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should I buy C5 or a C4?

 
Old 10-03-2018, 05:09 AM
  #41  
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Qualifier: The only C4 I've owned and driven was a ZR-1, but other than the engine and the wider body, it was all standard C4.

I LOVED my C4. I never should have sold it, but that's how things go sometimes. I also love my C5 and it truly is a better car in most respects. But. If you put my yellow/black C5 next to my black/gray C4 ZR-1 and made me choose between them, I'd take the C4 every time. The late C4 interior is superior and the seats are FAR more comfortable and supportive than the C5, and I just love the styling of the C4. I can still remember seeing my very first one in early 1984 and was blown away - it was a spaceship compared to everything else on the road. I know why most Corvette enthusiasts don't like it, because it's the only Corvette generation with clean, simple lines. I prefer the C4 styling to the C5 for that reason. Lots of them also don't like the C5 because it's the only generation with smooth, simple lines. All the other generations are far more visually complex.

That said, if you're looking for the best car to drive every day, reliable, easy and cheap to work on, get the C5.
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Old 10-03-2018, 09:02 AM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by Vetteman Jack View Post
It's not just the HP that is the difference. The C5 has a lot fewer parts overall to worry about, is better ergonomically, gets better fuel economy, has more up to date options available, and is priced very reasonably any more. The C4 is a fun car (I had four of them), but IMO the C5 is just a better car in almost every way (and I have had three of them).

Now, if it were me, I would look at a 2001 and up C5 if the budget allows. In 2001, there were a lot of upgrades made to the platform which were very good changes. Plus parts availability for the latter C5s is better.

The C5's do have a number of common issues (look at the stickies in the C5 General and C5 Tech sections), but obviously not all vehicles will have those problems.
This thread caught my eye because I went through the exact same decision process back in 2012. The recommendations from many, including Vetteman Jack are reflected in Jack's post. I followed that advice and bought a used 2004. It was a blast and a pretty reliable car. IMHO, I still think the C5 is the best looking Corvette since they went to plastic bumpers.
If I had it to do over again, back in 2012, I would have done exactly what I did, buy a 2001 or newer C5. Faster, quieter, better riding, easier to find parts to repair, no "Unispark", easier to get in and out of, has one of the most desirable engines for aftermarket HP increase (the LS1), better looking interior, may have HUD, more practical rear storage area, larger wheels for larger tires, transmission in the rear for better balance and better handling, how much more do you want listed to highlight the superiority of the C5 compared to the C4?
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Old 10-03-2018, 09:27 AM
  #43  
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Interestingly, this same thread is going in the C4 general section. As you can imagine, some very different opinions in there. I have had both and I have to say there were a lot of things I loved about my C4. To me, as a fairly young adult at the time, it was the most awesome machine ever and a thrill to drive. The C5 is a definite upgrade but there is nothing wrong with a C4. It is still a heckuva fun car to drive and an excellent value. To each their own but I would own another C4 in a second.
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Old 10-03-2018, 11:19 AM
  #44  
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Not that many 91 Z07 6 spds in councourse condition. On that note Id go with it...easier to maintain
C5 has a little more power but your question about electrical? The C5 is MUCH more complex with electronics, has discontinued parts that are not cheap.
Better drive both, ignore price and see what makes your gut say yep!

Last edited by cuisinartvette; 10-03-2018 at 11:20 AM.
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Old 10-03-2018, 11:39 AM
  #45  
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I vote for the C5. You won't need to pole vault your way in and out of it like you do on a C4. The flimsiness of the C4 would also keep me from buying one.
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Old 10-03-2018, 12:42 PM
  #46  
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2001 - 2004 c5.
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Old 10-03-2018, 08:29 PM
  #47  
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Started my Vette search in February found a couple local C4’s in the 6-8 grand range with decently low miles for the year but they were in the 285 hp range if memory serves. I remember building fairly tame mouse motors in the 300-325 hp range back in the day.

I decided 345-350 hp minimum which lead me to the C5 driving one compared to the C4 was an eye opening experience it was so much more car than the C4’s I drove... Performance , handling, cockpit comfort and last but not least styling. Granted buying my 02 vert with 31,000 miles was double the price of the best C4 I could I find but I believe it was money well spent.
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Old 10-03-2018, 10:24 PM
  #48  
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I'd say go with a 2001 or newer C5. When I bought my '01 C5, I went into the dealership to buy a 6M '95 C4. In fact drove that '95 and three other C4s- all with less mileage than the 6M C5 (+97,000 miles) I ended up buying. To me the high mileage C5 was a better car than the lower miles C4s. You'd not get me to say one generation of Corvette looks any better than the other. Personally, I think they all look great.

Reason #1 I bought the C5- my wife liked it. Why did my wife like it?--- mostly because it was more comfortable for her. If your passenger is going to be a lady--- that's important. The C5 was easier for her to get in and out of and offered her more foot room. She also thought it the more attractive car- she's not a "car person" but thought the C4 "looked old" while to her the C5 looked modern (as in to her untrained eye it could have been made yesterday). Happy wife, happy life. But this was going to be my car, so I had to like it too.

In terms of driving experience, I thought the C5 felt better put together (less shake rattle and roll). The C5 clearly had more power- but I grew up driving in the '70s so anything with +200 horsepower impresses me. And the C4s I drove were all very engaging and had more power than I could want or need. However the ride of the C5 (even with the Z51 suspension), I thought better than the C4 and the handling of the C5 was better. The C5 was easier for me to get in and out of, and I preferred the instrumentation and controls of the C5 over those of the C4.

My father a retired surgeon, now 86 years old bought new Corvettes 1960- 1984: C1, C2, C3, C4 and a new C5 (his last Corvette an '03 anniversary). So you might say I grew up with Corvettes. But I had never owned one personally. When I was debating over which Corvette to buy my father pronounced his C5 '03 the best Corvette he had ever owned. "Buy it, you'll never regret it" was his advice. So I bought it and 11 months and 9,000 miles later...no regrets.

Drive the cars you are considering, then decide- one thing you will find about any Corvette is that they are true to their DNA- you'd know it is a Corvette if blind folded; yet each generation is nuanced and has a unique "personality'. No matter which you chose, if it fits you- your budget, taste and requirements- that's the right car for you. And you'll find that you will get a wave and a smile from anyone driving a Corvette no matter the generation or year.

Last edited by wdcraig; 10-03-2018 at 10:33 PM.
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Old 10-03-2018, 10:44 PM
  #49  
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The only Corvette I have ever owned is the C5, which I love. The C4 caught my eye when it came out. I thought that it was a radical improvement of the breed, creating a line that led to the C5 and C6, both beautiful in my eye.

The C4 that you have found sounds like a gem, so I would not rule it out. But make sure that you are comfortable getting in and out of it. I'm an older guy, and that C4 would be daunting to me as a daily driver just because of the ingress and egress. Personally, I find the dashboard quite dated as well, but then I've replaced the C5 radio with a double DIN that gives my Android Auto, so the C5 bone stock has some dated aspects as well.

As for horsepower, you seldom get to use it all if it is a daily driver, as is mine. I would however worry about the availability of parts on a C4. Either way you'll be good. Go with what grabs you if you can afford it.
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Old 10-04-2018, 12:10 AM
  #50  
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I have both a C4 and a C5 Z06. Had my C4 for 10'years now, not a single problem bought it w/44k miles. It's a '91 and what's cool about that year is you get the torque (350tq) monster L98 with the updated dash and exterior of the 2nd gen C4. Now mine is a true built and numbered Lingenfelter edition, but regardless they take off from the line fast due to all that torque. The C7's interior is modeled after the '91-96 C4, it feels like you're sitting in a fighter jet. The size of the car is perfect and more personal than a C5. And even though mine is quick and handles like its on rails, I use it to "chill" and mostly just to remove the targa roof and cruise around. Now, if I want to go Viper hunting and feel major adrenalin, I take my C5Z, which is my American Ferarri 360. I will never get rid of either one of them. That '91 you found with half of the '98 C5's miles, problems and less money is the one to get.
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Old 10-04-2018, 02:17 AM
  #51  
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Originally Posted by H. I. McDunough View Post
Looking to buy my first corvette. I have been trying to do my homework on this, and have been looking around for a couple months now. I am not looking for a show car, but I want a driver. A fun car to drive, and take a trip in occasionally. I have 2 cars that I am seriously looking at now. One is a 1991 with the z07 suspension pkg, 45,000 miles, 6 speed manual transmission, & is in fantastic condition. I mean Hagerty would grade it out in concourse condition. L98 engine & 250 horsepower. The second car is a 1998 with 85,000 miles, and 6 speed manual trans. It is about $3,000 more than the c4. Both cars are great, but just wondering if the 1998's extra horsepower is worth the money. Do the c5's have a lot of electrical issues?
Drive both and use that as your guide,
I personally do not like the C4's cockpit and the high door sills. But this may be fine for you
Only driving both will help you make up your mind.
Best of luck!
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Old 10-04-2018, 02:19 AM
  #52  
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I've had a pair of C4s and presently own a 94 LT1 (white ext w/black int) and an 03Z (Quicksilver with ModRed int):

Stock C4 or C5s aren't world-beaters in the performance department so lets set aside the in-depth spec comparos as either can be generously modded to fly BUT If you want a race car/track car then the C5 platform would be a better overall game to start with, in specific a FRC bodied Vette. My C5Z is a raw beast, LS6 runs strong all the way to it's redline, loves to be beat on and driven hard & fast (as designed) while my C4 is a cruiser. I drive both cars about 2 times a week.

Some are scared of the C5 electronics/modules (aka technology) so that could be a concern possibly as well but my Z has been deadnuts reliable, as were/are both of my C4s. Anyways, electronics do scare people so much like the C3 generation once looked at the C4s like electronic nightmares, some may say the same about newer generation Vettes. If you're handy and capable then neither should be of a concern; however, if you're not mechanically inclined any old (sports) car can turn into a headache.

I wasn't a fan of regular C5s for a long time (bubble butt had something to do with it) and frankly only recently warmed up to the C5 FRC body style. Both cars have distinctive looks but my wife and a several friends/coworkers have commented their general preference for the look of my C4 (both cars are subtly modded) but their comments totally surprised me as I wasn't expecting that, the point is, looks (although subjective) have a lot to do with the purchase as well. The C4 maintenance will be cheaper/easier IMHO but the C5 will outperform the C4 in just about all categories minus...style. TO ME A C4 Corvettes taillights/rear end is iconic, the clamshell hood is an attraction in and of itself (which opens up nicely for a view), it has a sleek design/profile which is coupled with a tight cockpit, near perfect seating and ergonomic interior layout to top it off. Stylistically speaking, an C5 FRC might come close to give it a run for it's money but I generally feel the C4 overall as a generation has much more iconic looks, yes even with the 80s puns in there.

Regardless, performance will degrade as the years pass, even for a C5 as every dog has it's day - Some day, even the mightiest of today's Vettes will be just another old and "slow" car.

Goodluck
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Old 10-04-2018, 08:36 AM
  #53  
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Originally Posted by H. I. McDunough View Post
Looking to buy my first corvette. I have been trying to do my homework on this, and have been looking around for a couple months now. I am not looking for a show car, but I want a driver. A fun car to drive, and take a trip in occasionally. I have 2 cars that I am seriously looking at now. One is a 1991 with the z07 suspension pkg, 45,000 miles, 6 speed manual transmission, & is in fantastic condition. I mean Hagerty would grade it out in concourse condition. L98 engine & 250 horsepower. The second car is a 1998 with 85,000 miles, and 6 speed manual trans. It is about $3,000 more than the c4. Both cars are great, but just wondering if the 1998's extra horsepower is worth the money. Do the c5's have a lot of electrical issues?
I haven't read all the replies so I'm sorry if this has been said already...

The C5 is a much easier car to live with. C4s are cool...I looked at 'em...but they have their problems. One drive in a almost-trashed C5 convinced me that tje C5 was the way to go.
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Old 10-04-2018, 09:41 AM
  #54  
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Originally Posted by 02BlownZ06 View Post
Interestingly, this same thread is going in the C4 general section. As you can imagine, some very different opinions in there. I have had both and I have to say there were a lot of things I loved about my C4. To me, as a fairly young adult at the time, it was the most awesome machine ever and a thrill to drive. The C5 is a definite upgrade but there is nothing wrong with a C4. It is still a heckuva fun car to drive and an excellent value. To each their own but I would own another C4 in a second.
I posted both threads hoping to get a balanced perspective. It has been very informative. This is a great site and thanks to everyone who has posted their opinion.
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Old 10-04-2018, 09:50 AM
  #55  
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I love my C4. Weekend only car. I'm feeling it climbing in and out of it. Parts are not as plentiful as when I bought it, but it's a ZR1. My base C5 is much more driver friendly, easy to mod, and my daily driver. Depends what your long term plan for the car is. The C5 is better in every way. Do your research and find exactly what you want. Don't just buy a good deal or you will later regret it.
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Old 10-04-2018, 09:53 AM
  #56  
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Based on ONLY the 2 cars you posted, I would buy the cleaner nicer car for less. Add 1.6 Roller rockers, port intake and add headers. You would be pleased with the setup. A very balanced car.
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Old 10-04-2018, 10:09 AM
  #57  
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Take a look at the dash and controls on a C4 - I started there but the interior just turned me off - glad I wound up with a C5...
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Old 10-04-2018, 11:24 AM
  #58  
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Originally Posted by H. I. McDunough View Post
Looking to buy my first corvette. I have been trying to do my homework on this, and have been looking around for a couple months now. I am not looking for a show car, but I want a driver. A fun car to drive, and take a trip in occasionally. I have 2 cars that I am seriously looking at now. One is a 1991 with the z07 suspension pkg, 45,000 miles, 6 speed manual transmission, & is in fantastic condition. I mean Hagerty would grade it out in concourse condition. L98 engine & 250 horsepower. The second car is a 1998 with 85,000 miles, and 6 speed manual trans. It is about $3,000 more than the c4. Both cars are great, but just wondering if the 1998's extra horsepower is worth the money. Do the c5's have a lot of electrical issues?
C5. I would also shop online for C6s just in case.
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Old 10-04-2018, 11:28 AM
  #59  
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I just don't get how this is even debatable, they're so far apart its not even close in every aspect, neither is a "classic" & in when it comes to that my feeling is the Firebird/Camaro of the same era >>>> than C4's - watch Mecum. C4's are essentially the worst of all generations, sorry.

01-04 C5's vs 05-07 C6's - worth shopping against eachother - once you get into the LS3/6 speed autos, & ZR1/Z06 models the gap begins to widen, but no where NEAR the spread between what a C5 has going for it over any C4.
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Old 10-04-2018, 02:30 PM
  #60  
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I own both cars. I have had 3 C4s. They were early C4s so I cannot speak to the later models. With that said IMHO there is a great difference between the C4 and C5. I would go for the C5 although some of the early C5s have some electrical parts that cannot be rebuilt and are no longer available new(read the stickies in the C5 General section). There are still a lot of the early cars that have not and possibly will not ever have the electrical problems associated with the EBCM. The C5 is my first choice between the two that I drive. Good luck with your choice.
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