Pewter Performance: 2000 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible – SOLD!

by | Sep 2021 | Craigslist ClassiFINDS, Sports Car Saturday

October 16, 2021 Update – We confirmed the seller of this “Classifind” deleted their listing, so we’re now able to call this one “SOLD!” While this one got away, please reach out either by email or call us directly if you’d like to be informed when we come across something similar.

The C5 Corvette, unlike any generation before it, marked the beginning of a much more user-friendly and comfortable car. With better quality control and an LS engine that’s proven itself to be very robust, it’s becoming very common to find very high-mileage C5 as owners used them as daily drivers.  A great example is this very clean, 106K mile 2000 Corvette convertible originally listed in October 2021 on Craigslist in Powhatan, Maryland (Baltimore). Finished Light Pewter both inside and out, this Corvette features a six-speed manual and a number of engine and handling upgrades.  Currently offered for $16,500, comparing that price against the Hagerty Insurance Online Valuation Tool confirms the private seller has their C5 priced between this guide’s #4 “Fair” (Daily Driver) estimate of $10,800 and its #2 “Good” appraisal of $20,400.

The Corvette C5 wasn’t supposed to happen.  By 1992 the now eight-year-old C4 Corvette was selling poorly and with GM not doing very well as a whole, funding and resources for that car’s badly needed replacement ended up getting redirected to higher volume endeavors.  It took the entrepreneurial spirit of true car guys Joe Spielman, Russ McLean, and Jim Perkins to work the internal GM system with possible career-ending creative funding to build the C5 prototype with its hydroformed steel frame and rear-mounted transaxle hidden under a C4 body.  Providing senior leaders with convincing rides in that prototype combined with passionate presentations of why GM had to keep Corvette going, albeit more profitably, convinced GM’s North American Strategic Board (“NASB”) to give the green light for the C5 program in 1994 to enter production for the 1997 model year.  Produced from 1997 through 2004, the C5 Corvette was a major move forward the brand in terms of performance, noise, vibration, and harshness (“NVH”), handling, and passenger comfort.  The investment paid off as the C5 Corvette would up being one GM’s few brights spots during that period.

The C5 Corvette featured a hydroformed box frame, a design that offered an improved structural platform, especially for a convertible body style. Engineers relocated the transmission to above the rear axle line to form an integrated, rear-mounted transaxle assembly to improve handling and increase interior space. Connected to the all-new LS1 engine via a torque tube, the engine/transmission arrangement enabled a 50-50% front-rear weight distribution. The now-legendary LS1 engine initially produced 345 horsepower that was now mated to Borg-Warner T-56 6-speed to provide a 175 mile per hour top speed. Relative to the C4, the new platform and structural design substantially reduced squeaks and rattles.

The C5 Corvette launched in 1997 with only a Targa-topped coupe.  The model year 1998 saw the introduction of the convertible version (the first Corvette to offer a trunk since 1962) in the fall followed by the launch of the Fixed Roof Coupe (“FRC”) in the spring. The LS1-powered C5 Corvette could return excellent fuel economy when the driver kept their right foot off the gas.  In fact, the manual-equipped car is capable of achieving nearly 30 miles per gallon on the highway.  However, when fuel economy didn’t matter to the driver, the C5 Corvette achieved a very respectable 0-60 time of 4.5 seconds and could do the standing quarter-mile in the low 13s.

Unlike its traditional fiberglass-bodied predecessors, the C5’s modular body panels use a lightweight Sheet Molded Composite (“SMC”), a type of fiberglass that is blended and bonded with plastics. SMC provides better protection against direct blows because it is very stiff and will not dent. The floorboards on the C5 are a composite consisting of SMC with balsa wood in the middle. Balsa wood was chosen for its stiffness, lightweight, and sound absorption qualities. The all-aluminum LS1 overhead valve engine is much lighter than its bi-metal (cast-iron block, aluminum heads) predecessor, the LT1, and provides for a much lower hood line when compared to an overhead cam design of relative displacement. The composite leaf springs are much lighter and sit much lower than typical coil springs and help provide the C5 with its smooth ride characteristics and low ride height.

The West Coast Corvette YouTube Channel provides a link to Chevrolet’s 1997 C5 Corvette launch commercial:

With an aftermarket intake and a modified Borla cat-back exhaust system, potential buyers need to really take this Corvette for a thorough test drive to ensure they like the sound of this car versus the stock setup. Otherwise, based upon the seller’s description, this appears to be a nicely maintained example.

Here’s the seller’s description:

“Excellent condition, beautiful-looking, 2000 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible. This car has a unique look with its light pewter metallic colored exterior paint and interior. There are no dents, dings, or chips. The interior is in excellent shape. There are no broken plastic parts and the seats have no rips or tears. All electronics work properly and there are no dash warning lights. The tires have good tread.

This car has many upgrades over the base model including, all power driver and passenger seats, traction control active handling system, tilt and telescoping steering wheel, polished aluminum wheels, and of course the most important option: a six-speed manual transmission.

The original engine has been upgraded from the stock 5.7 L to include performance heads, cam, valves, lifters, etc. to the tune of over $10,000, and built by a reputable automotive performance shop. Speaking of tone, the exhaust system includes headers and upgraded mid-pipe and a Borla cat-back exhaust and a cold-air intake, all of which give this car a real growl at higher rpms. The suspension has been upgraded with Z06 shocks all the way round and the car handles like it is on rails. This power train is strong, with no leaks or strange noises. The car has 106,650 miles and regular maintenance has been performed.

The convertible top is in good condition and it takes only a minute to put it down. Since the convertible top is manual, there is plenty of storage space in the trunk … enough to hold two sets of golf clubs and a couple travel bags. The Bose sound system is awesome and has plenty of power to overcome wind noise at 70 mph with the top down.

Jump in and drive it across the country. I do not think you will have any issues, but you will have an excellent experience. This car is reliable and really fun to drive.

This car is located near Richmond, VA. I can be reached on my landline at eight zero four five nine eight six six zero one if you have any questions.​”

Show or go: what would you do with this C5 Corvette Convertible?  Comment below and let us know!


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