Pewter Popups: 1999 Chevrolet Corvette 6-Speed Coupe – Sold?
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June 24, 2023, Update – We confirmed the listing for this “Classifind” expired, so with no replacement found, we’re assuming this ride is “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.
May 15, 2023 Update – The seller replaced their expiring listing with a fresh Craigslist ad. While the pictures and description remain similar, the seller reduced their asking price from $18,900 to $15,900.
“Cannibalization” in marketing refers to when a company’s brand steals sales and market share from another product produced by the same firm. In the collector car world, we are starting to see this phenomenon between C4 (fourth generation produced between 1984 and 1996) and C5 (fifth generation produced between 1997 and 2004) Corvettes. When the C5 Corvette launched in 1997, it was a much roomier and better-built car than the C4 it replaced. While we have watched prices for C4 Corvettes (particularly the much-improved 1992 to 1996 versions) rise recently, breaking the $20,000 mark is a tough sell as C5 Corvettes hit the bottom of their depreciation curve.
A prime example is this Light Pewter over Black 1999 Corvette Coupe we spotted for sale in April 2023 on Craigslist in Centerbrook, Connecticut (Hartford) for $18,900. Despite having nearly 95K miles, this 6-Speed-equipped coupe features a great exterior color, two wheels, and several easily-reversible performance modifications should the buyer return the car to its original condition. Contrast that car to a highly detailed 1994 Red over Black 1994 Corvette Coupe for sale simultaneously with less than 25K original miles offered for $20,000. We would pick the Light Pewter C5 example because it offers a virtually bulletproof LS motor capable of high-twenties fuel economy in a much roomier, less squeak-prone cabin. We’ll be curious to see how everyone weighs in on this.
Currently offered for $15,900 (the original ask was $18,900), Classic.com, the analytics and search engine for the collector car market, confirms the ask is slightly below the one-year rolling average of this guide’s summary for 1999 Corvettes of all body styles and powertrains. By clicking on the green dots in the graph below, you can navigate to each comparable car sold as a way to help you evaluate the price of the C5 Coupe featured here:
As a second data point, the e-copy version of the 2023 Old Cars Price Guide Big Book reveals the seller’s ask falls between this guide’s #2 Very Good” estimate of $14,000 and its #1 “Excellent” appraisal of $20,000.
The fifth-generation Corvette almost never made it to production. Originally intended to debut for the Corvette’s 40th anniversary in 1993, financial problems and internal senior management turmoil delayed the car’s launch until January 1997 at the Detroit North American International Auto Show. The C5 Corvette featured the use of a hydroformed box frame design, offering vastly improved structural rigidity over the car it replaced. To improve handling, Corvette engineers took an idea from the Porsche 928 playbook when they developed a rear-mounted transaxle connected via a torque tube to the car’s new LS1 V8. The result was a 50/50 weight distribution front-to-rear, which makes the C5 Corvette a very balanced car to drive at its limits. While the new LS1 V8 developed 345 horsepower, its flat torque curve helped the car achieve 28 miles per gallon on the EPA’s highway loop.
Aside from cosmetic differences (new wheel styles, paint colors, pace car/commemorative editions in 1998, 2003, and 2004, etc.), engine power increase, and new offerings for optional equipment, there were few fundamental changes from one model year to the next within the production run of the C5. The C5 was also the first Corvette to incorporate a drive-by-wire throttle; and variable-effort steering, whereby the assist level of the power steering is varied according to vehicle speed (more at lower speeds, less at higher speeds). Also noteworthy is the fact the C5 generation was the first model to adopt the parallel or ‘tandem’ windshield wiper configuration, abandoning the opposed configuration that was used on every previous Corvette model since the first in 1953.
To say the C5 Corvette’s body was still made of fiberglass is a bit of a stretch. The C5’s body now relied on Sheet Molded Composite (“SMC”) panels. SMC is a type of fiberglass that is blended and bonded with resins that provide 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 used in the C5’s suspension are much lighter, sit much lower than typical coil springs, and help provide the C5 with smooth ride characteristics and low ride height. The C5 was the last Corvette (and frankly, the last car) to offer Pop-Up headlamps.
The MotorWeek Retro Review YouTube Channel features this 1997 road test of the then-new C5 Corvette:
At first blush, the 95K miles this Corvette traveled in 24 years may seem like a lot. However, quick math reveals that’s an average of just under 4,000 miles annually. The pictures and detailed description reveal a well-maintained C5 Corvette that features several tasteful modifications. The Achilles Heel with these otherwise very reliable C5 Corvettes is the Electronic Brake Control Module (“EBCM”) which can trigger dashboard warning lights. Aftermarket fixes now exist, so our first question for the seller would be about the EBCM’s history on this C5.
If you are serious about buying this Corvette, you can start the conversation by using the contact information the seller provides in their Craigslist ad. When you connect, please remember to mention you saw their C5 featured here on GuysWithRides.com. Good luck with the purchase!
Here’s the seller’s description:
C4 or C5: Which Corvette would you buy for around $20,000? Please comment below and let us know!