to the C4. This can be quantified on a track or autocross course easily, but also in NVH of the suspension. Spring rates aside, the C4 had more compliance and much better geometry, and the car overall has a much better weight distribution and a lower CG.
Architecture: the C4-C5 is probably the biggest jump. It moved the chassis to a rear transaxle setup with a more modern dual-A-arm rear suspension. This allowed for a vastly stiffer chassis and an even better weight distribution. It paved the way for the mid-engine C8. It changed the Corvette from a very compact 96" wheelbase to a long 104.5" wheelbase. The whole car is way larger, but slightly lighter, than a C4. It also introduced the LS family engines, which has been as important to the automotive world as the original gen-I SBC was. While not immediately more powerful than the last LT, it was the beginning of a new SBC era.

Originally Posted by FAUEE
The real biggest change was c1 to c2. They added a ROOF.

There's an argument to made here. More than adding a roof, the C2 also added rear IRS and got away from a cheap/simple/unsophisticated Hotchkiss leaf-spring suspension. That was a huge leap, both in performance and architecture. I think I stand by my answers above, though.
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Old 07-06-2019, 10:14 AM
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C3 to C4.
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Old 07-06-2019, 11:48 AM
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Originally Posted by MatthewMiller View Post
It's not the easiest question to answer. My answer is as follows:
Performance: the C3-C4 change represents the single greatest leap in performance from one gen to the next. We are not talking about acceleration, since the C2/3 was all over the map in that regard (both the fastest and slowest Corvettes were C3s up until at least 2006). But in terms of chassis/suspension capabilities, it was night-and-day jumping to the C4. This can be quantified on a track or autocross course easily, but also in NVH of the suspension. Spring rates aside, the C4 had more compliance and much better geometry, and the car overall has a much better weight distribution and a lower CG.
Architecture: the C4-C5 is probably the biggest jump. It moved the chassis to a rear transaxle setup with a more modern dual-A-arm rear suspension. This allowed for a vastly stiffer chassis and an even better weight distribution. It paved the way for the mid-engine C8. It changed the Corvette from a very compact 96" wheelbase to a long 104.5" wheelbase. The whole car is way larger, but slightly lighter, than a C4. It also introduced the LS family engines, which has been as important to the automotive world as the original gen-I SBC was. While not immediately more powerful than the last LT, it was the beginning of a new SBC era.


There's an argument to made here. More than adding a roof, the C2 also added rear IRS and got away from a cheap/simple/unsophisticated Hotchkiss leaf-spring suspension. That was a huge leap, both in performance and architecture. I think I stand by my answers above, though.
I don't think I'm following this sentence..... I cannot recall any C3 that was faster than a ZR-1 or Z06....
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Old 07-06-2019, 12:12 PM
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Originally Posted by 81c3 View Post
I don't think I'm following this sentence..... I cannot recall any C3 that was faster than a ZR-1 or Z06....
@MatthewMiller probably means the 69 L88 and ZL1 Corvettes they had over 500hp and were mid 11 sec cars on street tires times not beaten until the C6 z06

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Old 07-06-2019, 02:38 PM
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No C2 went "11's on street tires", back in the day. No way, no how.

Originally Posted by MatthewMiller View Post
We are not talking about acceleration, since the C2/3 was all over the map in that regard (both the fastest and slowest Corvettes were C3s up until at least 2006).
Originally Posted by 81c3 View Post
I don't think I'm following this sentence..... I cannot recall any C3 that was faster than a ZR-1 or Z06....
The conversation is about the change over cars; so an '82>'84 and '96>'97...I don't see the question as being the whole gen range.


Originally Posted by MatthewMiller View Post
This allowed for a vastly stiffer chassis and an even better weight distribution. It paved the way for the mid-engine C8.
This may be splitting hairs, but the trans and suspension arms didn't pave those paths...the one piece frame rails and trans tunnel tied to the frame front/rear together created the stiffer chassis.
Not seeing ANY connection or "pavement" connecting the C5 and the C8 at all.

Something not mentioned thus far is the RADICAL jump in tech/content and amenities, C3-C4...which definitely doesn't compare, C4-C5. The C4's cockpit, egos, electronics, info/displays, stereo, HVAC, lightning, ....a massive jump, from the very basic, C3. C5 lost content, added "pushbutton start" tech (still, with a key though)...and grabbed the stereo out of the Pick-up truck.
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Old 07-06-2019, 03:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Y-bodluvr View Post
@MatthewMiller probably means the 69 L88 and ZL1 Corvettes they had over 500hp and were mid 11 sec cars on street tires times not beaten until the C6 z06
This LORE was extremely well covered, with links, articles and all kinds of real-world, objective numbers showing the real numbers from the "glory days". It's all in THIS THREAD

Cliff notes: In all the links posted, not one trapped over 112 in the 1/4 mile. Most trapped in the 105-108 range. And a dyno test of a ZL1 resulted in 465 GROSS hp...506 GROSS, with open headers.
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Old 07-06-2019, 03:39 PM
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Originally Posted by 81c3 View Post
I don't think I'm following this sentence..... I cannot recall any C3 that was faster than a ZR-1 or Z06....
I was referring back to the L88 mainly. Obviously on the awful street tires that existed in those days, it wouldn't run a great e/t. But on decent drag slicks it was in the 11s and at least 120mph IIRC. IOW, it was at least fairly close to a C6 Z06, and significantly faster than a C4 ZR1 or C5 Z06. But there were so few of them, and the mods so plentiful, that it's hard to know for sure what kind of acceleration a truly showroom-stock one had.

OTOH, I believe there a couple years in the late 70s or early 80s where a 454 pickup was the fastest vehicle in Chevy's lineup. There were some awful years for stock Corvettes and other performance cars. The bigger point is that I wouldn't put a lot of emphasis on power/acceleration figures when comparing gens, because within any one generation there was a lot of variation.

Originally Posted by Tom400CFI
This may be splitting hairs, but the trans and suspension arms didn't pave those paths...the one piece frame rails and trans tunnel tied to the frame front/rear together created the stiffer chassis.
Not seeing ANY connection or "pavement" connecting the C5 and the C8 at all.

I'm going from memory, which is always dangerous. But I thought that MacClellan said that moving to the transaxle made it possible or at least easier to fully tie the trans tunnel to the frame. Certainly the one-piece hydroformed frame rails on the C5 also helped a lot (I'd forgotten about that). When I mentioned the C8, I'm saying that I think it's a bigger leap from front-trans to transaxle than it is to go from front/mid-engine to rear/mid-engine. In the case of the former, the unibody changes a ton in terms of dimensions to accomodate (ergo the long wheelbase) the transaxle and rear suspension. In the case of the latter, you're "just" shifting the cabin forward and shortening the driveshaft. They're both giant changes, of course, but if there had been a jump from the C4 to a mid-engine layout it would have been even bigger. I guess you could say the C5/6/7 was an interim between a classic front/mid-engine design and a class rear/mid-engine design.
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Old 07-06-2019, 03:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Tom400CFI View Post
This LORE was extremely well covered, with links, articles and all kinds of real-world, objective numbers showing the real numbers from the "glory days". It's all in THIS THREAD

Cliff notes: In all the links posted, not one trapped over 112 in the 1/4 mile. Most trapped in the 105-108 range. And a dyno test of a ZL1 resulted in 465 GROSS hp...506 GROSS, with open headers.
Ahhhh, okay. If the trap speeds for them were really that low in true stock form, then yes even the C4 ZR1 was faster.
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Old 07-06-2019, 03:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Tom400CFI View Post
This LORE was extremely well covered, with links, articles and all kinds of real-world, objective numbers showing the real numbers from the "glory days". It's all in THIS THREAD

Cliff notes: In all the links posted, not one trapped over 112 in the 1/4 mile. Most trapped in the 105-108 range. And a dyno test of a ZL1 resulted in 465 GROSS hp...506 GROSS, with open headers.
Hereís a video of a stock L88 running [email protected]

Also in https://www.corvetteforum.com/forums...ile-times.html a bone stock ZL1 ran [email protected]

Last edited by Y-bodluvr; 07-06-2019 at 03:51 PM.
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