C5 Fifth Generation Corvette circa 1997-2004

Production of the C5 Corvette began in 1997 and ended with the 2004 model year. The C5 was a major improvement over the long-running C4, which like early Corvettes, tended to develop squeaks and rattles. The new C5 has a top speed of 171 mph (275 km/h) and was judged by the automotive press as improved in nearly every area over the previous Corvette design.
Also introduced with the C5 was GM's new LS1 small block. This third-generation small block was a completely new design, including a distributor-less ignition and a new cylinder firing order. It was initially rated at 345 bhp (257 kW) and 350 lbft (470 Nm), but was increased to 350 bhp (260 kW) in 2001. The new engine, combined with the new body and its low drag coefficient, resulted in a performance car that was able to achieve up to 28 mpg on the highway.

For its first year, the C5 was available only as a coupe, even though the new platform was designed from the ground up to be a convertible. The convertible returned to the lineup in 1998, followed by the fixed-roof coupe (FRC) in 1999. One concept for the FRC was for it to be a stripped-down model with a possible V6 engine (nicknamed in-house as the "Billy Bob"). It was eventually decided to not strip down the model, and the FRC later laid the groundwork for the return in 2001 of the Z06, an RPO option not seen since Zora's 1963 race-ready Corvette.[8] The Z06 model replaced the FRC model as the highest performance C5 Corvette. Instead of a heavier double-overhead cam engine like the ZR-1 of the C4 generation, the Z06 used an LS6, a 385 bhp (287 kW) version of the standard LS1 Corvette engine. The LS6 was later upgraded to 405 bhp (302 kW) horsepower for 2002-2004. Although the Z06's rated power output equal to that of the C4 ZR-1, the improved suspension and reduced weight of the C5 produced a car quicker than the ZR-1.

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