The C5 was introduced in 1997 and ended with the 2004 model year. It is the fifth
generation of Chevrolet Corvettes built and marketed by Chevrolet. The C5 was a
radical change from the previous generation. The car now had a hydroformed box frame,
the transmission was moved to the rear of the car to form an integrated rear-mounted
transaxle assembly and is connected to the engine via a torque tube. The 4L60E automatic
transmission carried on, but the manual was replaced by the Borg-Warner T-56. Gone
were the squeaks and rattles of the C4, and in replacement was an incredibly strong
frame that would last for at least two more generations. The new C5 was better in
every aspect than the C4 it replaced.
Z06 A successor to the ZR-1 made its debut in 2001 as the Z06, a nod to the high
performance Z06 version of the C2 Corvette of the 1960s. Instead of a heavy double-overhead
cam engine like the ZR-1, the Z06 uses a high-output (LS6), a tuned version of the
standard Corvette's (LS1) producing 385 hp (287 kW). Although the Z06's total output
was less than that of the last ZR-1's, the Z06 was much lighter and faster than
the ZR-1 in every category except for top speed. Like with the ZR-1, Chevrolet found
that added power output did the C5 platform little good without platform modifications
to bring the rest of the car up to par, and a hardtop body, uprated suspension,
larger wheels and tires, revised gear ratios, and functional brake cooling ducts
became part of the total package. The Z06 is 38 pounds lighter than a standard C5
hardtop thanks to a titanium exhaust, thinner glass, lighter wheels, non EMT tires,
reduced sound proofing, fixed rear radio aerial, and a lighter battery. From 2002
onward, the Z06 produced 405 hp (302 kW) thanks to stiffer valve springs, lighter
sodium filled valves, more aggressive cam phasing and lift, revised pistons, and
revised block. 405 hp versions of the Z06 could make the 0-60 run in 3.9 seconds.
Owners have gotten the C5 Z06 down the quarter mile in an incredible 10.85 seconds.
The Z06 is capable of matching or beating the 0-60 times of some of the world's
premier sports cars, including the Ferrari 360 and the 911 turbo. The C5 Corvette
Z06 is one of the best performance bargains under $100,000. The 2004 Z16 Commemorative
Edition came with a carbon fiber hood which saved 20 pounds. Another noticeable
characteristic of the Z16 (commemorative edition) is the polished aluminum rims,
unique paint, and special commemorative badging and centercaps. It also received
shock damping tuning for improved handling. This is a limited production vehicle.
2025 Z16s were produced in 2004 (the only year produced). Of that number, 325 went
overseas leaving North America with approximately 1700.
A 50th Anniversary Edition model was built in 2003 to celebrate a half century of
Corvette production. A slightly modified 50th Anniversary Edition Corvette was chosen
to pace the Indy 500 race in May 2002. Available as a coupe or convertible, the
50th anniversary came with 50th Anniversary Red metallic paint and shale two-tone
leather trim. New to Corvette in 2003, the F55 Magnetic Selective Ride Control was
standard on the 1SC Anniversary Edition. Special Champagne color painted aluminum
wheels, trim, and badges completed the look. It included the LS1 engine and all
of the convenience options offered on the upscale Corvette models. The 50th Anniversary
Edition was a centerpiece of the 50th Anniversary Celebration, sponsored by Chevrolet.
Festivities included gatherings in Nashville, Bowling Green, and St. Louis. Thousands
of Corvettes and owners arrived from all over the country driving their Vettes to
celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Corvette.