Bottom feeder is usually a pejorative term, but certainly not when it's used in the context of Corvettes. Starting with the '68 models, a portion of the outside air for cooling the radiator was picked up from beneath the front bumper and fascia to supplement the modest quantity of air that came through the dual grille openings. C4s and C5s, with their blanked-off front fascias, pick up all of their outside air for both cooling and induction from a sizable opening in the underside of the bumper cover.
The downside of being an automotive bottom feeder is that just about any debris that can be found on a public thoroughfare or race track-dirt, leaves, papers, plastic bags and sheets, and small road kill-can, and often will get propelled through that opening where it can block vital airflow to the radiator. You wouldn't believe the variety and quantity of trash that I fished out of my pewter '00 coupe's nose after my recent Funfest road trip, unless you've gone on your own cleaning expedition on a C4 or C5.
Needless to say, I was very interested when Adjure's Joe Phillipson offered to bring one of their new C5 Clean Shields along when we performed our LED taillight conversion a few weeks ago (see "LED Astray" in the Apr. '04 issue) at the Primedia Tech Center in Southern California. After we finished off the LED install, we procured the center's lift, raised the car skyward, and in less than 10 minutes, had fitted the Clean Shield into the coupe's gaping maw.
I can't say with any certainty what the Shield has kept out of the underside air inlet, but after seeing (and cleaning out) the detritus that had amassed from several thousand miles of highway running in late September, I'm positive that there will never be another massive mess like that in my car. And there appears to be no effect whatsoever on the coupe's performance (induction) or operating temperatures. For an investment of around $100 and 10 minutes, the Clean Shield is indeed cheap insurance for a C5.