Corvette owners are always looking to make their machines stand out from the masses. There are plenty of body pieces to choose from, of course—some that look killer, and some that should just be killed. But the best body mods add both physical beauty and the potential for functional improvements—like big fenders and quarters. And if you’re a 1997-’04 Corvette owner wanting that sexy, widebody look that’ll fit big rims and tires, Lewis Five Motorsports has a solution.
Michigan-based Lewis Five is headed by Scott and Sue Lewis, who build a variety of C5 body parts, from brake ducts to entire body kits. So we sent intrepid shooter Robert McGaffin over to cover a C5 fenders and quarters installation. These parts transformed this Z06 from a slim-hipped stocker to a wide, curvy machine—and gave it the ability to fit wide rubber for lots of autocross and road racing fun.
Our currently underpowered Z’s new swagger will come thanks to Lewis Five Motorsports’ C5 L-5 Front Flared Fenders ($899/pair) and L-5 R Flared Quarters ($699/pair). Note that Lewis Five’s L-5 front fenders only come in one version, which add 0.75 inches up front; but there are three versions of the quarters to choose from:
L-5 Rear Flared Quarters are for street use—they add 2 inches per side and retain stock features like the fuel door and marker lights. They run $899/pair.
L-5 R-SV Flared Quarters are race panels in a street configuration—they add 1.25 inches per side and also retain the fuel door and marker lights. They cost $899/pair.
L-5 R Flared Quarters are the units we’re installing here. They also add 1.25 inches per side, but have the option of removing the fuel door and marker lights if you like. Base cost is $699/pair.
It’s nice to have options, especially ones that don’t require mini-tubbing! Now let’s start wrenching.
Front Fender Install
01. C5 front fenders are no slouch when it comes to fitting big tires—the Z06 wears 265mm rollers on 17-inch rims. But tire and wheel size is like your old lady’s bra size—bigger is always better. Speaking of, each L-5 Front Fender is 0.75-inch wider than a stock Vette’s fender, leaving plenty of room for bigger front wheels and tires.
02. The Lewis Five crew starts removal at the top of the stock fender. To remove a C5 fender, you’ll need to separate it from the fender liner, the rocker panel and the filler/framerail. There are lots of little bolts/screws and some tight squeezes, so 1/4-inch, 7mm and 10mm sockets and open-end/ratcheting wrenches come in handy.
03. Dropping down to the Vette’s front wheelwell, there are several bolts that help mate the inner fender liner to the actual fender. They’re promptly removed.
04. Now we hit the floor to remove the bolt holding the fender to the rocker panel. Note that while we’re omitting these shots for brevity’s sake, the undercar filler panel-to-framerail, filler-to-inner fender liner and filler-to-fascia bolts must also be removed to get the front and rear filler panels out.
05. Another difficult area is at the front of the car where 10mm and 7mm nuts and bolts connect the front of the fender to the car’s bracing. FYI, removing that side’s headlight is suggested for additional wrench clearance during this step—ours is already out, but you can turn your headlights on to raise them, which can give just enough room to ratchet-wrench the two top bolts out. This bolt is much easier to remove!
06. And with all fasteners removed, we lifted the front of the fender, then slightly pulled outward to clear the two top mounting nuts. Voila, the factory fender is off!
07. The new L-5 Flared Fender is dropped into place and all the fasteners are reinstalled—first loose, then after slight adjustments to the various fender gaps, they’re tightened down.
08. While the stance of our engine-less Z is off, you can still see how much extra wheel/tire room the L-5 Flared Fender gives.
Rear Quarter Install
To pull the quarter-panel, you need to remove bolts/screws in the rear hatch, inside the doorjamb, and undo some hidden ones behind the taillight—it’s a bit tricky on those inside ones.
FYI, if you own a Fixed Roof Coupe this process is a bit different: its top is glued over some hidden screws and you’ll break the screw tabs off during quarter removal. While a little glue during installation fixes it, it’s still a pain. Thankfully, later Z06s like ours have notched bolt slots, which makes this easier—and regular C5s have no such difficulties.
09. Corvette Z06 quarters house 295mm rubber on 18-inch rims, an amazing width for an early aughts sports car. However, each L-5 R Flared Quarter is a full 1.25 inches wider than the stocker, and adds a sexy bulge to your car’s posterior.
10. To begin removal of the stock quarter-panel, we grabbed the sockets/wrenches and some Torx bits, and opened the rear hatch. We removed the visible bolts along the top, which hold the quarter to the inner fender.
11. Also, there are a few fasteners inside the doorjamb that need to be removed as well.
12. This shot shows a unique feature of changing C5 quarter-panels: the outside taillight must be removed for you to gain access to the hidden bolts holding the quarter-panel.
13. There are also a few that need to be removed from the rear wheelwell—you can remove the wheel if you want more room here.
14. Once all the fasteners are removed, you’ll need to persuade the rear quarter a little, but then you should be able to pull it off.
15. We grabbed the bulging Lewis Five rear quarter, shifted it into place on our Z, and bolted it into place in the reverse order that the stocker came off.
16. And once all final adjustments are made, all of the bolts are tightened down.
17. With an additional 1.25 inches per side in the rear, the Lewis Five fenders and quarters make a subtle—yet very functional—improvement to a C5 Corvette’s looks.
18. Now, with a little creative tire/wheel fitment, you can run 18+ inch rims with near-295mm tires in the front, and 18+ inch rims with 11-inch widths and 325mm-plus tires in the back. That’s a killer package if we’ve ever seen one!