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C5 Corvette - 1997 to 2004 - The 1998 Corvette

With a shortened production run and a lot of pent up demand for a new Corvette, 1998s sales numbers exceeded 31,000 units, helped along by the addition of a Corvette convertible.

The styling of the C5 made the convertible version a work of art. All of the attibutes of the coupe would be enhanced in the drop top version. The was stunning with the top up, even more so in its natural state. The top had a slimmer, more purposeful appearance than the C4s. With a real trunk, the first since 1962, the shorter top made for a larger trunk opening. The top was available in the same three tones as the C4; White, Black, and Light Oak.

The top operation was similar to all Corvettes of the past except the C5's top did not have pins and latches ath the rear of the top to keep it secure. Instead, the rear was secured by the top's geometry, applying pressure on the rear when the front of the top was secure. The top was fully lined and when lowering the top, the side windows automaticly lowered when the tonneau was released.The rear window on the convertible top was glass and it included an electric defroster grid. No auxiliary hardtop was offered.

One the top was down, the real beauty came out. Rather than a flat tonneau cover as on the C4, the C5's tonneau had a pair bumps directly behind the headrests. The tonneau was scalloped out for the seats, and gracefully flowed into the interior by way of a "waterfall", a common nickname for the divider between the seats, last seen in 1962. The waterfall was painted body color and fixed in position, and carried the Corvette emblem on the body.

The cast aluminum wheels were supplemented by a new set of bronze toned magnesium wheels. The wheels were further accented by yellow "MAGNESIUM" wording around the outer rim. New to the Indy 500 Pace Car replica package, the wheels were the most expensive option on the 1998 Corvette. The wheels were priced at $3,000.00, and even at that price, they were in heavy demand. The wheels were on constraint all year and as a result, only 1,425 sets were installed.

While the convertible received the lions share of media attention, Corvette move to refine the overall package with subtle changes. To ease maintenance concerns, an air restriction monitor for the air filter let owners know when it was time to change the air filter. A pair of new colors, Light Pewter Metallic and Medium Purple Pearl matallic made it to mainstream production, however twenty nine Corvettes were painted in colors not in the order guide. They were Aztec Gold (15) and Navy Blue Metallic (14). Navy Blue did make the cut and show up as a production color for 1999, Aztec Gold on the other hand, did not.

Mid-year, Active Handling was added to the option list. The system used sensors that took in reading for yaw and roll in an attemt to combat over and understeer in keep the car travelling along its intended path. The system would apply brake pressure to one or more of the wheels to correct the cars attitude. The system could not defeat the laws of physics, as if you entered a corner to quickly, the car could still lose control. The option was priced at $500.00, and 5,356 Corvette were built with this feature.

Powerteam choices mirrored the 1997 offerings. The 345hp 5.7L LS1 V8 was the only available engine, and it was backed by either a 4-speed automatic with overdrive or a six-speed manual transmission. The base gear ratio was a 2.73:1 with the standard automatic. Optional on the automatic but required with the Z51 Performance Handling Package was the 3.15:1 rear ratio. Manuals had single ratio available, a 3.42:1.

The convertible Corvette was pressed into pace car service for the 1998 Indianapolis 500. This was the fourth such appearance and the folks must have wanted to make a dramatic statement; the 1998 Pace Car was the wildest piece of machinery to be based on American shores since the high winged Daytona Chargers and Plymouth Superbirds of 1969/70. The official color of the car was "Pace Car Purple", however the delivery receipts from the cars carriers declared it to be "Radar Purple." Whatever the name, if was definately purple. If the exterior color wasn't enough to jolt you, then what abput the yellow, red, and white graphis the car was bestowed with? OK, still not stimulating enough? Who could overlook the bright yellow painted cast aluminum wheels. The only piece of exterior normalcy seemed to be the standard black fabric convertible top.

If you weren't shocked by the outside, then the inside should bave been easy to deal with, right? As soon as you opened the door you were treated (!) to a set of bright yellow bucket seats, trimmed in purple and black, naturally. The Indy 500 logo was tastefully embroidered into the seats, adding even more flair. The black leather wrapped steering wheel, handbrake lever, and shift knob were all graced with bright yellow stitching. The available options were limited to a choice of transmissions or a trunk mounted six disc CD changer. The totsl number of pace cars replicas produced was 1,163.

1998 was the first full model yeat for the C5 and sales were still strong. Torch Red was the most popular choice to be viewed in, followed by Black, and then Sebring Silver. Convertibles were very popular as slightly more than one-third of the total number were roadsters. The C5 was off to a good start, but better times were just ahead.

Total Production - 31,084
Model Number Description Production Base Price
1YY07 Corvette Sport Coupe 19,235 $37,495.00
1YY67 Corvette Convertible 11,849 $44,425.00

Engine Codes
RPO Cu. In. / L Horsepower Torque Fuel System Trans Block Code Comp Ratio :1 Emissions
LS1 346 / 5.7 345 @ 5600 350 @ 4400 Sequenial Multi Port EFI Man ZZC 10.1 All
LS1 346 / 5.7 345 @ 5600 350 @ 4400 Sequenial Multi Port EFI Auto ZZD 10.1 All

Color & Trim Codes
Exterior Color Codes Interior Trim Codes
Color Code Color Base Seats -AR9 Sport Sests - AQ9
Arctic White 10U Black Leather 193 193
Aztec Gold 58U Light Gray Leather 923 923
Black 41U Firethorn Red 943 943
Nassau Blue metallic 23U Light Oak Leather Sport Seats 673 673
Navy Blue Metallic 28U
Fairway Green Metallic 87U
Pace Car Purple Metallic 21U
Light Pewter Metallic 11U
Purple Pearl Metallic 95U
Torch Red 70U
Light Carmine Red Metallic 53U
Sebring Silver Metallic 13U
Dimensions
Corvette Coupe
Overall Length 179.7
Height 47.7
Width 73.60
Wheel Base 104.5
Track F / R 62.0 / 62.1
Curb Weight 3229 Auto
3218 Man
Dimensions are in inches, weight in pounds unless otherwise noted.

1997 - "The best 'Vette yet!" 1998 - Pace Car Purple
1999 - Hardtop with Lightness at no Charge
2000 - A Corvette for the Millenium (Yellow)
2001 - Zee-Oh-Six
2002 - Best Selling C5
2003 - Corvette celebrates 50 in Anniversary Red
2004 - Commemorating in Carbon Fibre

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