1999 - The Fixed Roof Coupe (FRC) debuts as a decontented and more "hardcore" model for autocrossers and open-track enthusiasts. Borrowing some bracing and body panels from the convertible, the rugged look of the FRC draws inspiration mostly from racers as it is only available with the manual transmission and 3.42 gears. For all models (Coupe, Convertible and FRC), a new PCM arrives with enhanced features and greater processor power while the fuel system goes to a returnless type. Heads Up Display comes to the party while a new power telescoping steering column tags along. Magnetic Red is new while Aztec Gold and Medium Purple Pearl are out. Our suggestion? Get an FRC and keep the wheels on it so everyone knows it a '99.
2000 - New forged wheels in a five-spoke design retain the same dimensions as the previous 1997-1999 "wagon" wheels (17x8.5 front, 18x9.5 rear.) To celebrate the defeat of the Y2K bug, Chevy releases Millennium Yellow and all models are now LEV (low emissions vehicle) compliant. New tailpipe finishers and Dark Bowling Green Metallic, and the aforementioned Millennium Yellow, debut. A two-tone Torch Red interior option adds some much-needed flair to the otherwise stark black interior. An FRC is the hot ticket for any enthusiast and this model year incorporates most of the goodies you'd want for the best price.
2001 - The highly anticipated ZO6 arrives with 385 horsepower. The engine is dubbed the LS6 with new 243 cylinder heads, an engine block modified for high-rpm efficiency, and a revised intake manifold for more power. A T56 with a wider gear ratio is used specifically for the new top model, as are thinner front and rear windows, lighter base seats, and other weight-saving measures for this special model. Available only in manual transmission, ZO6s get wider wheels, tires, FE4 suspension, and a new second-generation Active Handling system. The base C5 benefits from the ZO6's technology and horsepower goes up to an even 350 thanks to the LS6 intake manifold. The new Active Handling system is standard on all C5s, allowing users to enter a Competition mode, which allows for more slip before the stability system intervenes. Speedway White comes on board as Arctic White takes a bow while Quicksilver makes its debut, replacing Sebring Silver. A Speedway White ZO6 tickles our rev limiter the most.
2002 - Electron Blue replaces Navy and a CD player is now standard on all models while the Magnesium wheels are no longer offered. ZO6s get a larger front anti-sway bar, new rear dampers, and a stiffened rear leaf spring for its FE4 suspension, a revised camshaft profile, and other subtle changes inside the LS6 help it make 405 horsepower in the ZO6 for its sophomore year. Fender badges are adjusted accordingly and HUD is standard on the baddest C5 yet. Production was still strong and without any special editions, more ZO6s are cranked out to meet demand.
2003 - A 50th Anniversary Special Edition debuts with Anniversary Red paint, badging, and Champagne wheels to celebrate the Corvette's 50th anniversary. All non-ZO6 Corvettes can be had with Magnetic Ride Control, which is an innovative damper system that features Magneto-Rheological fluid in the shocks that can instantly alter viscosity thanks to a coil located within each piston head. New standard equipment include foglamps, sport seats, a power passenger seat, dual zone HVAC, and a parcel net in Coupe and Convertible models. Pewter is dropped and Spiral Gray Metallic's arrival round out the changes as rumors of the C6 linger. If we were to buy a convertible, the Anniversary Edition with MRC and an Auto is the way to go.
2004 - The C5 enters its final year as news of the C6 takes over the airwaves. To celebrate its success, a Commemorative Edition is released with LeMans Blue paint and is available on all body styles. On the CE ZO6s, polished wheels, a carbon-fiber hood, and C5-R-style stripes were added. In total, over 248,000 C5s from 1997-2004 were produced, making the odds very favorable for first-time Corvette buyers to sample supercar performance made in motoring heaven.