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My Perfect Corvette, Thougts and opinions welcome...

28Again

Active member
Joined
Oct 11, 2012
Messages
26
Location
Hollister, CA
Corvette
1988 35th Anniversary
I currently have a 1988 35[SUP]th[/SUP] Anniversary Edition Coupe. It’s the second one I’ve owned, as I am partial to White cars with Black accents. In my old industry (My wife and I once owned a Limo Company), we called this look a Tuxedo. White enough to be sleek and sexy, but Black enough to do funerals. I’m out of the Limo industry (thank you economy) but still can’t shake the Tuxedo look. I always wanted a Corvette Convertible, but I just couldn’t pass up the White on White on White look of the 35[SUP]th[/SUP] Anniversary Coupe. So I’ve owned two of them (the full story can be read in my New Member Introduction). But I’m 52 now, and the old C4 just doesn’t have the ride quality, the safety features (read: Air Bags), or the technology (although I’ll miss the digital dash) that the newer Corvettes have. So I’ve decided to upgrade. My buddy, and my son, both like the C6, but I truly prefer the wider stance and look of the C5. They both quote the “plastic dash” issues that many C5 hater’s tout, but I personally think the C6 has a more plasticized interior look than the C5’s do.

So my perfect Corvette seems to require the following criteria:

Body (Coupe vs. Convertible vs. FRC)
I just don’t like the idea of a Fixed Roof. Perhaps if I was going to track the car or something, but really, a Corvette is meant to show the sky in one form or another. I was happy with my C4 Coupe, especially with the Black Targa band that set off the dark tinted windows and hatch glass. I did however purchase an aftermarket gadget that allowed me to leave the hatch glass cracked open an inch or two and let the air flow through instead of buffeting in the interior and pulsing your eardrums. That was a blessing. But after reading many threads of Topless Coupe vs. Top Down Convertibles, I think I have decided that I’d like that Convertible I always dreamed of. Besides, the C5 doesn’t use a glass-only hatch anymore and I think it would look goofy with the “trunk” ajar, just to avoid the buffeting.

Money no object thoughts: I would really like to have a removable hard top for my Convertible. There is one available through smoothline that looks appealing. They have one that is covered in Black Vinyl that would go nice with a White car, but I was thinking of taking it a bit further. If the cost was not so high, I would order one with the small rear window and have it covered in Black Canvas (including the two seams that the Vinyl top has). In my Limo life, I loved the Tuxedo look when done in Canvas instead of Vinyl. Aside from the visual appeal, I’d like to have a removable hard top for the winter months (mostly rain) and the added comfort and quietness that it would provide over the rag top.

Interior:
Light Grey. I’ve owned nearly a dozen White vehicles, from Corvette’s to Chevy Tahoe’s to Ford F-350’s to Stretch Limousines, and I’ve had Black interiors and Tan interiors, but I’ve always wanted a Grey interior (sorry the other choice available – Red, would make me barf). I’ve only seen one White with Light Grey for sale in the last few months and it was a Coupe. I’m finding that my color choice is very rare indeed. But I know it’s out there, and I’m in no hurry.

With respect to the stereo, I do have some thoughts. In other vehicles I have owned I have spent thousands of dollars in Amps, Speakers, Tuners, Decks, etc… In fact I was a very early adopter of the Compact Disc and installed one of the first Sony Car Stereo CD Players in my wife’s Thunderbird, with a set of Infinity separates and an AlphaSonic amp that was great. But in My Perfect Corvette, I think I’ll be happy with the factory CD player for now. In fact, I’m actually looking forward to having the SCV (Speed Compensated Volume) again. I had this in my 1997 Chevy Tahoe and when the oversized tires got up to speed, the volume would compensate automatically for the additional road noise. I really liked that. Besides, nowadays I’m usually listening to “Wait-Wait-Don’t-Tell-Me” or “Marketplace” on NPR anyway (must be my 52 year old butt again).

Suspension:
Leave it alone. I am very interested in the Magnetic Selective Ride Suspension. I have read some great reviews and articles about it, and in truth, my butt is 52 years old now and I have been spoiled by my Limo experiences. I understand the benefits of a firm suspension, and I comprehend the increased cornering ability gained by lowering the Center of Gravity, but really… I don’t expect to be racing around the local canyons like I did in my 1978 Bandit TransAm as a teen. When I was growing up, my father bought a new Lincoln Town Car every other year, and between that and my Limo business, I’ve grown to know the comfort of driving around in your very own sofa. So I don’t expect to lower my C5 and I want the suspension to function as the original designers intended. Besides, I would like to get into my driveway without dragging (I have to back my current C4 in to prevent doing so now) and did I mention my 52 year old butt?

Tires & Wheels:
I’m not really a fan of huge diameter rims with ultra low profile, zero sidewall, tires (and I’m not interested in feeling every cigarette butt I run over). I’m sure I would be quite happy with the factory wheels that are available on the C5. That being said… (here is where I expect some moans and groans)… I’d like to take a set of the early C5 Wagon Wheels and have them powder coated white, leaving a small polished lip (it helps to hide the inevitable curb-rash). I know these dated wheels have taken abuse from the public, and I know it would make a later C5 look like an early C5, but I just like the shape of the wheels, and I’m sure that with the spokes in White, it would tie things together just like the White wheels on both of my 35[SUP]th[/SUP] Anniversary cars. And yes, I understand the brake dust thing. I’ve already dealt with that on both my C4’s.

Money no object thoughts: OK, I suppose if the cost was not so prohibitive, I would love to put some really fat momma’s on the rear. Some 12 inch wide C6 Grand Sport wheels, with the spokes powder coated in White and the rim left polished, and some big ol’ fat tires strapped on them. But of course this would require some rear fender or even tub modification. And I’m not sure I’ll live long enough to figure out the C5/C6 offset and fitment issues that would be involved. But I’m sure it would look awesome.

Transmission:
Automatic. Yeah I know, the six speed manual is a gas, but honestly, I just want two pedals in My Perfect Corvette, one that makes things go so fast my head swells, and one that makes it stop so fast my socks roll down. I’ve had my share of manual transmission cars, and I’ve had modified automatics that chirped every time the car shifted into second gear. But in My Perfect Corvette, I just want to cruise. I don’t want to deal with shifting up and down in traffic, and I don’t want to concern myself with things like clutch wear, so I believe I’d prefer the automatic. Besides, I need my right hand to be able to hold my wife’s left hand as we cruise out to the coast for a glass of wine at sunset.

Money no object thoughts: OK, this is where the C6 has it over the C5, in my opinion. I’d love to have an automatic with the paddle shifter. My smart car (yes, I have a smart car – here comes the moans and groans again), has the paddles and I get a kick out of using them over a mountain pass or in and out of the curves. If it were possible to have the paddle shifters in my next C5, I’d be interested in doing that.

Geeky Stuff:
You know, there is one more thing I’ve given some thought to for My Perfect Corvette, and it probably should fall under a “money no object” heading, but I’m wondering if anyone has done this… Shaved door handles. I know it’s really popular in the Hot-Rod world, but I just think the idea of having a door pop-open to me just because I reached for it, is really cool. I’ve heard it can be a real nightmare when your battery goes dead, but hey, that’s what those empty storage bins in the trunk are for. Even in my Limo’s we had a second battery (literally a riding lawnmower battery) that was just enough to start the Limo when we ran the battery dead while sitting in the dark parking lot listening to the radio while waiting for our clients to finish dinner. I’m sure with a battery isolator and some proper wiring I can fend off most of the dead battery nightmares enough to support a door opening latch mechanism or the likes. Has anyone out there filled in their C5 door handles and gone this route? Just wondering.

Well, I've rattled on longe enough, and I’m sure there are a hundred other criteria that I haven’t yet opened for discussion here, and if you have any personal experiences that might help me make My Perfect Corvette more… well, Perfect, please feel free to share them.

Thanx,
Jim
 
Joined
Mar 27, 2003
Messages
3,654
Location
Mustang, OK
Corvette
'13 427 60th vert - CTS V Wagon(4-door Vette)
My 2 cents and maybe not worth that much:

Convertible – I’m with you on the convertible. The C6 power top is a wonderful thing. I don’t remember the C5 as having a power top. A removable hard top just seems to get in the way to me and might only be worth it if I intended to race my ragtop Vette and only if the removal hardtop gave it some advantage.

Interior – finding the light gray interior in a white Vette is going to be tough as you already noted. My wife and I both had white C4s but with black interiors. Our current C6 is white but has the dark blue and black interior. Btw, the light gray interior shows dirt faster.

Suspension – I like the MagRide cars also. Our last C5 had it and all our C6s have had it and my Cadillac has it. In the C5, MagRide Tour provided a very compliant suspension while Sport pushed it closer to the Z51 ride. It is nice to be able to switch between the modes rather than be stuck with only one. MagRide is an expensive option and, I hear, expensive when it needs repair. None of my MagRide cars has ever needed in work though. MagRide was only available on the 2003 and 2004 C5s. All the 50[SUP]th[/SUP] anny cars got MagRide but that’s a red car.

Dragging and the driveway – The C5 will not be any better than the C4 as far as dragging the air dam. Like the C4, you do not want to remove the air dam from a C5 because it will affect the cooling.

Tires and Wheels are your call – do as you like.

Transmission – you call also. Paddle shifters will require a C6 though.

Doors – if you got the money, think about lambo style doors and fill the door handles if you like.
 
Joined
May 29, 2002
Messages
8,603
Location
Missoura Ozarks
Corvette
Carbon Flash CE 4LT GS Roadster

28Again

Active member
Joined
Oct 11, 2012
Messages
26
Location
Hollister, CA
Corvette
1988 35th Anniversary
My 2 cents and maybe not worth that much:

Convertible – I’m with you on the convertible. The C6 power top is a wonderful thing. I don’t remember the C5 as having a power top. A removable hard top just seems to get in the way to me and might only be worth it if I intended to race my ragtop Vette and only if the removal hardtop gave it some advantage.

Interior – finding the light gray interior in a white Vette is going to be tough as you already noted. My wife and I both had white C4s but with black interiors. Our current C6 is white but has the dark blue and black interior. Btw, the light gray interior shows dirt faster.

Suspension – I like the MagRide cars also. Our last C5 had it and all our C6s have had it and my Cadillac has it. In the C5, MagRide Tour provided a very compliant suspension while Sport pushed it closer to the Z51 ride. It is nice to be able to switch between the modes rather than be stuck with only one. MagRide is an expensive option and, I hear, expensive when it needs repair. None of my MagRide cars has ever needed in work though. MagRide was only available on the 2003 and 2004 C5s. All the 50[SUP]th[/SUP] anny cars got MagRide but that’s a red car.

Dragging and the driveway – The C5 will not be any better than the C4 as far as dragging the air dam. Like the C4, you do not want to remove the air dam from a C5 because it will affect the cooling.

Tires and Wheels are your call – do as you like.

Transmission – you call also. Paddle shifters will require a C6 though.

Doors – if you got the money, think about lambo style doors and fill the door handles if you like.

Thanx for the information and opinions.
I'm not to concerned about power vs. manual top operation. There is not much to that top anyway. My first car was a 1969 Mustang Convertible, and although it had a power top, the operation usually took a auto/manual combination approach anyway. I remember more than once sopping up red hydraulic fluid from the trunk of the car when a pressure line blew.
I understand about the MagRide and I was hoping for an 03 or 04 anyway, so that's what I'm keeping my eye out for.
I like the Anniversary badging on the 03 too.
Shaving the handles will be one thing, but Lambo is not really my style.

What amazes me mostly is how many REALLY low mile C5's there are out there. I just have to wait until all the planets line up and there is one that will fit my needs and have my wants.

Jim
 
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Dadman1950

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 7, 2012
Messages
116
Location
gold canyon, az & michigan
Corvette
2012 GS Vert 2000 C5 FRC Pewter
like so many others on here i have owned a C4, C5, and C6. IMHO i would rate them like this
Overall Performance C6 C5 C4
Long Distance Driving C6 C5 C4
Speed C6 C5 C4
Twisty Turny Roads C5 C6 C4
Fun to Drive C5 C6 C4
Quality C6 C5 C4
Styling C5 C6 C4
I still own the C5 and C6. the C5 is a 2000 Fixed Roof Coupe (which IMHO is the best looking Corvette ever) The C6 is just an awesume car in many respects but I am partial to the C5. I love that car! If it were me I would either wait for the C7 and buy one of those or buy the C5. Keep in mind when the C7's debut the prices of nice C6's will drop.
Again these are just my thoughts and I know my opinion of the C5 FRC is controversial.
 

Toms007

Moderator
Joined
Sep 24, 2004
Messages
6,381
Location
Southwest Kansas
Corvette
2007 Atomic Orange Coupe
I commented in your intro thread. And I think you've got your wants list set. I too like the white exterior, but unlike you, I love the torch red interior. I looked for a white C5 with torch red (as that is what my 94 was and I loved that look), but didn't find too many. Anyway, I'm with you on the non black interior. The light gray is a nice combo (I just bought an 09 Cadillac CTS white pearl with the gray interior). My 94 had the Adjustable suspension (different technology from the mag ride) and what I found is they worked pretty good, but if you have a problem, it's a fairly expensive fix. The Bose stereo is very adequate and I like mine just fine. I removed my CD changer and added support for my Ipod in it's place. This gave me more storage room in the rear compartment.

The wife and I have made several fairly long trips in our Corvettes, both the 94 and the 01. We have found them to be very comfortable road cars...maybe I'll go for a ride today. :chuckle
 

28Again

Active member
Joined
Oct 11, 2012
Messages
26
Location
Hollister, CA
Corvette
1988 35th Anniversary
Found one...

Spotted one on eBay this morning (not sure if I'm allowed to put a link here, so I'll just say search for "150924743197" if you care to give it a preview for me).

2001, White, Grey Interior, 80K miles, every option I wanted including no Bodyside Mouldings (I just don't like the stick-on look of those). It's got HUD, it's got Single CD plus the changer, it's got the 3-way suspension adjustment (not the MagRide of course, but a good compromise), it's got the Black Top, and someone (there were 4 previous owners) has put the Z06 Brake Vents on the side as well.

Not real happy about the 80K miles, or the 4 previous owners, and I really wanted an 03 or 04, but he's asking $16,900.00 which seems pretty reasonable, and leaves me plenty of room for possible repairs or modifications to suit.

It's really close to being the perfect start of My Perfect Corvette.

Any thoughts from anyone?
Any red flags I'm not seeing?

Jim
 

GS Diva

Moderator,
Joined
Nov 1, 2000
Messages
2,309
Location
Conway, SC
Corvette
2016 Daytona Sunrise Orange Metallic Z06
I think you are rushing into buying a convertible. There are thousands of Corvettes out there for sale. Don't rush into something. You had wanted a later C5, which is a good choice. I would focus on that rather than buying a high mileage early C5. I also would not buy something I couldn't sit in, touch, drive, on and on.

Believe me, I've had Corvettes for many years and have become caught up in the quest for another one more than once. I've also bought more than one that I shouldn't have, all because I was caught up in the pursuit!

Take your time, do your research...

Elaine
 

GS Diva

Moderator,
Joined
Nov 1, 2000
Messages
2,309
Location
Conway, SC
Corvette
2016 Daytona Sunrise Orange Metallic Z06
So patience is the word here, or regret might be the outcome.
Good advice.
Thanx,
Jim

That could very well be the case! ;)

Elaine

P.S. I do sell Corvettes so if there's any specifics you would like to know, throw them out. I'll try to answer.
 

Dadman1950

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 7, 2012
Messages
116
Location
gold canyon, az & michigan
Corvette
2012 GS Vert 2000 C5 FRC Pewter
It looks like a nice well kept car but i have been suprized before with pics. it seems that all cars look good in pictures. I would not let the 80K bother you as far as the engine goes. The LS1 is almost bulletproof and it is very common to see these engines get 120 to 150K. I would not hesitiate to buy an 80K LS1 if the maintenance records were with the car which in many cases with Corvettes they are. (I'm saying this but none of my corvettes has over 15K on them but it is true about the LS1) Without the maintenance records I'd be careful. I know every one has their own preferences and if you are looking for a nice comfortable corvette then an automatic with the "soft ride suspension" fills the bill. if you want to really experience the road and the car i'd still look for a 6 speed with the performance suspension but if you went that way then you need to be a little more careful with the miles since they in most cases were driven harder.
Anyway good luck.
 

28Again

Active member
Joined
Oct 11, 2012
Messages
26
Location
Hollister, CA
Corvette
1988 35th Anniversary
It looks like a nice well kept car but i have been suprized before with pics. it seems that all cars look good in pictures. I would not let the 80K bother you as far as the engine goes. The LS1 is almost bulletproof and it is very common to see these engines get 120 to 150K. I would not hesitiate to buy an 80K LS1 if the maintenance records were with the car which in many cases with Corvettes they are. (I'm saying this but none of my corvettes has over 15K on them but it is true about the LS1) Without the maintenance records I'd be careful. I know every one has their own preferences and if you are looking for a nice comfortable corvette then an automatic with the "soft ride suspension" fills the bill. if you want to really experience the road and the car i'd still look for a 6 speed with the performance suspension but if you went that way then you need to be a little more careful with the miles since they in most cases were driven harder.
Anyway good luck.

I understand the caution about being suprized by pictures. I probably give people too much credit in their photography because I have purchased two Limousines, and one Corvette over the internet, but was not disappointed in any of the conditions once I saw them in person. That luck can't hold out for long.

The reason I am concerned about the mileage is that I expect to add to it pretty quickly (unlike my C4 which hasn't seen 100 miles in the last 2 years). My Perfect Corvette will be a true daily driver.

I've had all the performance suspension I really care to have. Between my 1978 Trans AM with the WS6 suspension (what a car!) and my Z52 suspensions in the 35th Anniversary cars, and the quirky short-wheelbased go-cart ride that my smart car has, I'd really just like to cruise a while and soak-in the rest of the ride I've been missing while speeding along and cornering at .98G (I was much younger then).

Thanx,
Jim
 
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GS Diva

Moderator,
Joined
Nov 1, 2000
Messages
2,309
Location
Conway, SC
Corvette
2016 Daytona Sunrise Orange Metallic Z06
The reason I am concerned about the mileage is that I expect to add to it pretty quickly (unlike my C4 which hasn't seen 100 miles in the last 2 years). My Perfect Corvette will be a true daily driver.

If you plan to rack up quite a few miles, that's even more reason NOT to buy a high mileage car. :D

Elaine
 

Toms007

Moderator
Joined
Sep 24, 2004
Messages
6,381
Location
Southwest Kansas
Corvette
2007 Atomic Orange Coupe
One of our resident corvette mechanic/experts here has indicated that the LS1 is basically just broken in at 100k. I would not be afraid of the miles on that car, if the maintenance records proved to be good. I know of a guy that had a C5 (a 98 IIRC) had over 350k on his, no major work done to the engine. Tune-ups (spark plugs, wires,etc) and a water pump or two. But, I'm sure if you are patient you'll find a lower mileage example of what you're looking for.
 

Dadman1950

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 7, 2012
Messages
116
Location
gold canyon, az & michigan
Corvette
2012 GS Vert 2000 C5 FRC Pewter
what Toms said is true and what i stated about the mileage. 100K or more is not uncommon and i have seen several camaro ss LS1 with 140 to 160K.
however when you asked to check the car out I emailed the guy and ask if he had the maintenance records and he said no that he picked the car up from a mercedes trade. like i said the mileage is no bg deal if you know that it has been maintained but nt knowing sends up the caution flags.
 

28Again

Active member
Joined
Oct 11, 2012
Messages
26
Location
Hollister, CA
Corvette
1988 35th Anniversary
I emailed the guy and ask if he had the maintenance records and he said no that he picked the car up from a mercedes trade. like i said the mileage is no bg deal if you know that it has been maintained but nt knowing sends up the caution flags.

I used to live in Escondido back in the early 80's, and I still have family in the area. If I get any more serious about this car, I'll send my cousin over to give it a good look in person.

Thanx,
Jim
 

timfitz63

Well-known member
Joined
May 15, 2010
Messages
1,146
Location
Pittsburgh / South & Centrl TX
Corvette
'98 Aztec Gold Coupe; '04 Millennium Yellow 'Vert'
well good luck in your search. if you come across a low mileage white C5 Z06 with red interior let me know.

Ooh. You've just restricted yourself to a minor color rarity; there was only one model year of the C5 Z06 that was offered with white paint: 2001 in Speedway White. Only 352 were built, and I imagine the two-tone red/black interior will be less than half of that total.

But that color combination (Speedway White/two-tone red & black) would look so sharp on a Z06! :thumb

To the OP: I would echo a lot of the information you've already received from "GS Diva" (be patient; the right car will come along) and "Dadman1950" (80k miles is relatively low mileage for a 2001 C5; ~7,500 miles/year). That being said, the '01 you've already found may be the right car for you; only you can really say. I don't think a gray interior was a very popular choice in general (but it also looks very sharp with the white paint), so finding the color combination you want with the mileage you want may take a while. But there's no harm in looking that one over if it's nearby; I passed over a couple of Millennium Yellow 'verts before settling on the one I purchased. Check the maintenance records (if available), consider a pre-purchase inspection by a trusted mechanic, and then make an educated decision. It sounds like you know what you want, so it's just a matter of finding it! Good luck!
 

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