2001 Chevrolet Corvette C5

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2001 Chevrolet Corvette C5
RCR Corvette C5 Thumb.jpg
Car Details
Make Chevrolet
Model Corvette C5
Year 2001
Owner Zach
Episode Details
Episode Link Watch
Season All Bets Are Off.
Air Date June 20, 2016
Credits u/lanator

Oh look, Grandpa bought a C5 Corvette and he thinks it's an investment. Newsflash Pops, worms will eat your bone marrow before the C5's will be worth money.


It's time for the Corvette C5.

The fifth-generation Chevrolet Corvette is the commemorative coin set of automotive investments. C5: for the boomer who buys Jurassic Park collective plates. He has a collection of unused Zippo lighters and a hoarding safe full of silver certificate dollar bills. He loves matinee movies at AMC Theaters. All his sons are married and they all slow danced to Simple Man at their wedding receptions.



   Bates like Corvette
   Or gets dates like Corvette
   Or exists as the anti-Tom Waits like Corvette
   Go to Pep Boys for all of my decorating
   I wanna driiive



The Corvette C5 is the quintessential midlife crisis car. It somehow inspires the tackiest impulses of middle-aged Americans with aftermarket floor mats, donkey dick shifters and Borla XR1 racing exhausts because we need to outrace Father Time somehow.

This is the Corvette that exists rrright on the cusp of generations. While it might be rare to see anybody without grey hair driving one, the 5.7-liter LS1 makes 350 horsepower on a six-speed manual transmission. As far as old man sportscars go you could certainly do a lot worse. And if you want to build an autocross machine? Here you go! Here you go.

On Craigslist right now, a really nice C5? Twenty thousand dollars. A used-up one? Play your cards right and you may get one of these things for fifteen grand.

The Corvette is the most defended car brand on the market. It has more white knights than girls who post to /r/pics. I think the only other brand we can rip this hard over is BMW and that's saying something. Because when you look at the aftermarket for these cars, C5s are just these open-mouthed, gargling cheekfuls of louvred taillight covers and hydro-dipped or whatever-that-thing-is center console trim pieces.

The C5 is the equivalent of a Harley Davidson trike conversion. It's for the old guy who wants that old-timey feel but lacks the means or the physical capability to enjoy the real old car he wanted. Because all he really wants to do is mash the throttle wide open in fourth gear, feel the torque and hear Joyce Meyer resonance from the Four Horsemen pipes.

And you can get the old car style bumble-rumble feeling because the C5 has the Game Genie of engines: the LS. If you have an LS? You win! You win. This compact V8 comes in various engine displacements but they all come in LARGE. In cargo trucks and other heavy fleet vehicles LS engines come with iron cylinder heads but in Corvettes the heads are aluminum because GM will be damned if another Grand National usurper will come back and stab their champion.

Yes, the Corvette always gets aluminum. It's always the fastest. Yes, the Corvette wins. The Corvette never loses. It's the best! It's the- (cue THE ROMAN doing John Cena's Theme)

And yet, Corvettes have their merits even though you can't escape them in everyday life. Like those friends on Facebook who post that video from The Newsroom on why America is the greatest country in the world. Sure, it's a good scene, but you get sick of hearing about it after the hundredth repost.

Corvette C5: A car for a landlord with an obscene ratio of rings to fingers.

The C5 is something that's trying to be more than it is with its gaudy addons and its overhyped performance. You still have fun it one but it's not going to be the type of fun as advertised. The C5 is a flavored condom on wheels and the flavor is DENVER OMELETTE. But at the end of the day you still got laid.

While a lot of people rag on Corvettes, there's a feeling that you aren't supposed to. That there's something intrinsically wrong about giving the Corvette a hard time. I suppose part of it is that you never know how a Corvette joke is going to land. It's like having to find a new lunch table in the cafeteria because that crack you made about Dave Matthews Band in fifth period got back to the wrong people.

Okay, here's the deal. Corvettes... the name Corvette is America's longest-running brand. It's unbroken except for that kind of half one year where California got its dick in the door and something about emissions and we didn't have Corvettes really for that one year in 80s. Y'know, between the C3 and the C4. No other car brand has done this. And that's why Corvettes at Carlisle, Pennsylvania is so gangbusters.

It is the easiest car in which to dive into car culture. Every single part is available for any year and any model. Every single bit has its genuine parts, its aftermarket parts and its Chinese knockoffs. Take your pick. Hell, if you wanted to you could go to Corvettes at Carlisle and build a car, it's all there.

But it's hard to sell a Corvette to the youth market when the car so perfectly represents the previous generation: Dad. How is parental unit-ing cool? It isn't. Corvettes are cool but they can never be rebellious because the Corvette is the establishment. It's made by General Motors. And General Motors is so big it might as well be a government in and of itself.

And if you judge a Corvette by its own merits – by what it is as a vehicle – boy, you gotta have sarcasm flowing through every single vein and capillary. I mean, just describe it for what it is. It's a two-seat car with a gigantic V8 engine and a six-speed manual, rear-wheel drive. And every single problem that can exist, forums have found a solution.

And also because of the Corvette's ubiquitousness, they inspire a certain kind of obsession. An obsession that allows a person to retain his or her sense of individuality by driving a car that everybody has a chance to own. Sure, being obsessed with something like a Corvette might be viewed as a sickness to some with how the culture grabs hold of you and shapes you into the type of person you weren't before.

But with the Bird Flu you don't turn into a bird so why should the Corvette Flu turn you into a Corvette-obsessed gearhead? It didn't for this owner of this Corvette. He got it because- you know why? He got it because he reached the limit with his turbo Miata. Yep, there was a limit to that thing and once he was bored of that car he went to General Motors. He wanted something big and he wanted something that wasn't a headache.

Yeah, that's another thing about a Corvette. It's fine out of the box. You can tune it if you want, you can procharge it to hell but they're fine how they are. And yet, even though you might retain your own sense of personhood, people do view you differently in a Corvette. It changes everybody else's perception of your character. You can be whatever you want to be in a Corvette but you can't dictate how you're perceived by others. Sometimes that's a bad thing, other times it's good.

There's a lot of overlooked greatness in your average Corvette. Maybe not overlooked greatness as Banjo-Kazooie but at least enough to where the car doesn't necessarily deserve the bad rap it gets for being the cliché Corvette. Because every C5 owner over 50 thinks they have a collector's item. They don't. This is not a collector's car. The C5 has to fall a long way before it gets to bounce back and the C5's value is gonna go down more. It's gotta hit four digits.

The C5 is a car for boomers who want to be reminded of the time before everybody was blaming them for ruining the economy. He's at that age of checking ring fingers at a bar, looking for bare digits or tan lines from a recent divorcee. The C5 is in a tough spot because it hasn't acquired any value yet. I mean, the C3 – C3s are only juuust now starting to bounce back. How long is it going to take for the C5 to be seen as a true classic?

I mean, take the C4. The only C4s worth more than a pot of cold piss are concours-level Grand Sports. Right now the C5 is just too expensive for young car buyers and it doesn't have any value to attract any kind of educated car investors. So here it sits. And C5s are depreciating in value quicker than a Mother's Day breakfast in bed or faster than Fruit Stripes gum loses its flavor.

And yet, it's still fun. It still has torque. Punch it in any gear and it moves. How different is it from a C6? Mm, not much. I mean, this was the last American car to have pop-up headlights so that means something. And say what you will about the brand but Corvettes have been getting exponentially better these days. I'm talking about the C7.

And perhaps the faith of its diehards has something to do with it. It's like a teacher telling you you're good at something. And that inspired you to become better. Because you began to hold yourself accountable. And if you're really as good at drawing as Miss Durler says you are, you're not gonna settle for your own poor standards of work. You're gonna get a new piece of Bristol board and do it again.

When others have faith in you, when an entire community stands behind you, it instills in you a desire to want to be able to look at yourself in the mirror. And if Corvettes have a theme, it's that: continuous improvement.


Also to the tune of GASTON from DISNEY'S BEAUTY AND THE BEAST:

   Drives like Corvette
   Or quite thrives like Corvette
   Nothing draws an obnoxious white crowd like Corvette
   It has optimum weight distribution
   So it's stiff as a good morning chub
   You can ask any red blooded human
   And they'll tell you that C5 is better than drugs