Notable Improvements over the C4 Generation Make the 1997 Corvette a True Work of Art
The 1997 Corvette brought a renewed sense of anticipation from Corvette enthusiasts everywhere. Once the ignition was turned over anyone behind the wheel of this magnificent automobile knew that it was unlike any other Corvette before its time.
While the 1997 Corvette represented the start of the new C5 generation of Vettes, it also brought with it the elimination of something the C4 was known for, though not in a good way. Because the body was redesigned and state of the art materials went into the construction of the 1997 Corvette, all the groans, moans, squeaks, rattles, and bumps that the C4 driver was accustomed to became a thing of the past. This seemed to finally bring the Corvette to the forefront of comfort as well as performance.
As with every new generation of the Vette, the first C5 brought with it many improvements. Many critics said that the 1997 Corvette C5 was an improvement in every area over the C4. Some of the most notable improvements included:
- New Engine: With the birth of the 1997 Corvette so too came the birth of General Motor’s new LS1 350 V-8 small block engine. The new style 5.7 liter engine featured an aluminum block as opposed to iron for an overall weight savings of 45 pounds over the LT4 engine it replaced. With this power under the hood the 1997 Corvette could go from 0 – 60 miles per hour in 4.7 seconds which was a half-second faster than the LT4 engine and just as quick as the highly acclaimed ZR-1 engine.
- Suspension: The 1997 Corvette featured independent suspensions in both the front and the rear of the car and General Motors made large improvements in shock absorption and overall ride comfort.
- Brakes: The braking system that went into the 1997 Corvette was state of the art and featured 12.8 inch anti-lock disc brakes on the front with 12.0 inch anti-lock disc brakes on the read. This gave the Vette an amazing braking distance from 60 – 0 miles per hour in just 125 feet.
- New Interior Design: The new interior design saw the parking brake reside in its proper location, which was on the center console as opposed to the often inconvenient location of just off to the left side of the driver’s seat. The cockpit offered more room and even the brake and clutch pedals spoke to the sportiness of the 1997 Corvette by being composed of drilled cast aluminum.
Just as with the C4, the 1997 Corvette used a four-speed automatic transmission as its standard gearbox. For additional money, a driver could choose to upgrade to a six speed manual transmission which was a revised version of the Borg-Warner transmission of the past.
With exceptional roominess, ride comfort, handling, power, and braking there was not much about the 1997 Corvette that couldn’t be loved. Not only did this American made super car prove to be all it was cut out to be, but it also proved to be an extremely good value when compared to its Japanese and German counterparts. Because so much effort and planning went into the redesign of this first C5 Vette, drivers could truly feel as though they piloting a real work of art and not just another Corvette.