Here's the story:
Illustrated Corvette Series No. 111 - 2000 Corvette
"Taking a Breather"
The first three years of the C5 Corvette were unlike any previously seen in the Corvette’s long history. The overall design of the car was so good that all there was left to do was make minor improvements. With 345 net horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque delivering 0-to-60 mph in less than 5 seconds and drag strip times in the low 13s, what was there to complain about?
Not only was the car bloody fast, it was an unrivaled performance bargain. Excluding true supercars that are handmade by the dozens, the only cars capable of matching or exceeding the Corvette’s performance were the Dodge Viper and the Porsche 911. Both cost just over $25,000 more than the Chevy. The base price of the ‘00 Corvette Coupe was $39,475, the convertible cost $45,900, and the “entry-level” hardtop model was only $38,900.
The pricing of the new C5 Corvettes was just right. Even better, the base price had only gone up $1,980 since the car’s 1997 launch. Although only 9,752 Corvettes were sold during the abbreviated ’97 model year, sales in ’98 rocketed to 31,084. In 2000, there were 33,682 Corvettes sold. Clearly, the word was out that the new Corvette was better than ever, without all of the previous car’s bad manners.
Spotting a new ‘00 Corvette was easy. Most noticeable were new 5-spoke mag-style forged aluminum wheels, which were standard on all Vettes. The only other external change was the elimination of the passenger-side door lock. When the new Passive Keyless Entry system replaced the previous Active Keyless Entry system, the second lock was deemed unnecessary.
There was a bit of confusion about the “standard” wheels. Initially, they were made from forged aluminum and had a flow-formed rim. A polished version of the wheel was also offered as an $895 option. Then, in January 2000, Chevrolet announced that the new
standard wheel would be painted silver. This would allow the supplier to increase production of the polished version. Also announced was a price reduction for the optional magnesium wheels—from $3,000 to $2,000.
Other minor improvements included a revised shifter for better gear location and selection, improved hatch seals to eliminate water leakage, revised dual-zone air-conditioning calibrations, and more-durable seat material. Two new colors were also added to the palette - Millennium Yellow and Dark Bowling Green Metallic. The new hues were a $500 option, the extra cost being attributable to a special process of applying tinted clearcoat.
Proving it was possible to have high performance while still being friendly to the environment, the ‘00 Vette met the EPA’s Low Emissions Vehicle (LEV) standard. And for customers who wanted that extra edge on the track, the $350 Z51 Performance Handling Package got slightly larger stabilized bars and recalibrated shock valving. The changes didn’t produce a stiffer ride, but they did improve handling by increasing roll stiffness.
What an extraordinary time for Corvettes. The cars were faster, quicker, more economical, and handled better than ever—traits that made the cars popular with enthusiast and aut jmournalists alike. The car’s success even convinced Chevrolet to launch a factory-backed Corvette racing team, with Le Mans in its sites. Could it get much better?
Even though it looked like Chevrolet had taken a breather, behind the scenes engineers were sorting out the next Corvette legend - the Z06. - K. Scott Teeters